My son, who I was visiting from San Diego, took me to Scalino for Father's Day. It was a great present because restaurant value warms this old dad's heart. The house is small, maybe a dozen tables inside and four on the sidewalk, but we were able to get an immediate table around eight-thirty on a warm Saturday evening. A basket of fresh sourdough bread with a plate of quality olive oil arrived immediately -- a good start; and the short, only mildly interesting printed menu was supplemented by a large chalk board of specials dragged over by the waiter. Now we could choose from perhaps a dozen starters and as many entrees. Since I was a first-timer I ordered a "lump crab" and greens salad with some trepidation, but the crab was plentiful, fresh and dressed with a just the right amount of a carefully blended vinaigrette. The kid had a flavorful grilled shrimp and white bean salad that was likewise carefully prepared. I ordered "lamb stew" from the special board and was delighted to receive a generous portion of perfectly braised lamb shank in a nicely seasoned, reduction gravy with fresh mashed potatoes on the side. My son had a very tasty pasta dish with a smokey flavor as his main course,and I had a glass of pleasant rustico, a welcome change from the ubiquitous(and often nasty) house chianti served in neighborhood Italian places. Our food was uniformly excellent, fresh and promptly served. I loved everything about our meal and, when the $63 check arrived, even though I wasn't paying, felt the thrill of discovering an outstanding value -- a rarity these days, particularly in New York.
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