Cucina della Ragazza
301 Westport Road
Food: ★★½ Well-made, down-to-earth, Italian-inspired comfort food.
Service: ★★½ A small friendly place frequently full and a little harried.
Atmosphere: ★★★ Cozy and casual, with a homelike feel.
Hours: Full dinner menu available 5-10 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. Lunch: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Saturday; small plates: 2-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday.
Entree average (including nightly specials): $$
Vegetarian options: White bean and other crostinis, eggplant Parmesan, pasta alla Norma, roasted beet salad.
Handicapped accessible: Yes, but narrow room might make for tight spaces for those in wheelchairs.
Parking: Street, small lot in back.
Kids: Small portions available on any dish.
Noise level: Reasonably lively but not overpowering.
Reservations: Recommended for dinner on weekends.
Star code: ★ Fair, ★★ Good, ★★★ Excellent, ★★★★ Extraordinary
Price code: $ Average entree under $10; $$ under $20; $$$ under $30; $$$$ over $30.
Code of ethics: Starred reviews are written after a minimum of two visits to a restaurant. When required, reservations are made in a name other than the reviewer’s. The Star pays for review meals.
Bresaola roll, $6
Meatball Grande, $7
Tuscan chopped liver sandwich, $7
Chicken saltimbocca, $15
Grilled pork chop, $17
Eggplant Parmesan, $12
What to drink
Not many small restaurants, or large ones for that matter, put the kind of care and focus onto a wine list as Laura Norris has done at Cucina della Ragazza. Most of the wines on her short list are well-chosen and value-priced Italians. Those who fear the odd and unfamiliar names would do well to sample. Here’s a simple start: For a white, pick the Villa Matilde Falanghina, a smooth and balanced wine with surprising body ($8 a glass, $28 the bottle); and/or go straight to the heart of the Piedmont with a big and spicy pour, such as the Prudottori del Barbaresco Nebbiolo della Langhe ($42 the bottle). House cocktails involve creative combinations of vodka, limoncello, prosecco and other ingredients. Full bar also available.