While I am not Italian, and cannot vouch for how authentic the food is. I can certainly say that it is delicious. This place is a nieghborhood spot that surpasses the usual reputaion of neighborhood. The service can be a bit eratic when the place is packed (and it IS packed from 5pm on on FRI/SAT/Sun) the food and atmosphere make the small issues dissappear. The Gnocci are tasty and pillowy, the ravioli are made by hand and are wonderful and the Carbonara is to die for--Since it is laden with butter, heavy cream and eggs, it may well be the end of me, but aside from dying of good s*x, it's the way I would prefer to go out. I can also personally recommend the Chicken Diavolo--spicy and tangy with very tender chicken. The lamb is also wonderful and I see many folks picking them up to gnaw the bones clean. The homemade soups are a treat and the best NY strip I have ever had was served there with a reduction of Balsamic Vinegar--The salads are nothing outstanding--opt for the homemade soups instead--and the deserts are good, but not exceptional other than the canoli are quite good. The espresso is also quite good--my hubby is an espresso snob. I have often heard Sal's compared to Pasta Brioni, but I have dined there too and in my book the two do not compare. Brioni's waiters are cute...but all hype and less supstance. I don't think the service is as good at Brioni as well--nor the food. Make a reservation at Sal's..take a romantic date and listen to the Italian standards on their sound system...sip an outstanding martini and enjoy a night with the ""family"" in the neighborhood. Patrons range from jeans and baseball hats to dressy. White cloth tablecloths, napkins and candles and heavy silver on all the tables. China like grandma's antiques for coffee and espresso is a lovely elegant touch too. Priced only a bit higher than Olive Garden--and so very much better.
Pros: Outstanding Food, Atmosphere remenicient of Chicago or NYC
Cons: A bit hard to find in the back of a strip center. No seat w/o reservations on the weekends