Etcetera vs. Cascina
Have never been to either.
Yes, I gather apples and oranges -- both Italian, but that's where similarity ends, and they have two very different vibes. Both are acceptable, and the menu's both seem good enough, reasonably-priced, etc.
But which is better for what it's trying to be?
Which is a better bang for the buck?
And -- ultimately, simply -- which has better food?
Feel free to cite specific dishes. There's a real shortage of specifics on chowhound -- if there is anything that's not to be missed, let me know!
I've been too both (very recently) and I will echo most of what Leah stated except I like Etc Etc as well as Cascina. They are completely different "vibes" from the get-go. Etc is bright and aslo sterile, Cascina, dark and rustic. The food tends to follow that sentiment, with Etc being more modern and fusion-y whereas Cacina is good and solid. Both worth a visit depending upin what you want that night.
The polenta app at Cascina was great, I had a lamb shank that was perfect, GF had Gnocchi (which I normally don't like) that was fantastic. The panna cotta dessert hit the spot.
Etc Etc wonderful totelloni with speck (my favorite of the salt cured hams).
I have not been to Cascina, but if you are considering Etc., I would go to Vice Versa instead. It is under the same ownership, but is more elegant and comfortable without being stuffy. The prices at Etc. are supposedly lower, but when I went there we ended up spending just as much as at V V.
My favorite at Cascina: the homemade ravioli. Soups and salads are very good as well.
I don't agree with you, Leah, about it being intimate, at least as far as size is concerned. It's a very large restaurant though they have segmented the space into different dining spaces which does a good job of mitigating the cavernous feel. I do agree, however, that the decor has rustic charm.
I haven't been to Etceter, so I can't make a comparison.