B, D, F, V at 47th-50th Sts.-Rockefeller Center; E, V at Fifth Ave.-53rd St.
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You could never accuse Alfredo of modesty. This outpost of the original Roman restaurant opens with a showman's flourish. In the entryway and near the bar hang dozens of black-and-white photos of various celebrities—from Frank Sinatra to Martha Stewart—mugging with pasta. Huge murals by Al Hirschfeld at the bar and in the dining room neatly bridge Italy and New York; most of the images are of famous Italians, from the bulbous swoop of Pavarotti to the sharp angles of Sophia Loren. A few items on the menu seem a little stagey, too. The "sushi" appetizers, for instance, use prosciutto and smoked salmon in sushi-like rolls, presented with crimson chopsticks. Traditional Roman dishes are the real standouts. The Carciofi alla Giudia appetizer balances flavors expertly: three pared-down fried artichokes surround a magenta-and-white heap of shaved radicchio. The artichokes' crisp outer leaves give way to the nearly creamy sweetness of the hearts, sparked by a bright taste of salt and the radicchio's bitterness. The sweeping lines of the Hirschfelds may have you craving long strands of pasta next. The namesake fettuccini Alfredo lives up to its reputation for richness: it arrives as a pale gold tangle of eggy noodles in a plain white dish, free of embellishments.Recommended Dishes
Carciofi alla giudia, $14; trittico di pasta, $29, fettuccine Alfredo, $22