Mon-Tue, noon-11:45pm; Wed, 11:30am-11:45pm; Thu-Fri, noon-11:45pm; Sat-Sun, 11:30am-11:45pm
A, C, E at 42nd St.-Port Authority Bus Terminal
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
Everything about Orso–the wine carafes, the china, the photos on the wall, even the colors of the daubed paint job (all of which he chose)–is a reflection of Joe Allen's boundless passion for Italy. Though no other restaurant hosts so many Broadway stars and biggies, what gets Allen most excited is his paper-crusted pizza, the bristling mushroom- and crab-meat- and asparagus-strewn pastas, and the sauteed calf's-liver, which has more guts than most of the producers sitting in his front room. However, the best testament to Allen's longevity as one of the city's first bold-faced named restaurateurs is that Orso can be appreciated best at lunch, on a non-matinee day. Because that's when it's not a theater hot spot. It's just a really fine Italian restaurant.