Positano knits the old and the new in both menu and setting. It’s not a seamless knitting, and that’s part of the charm. Bread here is homemade and warm rolls come bundled in a basket like a clutch of fresh eggs.

The menu mixes braised sea bass with polenta (the old) with ginger carrot soup (the new). The pasta, made in house, is not only terrific but expertly cooked. It shines in a number of preparations. Try the one that melds stone crab meat, fresh asparagus and basil in a light tomato sauce. Here, very wide-cut pasta is so translucent you can almost see through it, so supple it drapes over your fork and so toothsome you can hardly wait for the next taste. A light tomato sauce nimbly coats the pasta and is exceptional: its fragile presence adds flavor but not dominance, edge without acidity.

In its celebration of the Italian mood, Positano's other offerings range from New York steak with rosemary, to a number of daily specials, including a whim-of-the-chef risotto.

As for decor, let's say Positano looks like it's been around for more than merely nine years. The place is cozy and functional, with some "art" on the walls that one can only hope were gifts. A sense of neighborhood pervades.

Rivera Magazine, Fall 2006