It's not exactly rare to see an old staple like spaghetti and meatballs on the menu at a nuovo trattoria. It is, however, rare not to regret passing on ricotta gnocchi with whey-braised pork.

Well, damn it if this casual sister to DOC didn't make the best plate of spaghetti and meatballs I've ever eaten. Those meatballs were steaky and filled with fresh herbs, and the textbook al dente noodles had a springy suppleness I've rarely found in noodles numbered five and below.

And it's just one item on a pretty much perfect menu. A smoky Caesar salad with a little char on the Romaine, giving its umami a blast of barbecue. A cherry tomorrow caprese benefited from taut, flavor-dense mozzarella and went very well with a very bitter grapefruit cocktail.

Objectively speaking, things got even better with the protein courses, which included a Bible-thick pork chop with corn cut fresh from the cob and a charred trout with beautiful flesh spiked with a sugary orange sauce. I'm not especially objective on that subject—just gimme the pasghetti.

Photo: WW Staff
Photo: WW Staff

Pro tip: In your head, add 5 percent to the cost of everything, as a "health and wellness charge will be added to each check to provide health insurance" for staff.

GO: 5513 NE 30th Ave., 894-9840, 5-10 pm Tuesday-Saturday. $$-$$$.