Post Saturday market, friends meet up at the horseshoe-shaped bar with flat screen TVs for following TVFN or sports, admiring the walls of wine and chalkboard filled with specials. Cute couples nestle in the two dining rooms on either side of the inviting cocktail lounge, sharing caprese or warm sherry gorgonzola dip with housemade potato chips, the ultimate in urban hip weekend meanderings.
Thoughtful chefs provide both gluten-friendly and vegetarian options, well executed with tender produce obviously locavore-sourced.
Seafood stars here, especially the pan-roasted mussels with white wine, butter, tomato, fresh garlic and basil served with ample grilled ciobatta bread to sop up the sauce. The North Carolina trout with lemon butter piccata and crimini mushrooms served with grilled asparagus or mac n cheese rocks my tastebuds as does the seared sea scallops with smokey pancetta brittle. For apps, the fennel-flavored calamari con frito with lemon caper aioli or jumbo lump crab cakes are the perfect starters before sharing the woodstone oven gourmet pizzas.
This is real pie in the sky, from traditional (sausage and peppers spiced up with caramelized onion and smoked mozzarella) to the asparagus and crispy prosciutto and fromage-fans four cheese with fresh sage delight. The BBQ chicken flatbread is a light and lively pizza alternative with crispy pancetta and creamy gorgonzola drizzle.
While lobster and white truffle mac n cheese is all the rage in Beverly Hills and worth trying here, I prefer the goat cheese and spinach toasted pinenut ravioli, drizzled in basil pesto cream or the grilled chicken penne pasta with cotto ham and peas in asiago cream for my pasta craving.
Salad starlets include the Bella Brava wedge dressed in creamy gorgonzola and dappled with applewood smoked bacon as well as the house spinach salad with pistachio-crusted salmon. Homemade soups, Black angus burgers with herbed fries and wood-grilled chicken Marsala round out the ample fare.
Cocktails boast Italian favorites (Negroni, Bellini), classic martinis and Manhattans, Latin pisco sours/mojitos and specialty cocktails infused with herbal/veggie smash (lavender, cucumbers, cilantro) and unforgettable fruit medleys (blackberry ginger, strawberry balsamic). Pair your meal with Peroni on draft, a quirky Brooklyn End India Pale Ale or dozens of boutique wines organized from light to full body, especially the Malbecs and Voignier.