Drago Centro

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Photograph by Gina Sabatella

This is the grand downtown debut for chef-restaurateur Celestino Drago. The space is striking, with a glass wine tower and mammoth windows. The food is a mishmash of northern and southern styles. Venison carpaccio with walnuts is elemental, and grilled artichokes, Belgian endive, and pistachios make for a triumphant salad. The star of the handmade pasta menu is the buckwheat pizzoccheri tossed with cabbage, potatoes, fontina, and sage cream. Mains include crispy skate with balsamic and roasted squab stuffed with focaccia. As the leaning tower of vino attests, the wine list is hefty. A walnut semifreddo with roasted figs is weightless. » 525 S. Flower St., Ste. 120, downtown, 213-228-8998 or dragocentro.com. L Mon.-Fri.; D Mon.-Sat. Full bar. Italian $$$

Photograph by Gina Sabatella