Assaggio  1  01 sjzpif

Boldly overseen by larger-than-life proprietor Mauro Golmarvi—benevolently regarded by the cherubim and seraphim painted all over the wall and ceiling murals—Assaggio may at first seem a throwback to the more clichéd conventions of Italian restaurant dining. Not so fast. There's a reason this room, graciously highceilinged and partitioned to resemble a European streetscape, sustains the devotion of midtown business-lunchers and evening pasta-twirlers alike. (Hint: It comes out of the kitchen.) Execution is steady and impressive on classic pastas—linguine vongole, a beautifully briny capellini donato, fettucine swathed in a meaty Bolognese—and wickedly rich specials, like one astonishing risotto lavished to a turn with pork loin and portobellos. But the Northern Italian place is quite capable of a lighter touch, as in a crisply refreshing fennel-and-green-apple salad with pecorino Romano and truffle oil. Classic Italian desserts are sumptuous.

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