John Boudouvas is a Tizi Melloul alum, but Mia Figlia, the comfortable Edgebrook neighborhood trattoria he and chef-partner Armando Lopez have created, owes more to their time working at the Francesca's restaurants. It even looks a little like one: a two-room storefront with light oak floors, butcher-paper-covered tables, and a sit-down bar up front. The menu mostly sticks to the tried and true, and almost nothing tastes authentically Italian. But the cooking is competent, with some interesting twists. Carpaccio benefited from a novel garnish of potato salad coated with basil pesto. Chewy baby octopus tossed with roasted red peppers, capers, and arugula had plenty of grilled flavor. And if everything were as good as the warm lentils, complemented by baby spinach, piquant black olives, tangy goat cheese, and a sun-dried tomato vinaigrette, I'd be back regularly. I wouldn't come for the pizza, though: our margherita with acidic plum-tomato sauce, bland house-made mozzarella, and basil didn't compare to the city's best, even if it was only $8. Old-fashioned eggplant Parmesan with a side of al dente linguine in spunky tomato sauce could have been prepared by an Italian-American mama, and the same was true of the substantial, reasonably priced pastas and secondi. Dense handmade cavatelli in rich Gorgonzola cream sauce needed spicier house-made sausage, but toasted walnuts and sun-dried tomatoes added some pizzazz. Nicely braised osso buco alla Milanese with chunky carrots and celery on pea-laced saffron risotto made up for in portion size what it lacked in finesse. While the tagliata al marsala arrived medium rare rather than rare as ordered, the tender sliced steak with smoked mozzarella sticks, lots of roasted wild mushrooms, mashed potatoes, and marsala glaze was a satisfying meal. We didn't have much room for dessert, but no matter: espresso creme brulee looked unappealing and tasted like chocolate pudding, and an intriguing olive oil cake was marred by underripe slices of grilled peach. The small Italian wine list is affordable but may disappoint serious oenophiles. Considerate service was unevenly paced.
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