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Past the courtyard's fountain and iron gates is an exposed-brick and sponge-painted trattoria, where platters of Sicilian cuisine parade onto antique library tables. Fresh spinach, shaved parmesan, and grilled eggplant assemble into an antipasto dish of contadina ($13.95), and imported cheeses decorate tortellini farsumagru ($18.95). While enjoying the veal and spices that fill homemade cannelloni under an expanse of tricolor sauce ($19.95), guests can admire the interior’s opulent flowing curtains and a violin affixed to the wall either as an homage to music or because gravity works horizontally with hollowed-out things. Saffron linguini fashions a savory assembly of noodles that swaddle shrimp and spicy sauce ($28.95), while lunchtime tortellini, alternatively, ford a pistachio cream sauce river ($14.95).
La Fontana Siciliana
The first thing a visitor to La Fontana Siciliana sees is a wrought-iron pergola and gate. Sequestered just off the street and behind the gate is a courtyard filled with cozy seating, a bubbling fountain, and the entrance to the first of La Fontana's three intimate dining rooms. A single light illuminates each antique table, and waiters stroll through the rooms carrying one of the many traditional Sicilian dishes found on La Fontana's menu.
Dinners often start with appetizers such as marinated calamari or garlic bread, followed by pastas such as wild mushroom fettuccine and smoked salmon on linguine. The chef prepares four risottos nightly, and his signature dish of lamb tenderloin with figs, imported olive oil, and marsala-wine sauce can always be seen on tables. A wine list has been carefully cultivated to complement the menu's dishes, and every waiter is well versed in the best pairings.
A piano room in the back of the restaurant is constantly filled with the sound of ivories singing. The history of La Fontana Siciliana's owners lines the walls, with heirlooms from their homeland and souvenirs from their journey to America, such as a violin or the customary party hat given to immigrants on Ellis Island.