The black cat motif is evidence of what was the intended name of this handsome dining room in the old Arnold Oil site on East Sixth Street. The latest from the group that brought us Sway and La Condesa, Il Brutto, which translates to “the Ugly,” is actually a handsome spot with dark woods and walls of deep green. A giant live oak centers the attractive patio, where carafes of limoncello and cocktails featuring plenty of Italian bitters go down easily with classic Italian dishes like golden raisin and eggplant caponata and creamy burrata cheese holding rosettes of smoky speck perfumed with juniper. The Neapolitan-style pizzas have a little sour tang and are burnished from the open brick oven. The lamb pappardelle is dense and toothsome, but the shellfish-studded tagliolini, black from squid ink, is a little too brackish to have more than a couple of bites. Red snapper, brightened with citrus and a punch of olives and served on an inventive sauce of pureed butternut squash was subtle but sophisticated.
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Moody and handsome, like a fantasy Italian lover who makes great pizza.