for two years i have tried to replace the dining experiences i was spoiled by in manhattan and the bronx. but of course this is a ridulous proposition. i have accepted that i am in the desert now, and they just don't really do ny italian. so i cook at home a lot! but alas, there are nights one doesn't FEEL like cooking! encouraged by some reviews on this site, we drove east to explore the situation. my heart sank when we arrived at the empty strip mall and saw an ugly store front. ""this is it?"" i asked. i couldn't even smell a welcoming aroma, so expected the worst. however, upon entering i was encouraged by the attempt at roman decor, and the subtle beginnings of tantalizing fragrances. we ordered the least expensive bottle of red wine, which was served with elegant, stemmed glasses, and delightful. our generous salads had fresh and varied greens, and thankfully the balsamic vinagrette was tasty and herbal (not ruined by sugar, as so many restaurants around here have done). a basket of fresh, crunchy bread was kept warm with a linen napkin, and served with a creamcheese/butter/chive blend that we wanted more of, to take home for tomorrow. we both had the evening's special, a dish of pasta with magnificient marinara sauce, tender slices of sausage and chicken medallions, including visible, savory slices of peppers, onions and garlic, all cooked to soft, mouth-watering perfection! total bill for two $65. not bad.