4-11 pm Sunday-Thursday, 4 pm-midnight Friday-Saturday. $-$$ Inexpensive-moderate.
[ITALIAN SMALL PLATES] A more casual and affordable spinoff of Caffe Mingo, the Italian gem that sits next door, Bar Mingo bills itself as "a new way to eat." Maybe. What's certain is that Bar Mingo offers a very good way to eat, particularly if you tour its dozen or so antipasti offerings. Ranging from salads and snacks to near-entrees, each well-portioned plate runs only $8, or three for $21, leaving plenty in the budget for a bottle from Mingo's well-edited, Italian-heavy wine list. Three antipasti should sate all but the hungriest pair of diners, but there's so much worth trying that you might as well order extra and box up what's left. Start with a salumi plate: House-cured ham and pâté vie for space on the plate with a variety of Italian cold cuts, all nicely complemented by a dollop of spicy onion relish. Mingo's chicken livers arrived not as tidy whole organs, but as two heaping bruschetta, spilling nutty chopped livers, capers and sage, all redolent of anchovy and Marsala. Calamari was the lone disappointment of the meal, lukewarm and unmemorable. But any regrets were erased when a plump link of housemade sausage showed up, perched amid velvety polenta and braised greens. Hits of fennel and chile in the sausage and the earthy bite of the greens cut through the rich polenta, saving the hearty dish from any heaviness. ETHAN SMITH.
Ideal meal: Mix and match three to six antipasto plates and a bottle of vino.
Best deal: Sausage and polenta ($8) is a meal in itself.
Chef's choice: Lasagna Bolognese. (Jerry Huisinga)