When it comes to taking visitors out to dinner, there are just a couple places I consider. Cafe Castagna, Ken's Place, and Bastas. These are my special occasion places, places where the atmosphere is good, the service is good, and the food, of course, is good.
Bastas is my favorite Italian. In a former Tasty-Freez. Yeah!
Though once you step foot inside, you might never know it. You enter into the sophisticated bar, and unless you're doing their excellent happy hour, you eat in either the garden room or the other room (I'm sure it has a name). They offer, of course, lots of wine, including by the glass, and a couple beers on tap.
Our downfall is the appetizers. There are quite a few, and they all appear to be yummy. The carpaccio is a full plate of raw thin-sliced beef dressed in olive oil and parmesan, with lemon on the side. The caesar is not as garlicky as I generally like but is still one of the best in town.
Entrees. Yum. The pasta is a little less spectacular than other dishes sometimes, however, it's good. But there is so much to love amongst the entrees. The $19 steak is the best $19 steak in town, cooked to order, nested with the most decadent mashed potatoes around. The crispy fried chicken (is that Italian?) is also so very good, crispy and moist and delicious. Their version of cioppin is a delight, with lots of broth to soak up. And the lamb chops cause my partner to go into fits of pleasure.
Desserts also are good, though a little bit of a let down for me after the whirlwind beauty of the appetizers and entrees. But the fact that you can park in their lot, right there around the restaurant, is pretty darn good.
Downsides: it's a former Tasty-Freez, so when it gets full, it's like a bus station. The chairs are fine if you don't spend too much time in them, but they're torture in a long formal dinner. And, I tend to spend too much money there.