Vitello’s

It’s a restaurant; it’s a social club; it’s got a life-size model of Vito Corleone in the vestibule. Start with melon and prosciutto at this old-fashioned Italian, then loosen your belt for the sausage and peppers. Someone at the table has to try Robert Blake’s dish—the fusille e minestra (Blake added the spinach) with sauce the color of a fire truck. For dessert, leave the gun, take the cannoli—light and sweet, with a crisp shell dusted in cinnamon. There’s a jazz supper club upstairs; Tuesday is “Movie Night.”
Best Piano Bars, August 2008.
The piano isn’t a grand, and the bar’s walls are an icky shade of green, but the back room is as friendly and inspired as any Italian joint made infamous by Robert Blake. Septuagenarians break into show tunes and operatic arias Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, while young folks tackle standards Thursdays and Fridays. The pizzetti and the chicken piccata are superb.