The pleasures at Bruna's are many. Begin with the bar: swiveling stools with backs (a practically extinct species of chair that was once standard everywhere); a wide selection of wine, including a slightly sweet Chianti imported from Italy and stamped with a Bruna's label; and a back bar packed with decades' worth of detritus. The dining room has murals of the old country, crisp white linens, and a chalkboard menu listing the daily specials like Tomatoes Smith: tomatoes topped with mozzarella, herbs, and oil, then baked. Even if the food were awful, I'd come back to enjoy the ambience and the superb martinis. But almost everything was good: classics like pasta carbonara and lasagna were well above par; the mushroom ravioli was even better; and Dover sole, expertly filleted tableside by our waiter, was sublime. The only off note was the clams, which were grittier than they should have been. The pace here can be leisurely. We were at table for over two hours, but amid all the good food and good cheer it seemed half that. Reservations are an excellent idea, since Bruna's can be jammed on the weekend.
Payment Type: American Express, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa