|Herbs for the cooks are grown on the patio, which will soon be open for diners|
|The room is casual with a green-lit wall above the open kitchen, a tiled pizza oven, a communal table in the middle and abstract strands of spaghetti on a red wall.|
Among the pastas we tasted were cavatelli in a creamy mushroom sauce; tagliatelle in a meaty bolognese; and chicken ravioli with mushrooms. My favorite was angel hair pasta, with a porky, spicy amatriciana sauce packed with pancetta and jalapenos. Roasted beets were simple and satisfying with crumbled ricotta, and the market salad was elevated with several varieties of peeled cherry tomatoes. In just two weeks, news of the thick, juicy pork chop has already gotten around, so it sold out early Friday before we could order one. So instead we tried the chicken entree -- the bird doesn't get much love in restaurants, since people think of it as home cooking, but I would be hard-pressed to create a breast as moist as Maximiliano's, with olive oil-slicked spinach and a savory jus and crispy skin. Guerrero thinks restaurants, especially those with wood-fired ovens, tend to overcook their pizza so Maximiliano's pizza is more supple than crispy, with browned slices of garlic and potato on one memorable version. Matt proclaimed the cannoli ideal; I'm just not enough of an East Coaster to judge. What I did like: the affordable wines available in quartinos as well as glasses and bottles, the selection of local Craftsman beers, and the fact that all dishes are under $18. In a few more weeks, Guerrero plans to put tables and more edible plantings on the large rear patio and open for brunch. I'll certainly be back to try the coconut-lavender ice cream grown from the patio box's lavender, the cavatelli with pancetta and squid, and of course the pork chop.
5930 York Blvd.