12/03/2010Provided by Citysearch -
Over some glasses of malbec from Bautista Simona, chef and co-owner of Apertivo, Ken Cassinelli, smiles about his food like a first crush. He is telling me that it?s the puttenesca pasta, no, the lamb shank, that needs to be tried. While we discuss their relative merits, the only true option has been jogging around us since the beginning: get them both.
In fact, the modus operandi of Apertivo is indulge, something very easy to do when the prices bludgeon every other restaurant in North Park. Having gone to other small plate hot spots and in conjunction here with low cost, the expectation rests on the description being literal, an inch or so of meat on a saucer. Somehow Apertivo surprises with both size and price; a few plates were enough to slate my hunger. While I wonder how this is the case, the realization sets in that if it were not, Ken wouldn?t be having as much fun. Every aspect of gustation should be enjoyable, or else, why bother?
And that really is why Ken makes the plates he does. The normal Italian meal is so large but full of flavors, he briefly informs me while keeping his grin, so while you enjoy an entr?e, another passes looking just as appetizing. Of course you can?t try it, so much food already sits in-front of you; a veritable problem. And yet the solution was simple to him: shrink the giant plates to a still healthy size and thus provide Italian inspired cuisine that still allows you to experience a variety of dishes.
Such offerings seem incredible, but Janie Losli, co-owner of Apertivo, tells me the model keeps working as she walks by to greet some customers. While there are a few waiters, Janie and Ken give the first welcome, shaking hands or getting a hug in the case of return diners. The chatting owner is by no means a rare sight, but few talk with such good spirits. Not surprising since they are enjoying themselves, whether having a glass of wine with a table or stopping by to make sure everything is perfect. And when the owners are jovial, chances are you will be too.