Our original plan for dinner on Friday had been to try out Cappy's again. This time we planned to order Cappy's New York style pizza. The place was crowded when we got there with folks standing around for tables, which was fine and what we expected. We put our name on the list at the front door and helped ourselves to beers from the cooler. After waiting a few minutes, we noticed that one of the tables on the small deck outside had opened up. We were pretty sure we had been told on a previous visit that outside was "open seating." Just to make sure, Traci asked one of the guys behind the counter if outside was open seating. He said it was indeed seat yourself so outside we went to the table.
Within a minute of us sitting down, the server told us that, sorry, we had to leave. I asked why and she said she had promised the table to another group. I explained that we had asked at the counter before taking this table (i.e. we didn't just "steal it") and she told me the guy "didn't know what he was talking about." Next, a guy who I assume was the manager, walked up after we had already exited the table and were walking out. Instead of being apologetic or offering us another table or letting me explain things, he tell us "just leave" and walks off. Wonderful. The service was mediocre previously, and I didn't like their Chicago style pizza, so shame on me for giving the place a second chance. Never again.
My experience at Cappy's left me in a pretty crummy mood and I wasn't really up for waiting in another line. As we turned onto Gandy we thought of Vino E Pasta, a little Italian restaurant near the corner of Gandy and Himes that we had passed many times before but hadn't tried. Now seemed like as good a time as any. Vino E Pasta doesn't look like much from the outside, but inside, with its dim lighting, the restaurant was nicer than we expected. It didn't take long to notice that this place provides a level of service and attention that is much higher than you typically get at mid-priced restaurants around town.
As the name Vino E Pasta implies, the restaurant's fairly simple menu is built around wine and pasta. An interesting twist is that the restaurant has a fixed price wine list (all wines are around $5 per glass and $24 per bottle if I recall). We're not big wine drinkers, but after the Cappy's fiasco we figured why not and ordered a bottle of white. We also received a complimentary bruschetta sampler. For my entree, I went with one of the specials, a salmon stuffed with crab meat and pasta on the side. Traci decided upon a penne pasta with a marinara sauce with sausage. Each dinner came with a nice side salad.
My salmon with crab meat was excellent as was my pasta. Traci's pasta was good too. Going all out, we split an order of tiramisu for dessert. This ended up being a pricey meal with the wine and dessert, but still a good deal. I think you could do dinner for around twenty bucks per person. This may not be the best Italian in town, but if you're looking for a neighborhood spot where not only is the food good, but they're likely to treat you like a regular even on your first visit, then this place fits the bill.
Bottom-line: Thanks to a rotten attitude from Cappy's, we had the chance to try Pasta E Vino. Good food and friendly service was a pleasant surprise at this nice little neighborhood Italian restaurant.