Going with a company's bargain brand can leave you feeling bitter and dissatisfied, dreaming you were luxuriating in a Banana Republic Cashmere Cardigan instead of pouting in $2.11 Old Navy Cuffed Capris. Combine reasonable prices with quality feasting, at Tocco.
Tocco's a sleek, modern Italian 99-seater, meant to serve as a lower price-point alternative to the same-owned Follia while still providing a fine dining experience -- including mostly imported trappings, from the 20-seat glass-topped communal table, to the porcelain tile, to the textured red leather wall coverings. Most ingredients are imported as well, but no dish tops $20, including seared & thinly shaved NY strip, eggplant parm, and handmade pasta (pappardelle w/ sausage, lasagna w/ meatballs, gorgonzola polenta); meanwhile, two wood-burning brick ovens'll churn out about 20 different pizzas and calzones, all slathered with tomato sauce whisked over from Naples (in lieu of a joke, a fun fact: Italy had no tomatoes pre-1492. Feast your mind on that). Drinks run from the caffeinated (espressos/cappuccinos from a gleaming Faema machine) to the woozy, with an ample liquor trove and a 60-70 strong all-Boot wine selection (glasses start at $6; bottles, $24) housed above the wraparound bar in 4,000lbs of black and white aluminum cylinders (a perfect ruse to hide them from Hans Blix).
Come summer, Tocco will unveil a 100-seat outdoor patio garden, which'll also host events like movie nights and fashion shows -- at which you'll certainly be the sporty one, exposed-ankle boy.