So occasionally — and only occasionally — it was necessary to order an entrée like the ricotta cavatelli ($16) and zero in on it, focusing on the chew of the tightly rolled pasta coins, the earthiness of the sautéed mushrooms, the scent of sage in the sauce. It was a relief to wave off the waiters with the pickle plates and the duck rillettes for as long as it took to finish the dish. They'd be back around soon enough.

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