Rino's Tuscan Grill
Not many chefs can strike an ideal balance between simplicity and surprise -- they leave you either yawning over another plate of calamari or spooning up pig's-foot ice cream -- but Naples-born Chef Rino Balzano, well-schooled throughout Northern Italy, takes Tuscan classics and brings them up to date. Balzano, known for "miking up" to serenade his customers with Italian arias, isn't shy when it comes to employing the famous game meats of Tuscany, like rabbit and quail, that might seem exotic to American palates. But simply grilled or braised in rich stock with wine and onions, then tossed over a bit of homemade parpardelle or polenta, these dishes become instant favorites, the kind of meals to give you separation anxiety when they're finally over. Rosemary-infused pork chops ($28) and veal chops ($44) smothered with wild mushrooms and cooked over an open flame, a wild mushroom-topped oval of fresh buffalo mozzarella ($12), and a finale of zuccato cream-cake ($9) with a glass of Moscato di Asti ($10), plus a list of 500 Italian wines, are just a few of the great possibilities worth exploring.

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