388 has your number. The buoyant, New American eatery covers enough territory to satisfy almost everyone at the table. Sunny, unpretentious and fairly priced, it's already a mainstay in the neighborhood.
The new spot took over the address previously occupied by Riodizio Churrascaria, that protein-and-cholesterol capital of skewered meats. The decor has been updated and brightened; the long grills and side-dish displays gone; TVs added, noise level definitely heightened.
Carnivores still are welcome. And, yes, vegetarians have some choices, too, from a menu that balances homey fare and more contemporary productions.
Nibble on bruschetta while scanning the menu. The tasty tomato-and-basil version vies with a ricotta-and-prosciutto number. You win either way. "Thin-crust specialties" is the title given to semi-pizzas. Somewhere between tortilla and flatbread, they're surfaces for some very good toppings: fontina and prosciutto, Gorgonzola and potato, mozzarella and arugula. There's fine tuna tartare, spiked with anchovies and olives, atop house-made crostini. And tempura-style shrimp arrive crisply in a paper cone, ready for soy- and rice-wine dipping sauces. Two hefty sliders with sliced tomato could be a mini-main course. Lobster pot pie, very much like chicken except for the central character, is savory and appealing, under a gilded lid. The juicy New York strip steak: easily recommended. Order the "sea salted" French fries and the creamed spinach, too. For dessert, consider the banana split, cheesecake, cannoli and, for old time's sake, a vintage tortoni.
Crab-and-lobster cakes need more seasoning. Likewise, the modest chicken-and-ginger dumplings. "388 wings" benefit from whipped blue cheese, but they're overcooked. Routine sauteed chicken with basmati rice, artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes. The standard-issue "classic Caesar" with jawbreaker croutons doesn't deserve the adjective. Bland fish and chips, slightly overdone chargrilled red snapper, too-sweet baby back ribs. Dry bread pudding.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Mix and match.