A little house converted into a restaurant which is surprisingly roomy inside on a busy street (25th north of U Village). There is a piano by the door so some nights they may play it, but on a Tuesday we visited, nobody. Dimly lit, warm-toned (orangish yellow) walls, red curtains in spots, tasteful forged iron and glass lighting fixtures, a big round brick fire pit in the middle of the main dining room with copper vent over it. Definitely a warm ambiance; very secluded. You don't notice you're on a busy street once you're in.
It's possible there are other waiters who called in sick, but there was just one fellow working the 8-9 tables which were occupied (too high a table-to-waiter ratio to provide good service, IMHO). He also manned the front desk. Customers are definitely older - ranging from mid-30's to 60's or 70's. Quite a few button down shirts, some ties and properly dressed ladies. Seems like the kind of place where the more traditional neighborhood people have been dropping in because it's "comfortable".
Homey, authentic Italian. Seems like you stopped in someone's home kitchen. Translation = Nothing super refined, but very authentic Italian comfort food. Anyone who decides not to fry tender calamari is good in my book, and they do just that - their calamari appetizer is flash-stewed with tomatoes, Kalamata olives, garlic, basil, wine, and little chili. Mmmm. Their minestrone is uneventful, like you had someone's mom's soup (with very unevenly chopped veggies), but the flavor is good and authentic. Dipping oil/Balsamic vinegar combo for bread comes with herbs and garlic; while it's by no means high-end olive oil or matured vinegar, it again tastes authentic and goes well with the rustic bread. Their pesto is very good with nicely toasted pine nuts.
Dicey and more European than American. Translation = It's not going to be fast, so don't go there if you are in a hurry. Only go if you are feeling laid back and feel like taking your time to enjoy your meal. Definitely faster service than what you would receive in, say, Ireland, but too many tables for one person. It could've been an off night. The man (very Italian) tries hard, though, and you almost feel bad for him.
It's a charming neighborhood bistro with simple, authentic dishes. The dishes are $10-$20, averaging around $15. They taste good and homey, but nothing spectacular. Easy-going and unpretentious, probably very romantic if the fire is going in cold weather. A sensible choice for everyday dining, but the level of food or service probably wouldn't cut it for more special occasions, unless you have a personal memory associated with the place or its people.