In an era of minimalist Edison bulbs and reclaimed wood, a restaurant that selects a bold, dramatic design aesthetic deserves a round of applause, at least. Casa Apicii, which opened on West 9th Street last week in a historic townhouse, deserves plenty of claps for its embrace of the dramatic. As with the objectification of humans, it helps to have good bone structure, like the vaulted atrium ceiling with the domed cupola and majestic fireplace flanked in ivy. Add to that some bursting star earrings (aka chandeliers) and this spot's ready for the runway.

The menu's Italian-inspired, as many are these days, but with an injection of California sensibility from Chef Casey Lane, chef-owner of The Tasting Kitchen in LA, and more local contributions from Executive Chef Adam Nadel, previously with Lincoln Ristorante and A Voce. The duo are making some of the mozzarella in-house, and all of the pastas in-house and cooked to order. They're also leaning into the vegetables, but vegetarians beware—sometimes that means employing speck or anchovy for extra oomph.

A modest tasting menu—Una Cena Semplice, which must be ordered by all guests at a table—offers four courses of what the chefs are in the mood to make, though you can specify if you're interested in vegetables only.

62 West 9th Street;

Casa Apicii Dinner Menu by Nell Casey on Scribd

Casa Apicii Drink Menu by Nell Casey on Scribd