My best friend and I went to L'Artusi last night. We wanted Italian, well prepared and thoughtful, not outrageously expensive, and with reasonable sized portions so I had room for my birthday cake later. L'Artusi fit the bill.
Reservation at 7:15 and were seated immediately. I was overjoyed to hear the restaurant trends towards small plates/sharing because I wanted to eat like 7 of the 9 pasta options and had no idea how I was going to choose. They recommend 2-3 dishes per person, so we ordered 6: 1 salad (the grilled endive), 3 pastas (bolognese bianco, corn mezzaluna, bucatini), and 2 mains (grilled octopus and veal cheeks). Service was excellent; attentive and knowledgeable.
For the food, the grilled endive was really the only miss. It hadn't carmelized on the grill enough for me and was a little too bitter. It also was hit with a heavy hand of what tasted to me like vinegar.
I loved each of the pasta dishes. The bolognese was the stand out best. The spinach/egg pasta was perfectly al dente and the sauce had that wonderful meaty, slightly creamy flavor with a hint of white wine, but managed to still be light. Someone else posted a review that she could have eaten three bowls, and I have to agree. Biting into the mezzaluna resulted in a burst of sweet, corn flavor. It was awesome really, how powerfully the corn came through. It was so sweet and so strong, however, that I only wanted to eat two or three before I was satisfied and wanted to move onto other dishes. Bucatini was a very good and tasty rendition of a meat sauce, if not very special.
The octopus was perfectly cooked, and the potatos and pancetta with it were a great combination. I love octopus and order it on almost every menu, and this was as good a preparation as I've had. The veal cheek was perfectly, deliciously tender. I have no idea what the sauce underneath it was, but it created just the right melding of flavor. The celery leaf salad on the side was a great fresh, slightly bitter complement as well.
This place seems to fly under the radar a bit -- at least, I had not heard of it before. I found it on Open Table, then searched here for reviews. Most were positive, so we decided to give it a go. I'm so glad I did. I would absolutely recommend it.