Especially now... Starting April 12, Jim and Kristina Burke (who are expecting, btw) are opening their acclaimed Bella Vista restaurant on Sunday nights. The hook? A three-course pre-fixe for $40 that'll include a weekly-changing pasta, entree and dessert. (The regular menu will be available as well.) Here's hoping the pre-fixe includes this pasta we savored earlier this week: fingernail-sized, feather-light tortelli stuffed with stinging nettle and ricotta, lightly dressed in bagna cauda, a Piedmontese blend of olive oil, garlic and anchovy. Dreamy.
Even without the Sunday deal, it's still possible enjoy James without dropping a C-note. Instructions: 1) Grab a bar stool or seat in the lounge. 2) Order the seasonal canapes, $11, an ever-changing assembly of ten to twelve bites that recently included garlic scape-cinched sardines, house-cured salami with candied fennel, crispy pork trotters with so-good-it-should-be-illegal apricot mostarda. 3) Order the slow-roasted chicken for one, $16. Burke uses air-chilled Giannone birds from Canada that crisp up (and stay supremely juicy inside) like none other. Legs, thighs and breasts arrive with seasonal veg, which right now means silky parsnip puree, sweet sauteed Green Meadow carrots, kale, garlicky spinach and hen-of-the-woods and trumpet royale mushrooms. That's $27, kids. So cheap you should treat yourself to a James-hattan. Or four.