Cibo e Beve

In a time when the dining public seeks solace, Italian comfort-food joints are proliferating across the metro area. Similar to Decatur’s No. 246, the newest effort from 101 Concepts—which operates the Meehan’s Public House outposts as well as Food 101, located in the same shopping complex—mines popular Italian American territory, with the obligatory nods to what’s seasonal and local.

Linda Harrell, the company’s corporate chef, oversees a kitchen cranking out fine versions of easy-to-like dishes. Oysters “casino style,” roasted with bacon and garnished with scallions, riffs winningly on a preparation common in the Little Italy neighborhoods of many East Coast cities. Pizzas boasting thin crusts and toppings like sausage and broccoli rabe prove lackluster, but entrees like veal parmigiana satisfy cravings for red-sauce soul food.

The restaurant scored ace bartender Justin Hadaway (previously at the Iberian Pig). He can pour you a stiff drink incorporating the latest faddish boozes that seem odd in the context of an Italian restaurant, but he also mixes a beautiful, classic Negroni.