Carisma (★★★★)

Carisma on King & Church is a dark abode where time passes more slowly than its hectic surroundings. There is a solemn yet fantastical element respected by quietly whispering patrons. The charm is as simple as the waiter grating parmesan for a whole minute, patiently. The food is understated but grows with each bite. The peas seem so peasant-like but contribute a slight bitterness and single-handedly foment a silent uprising: it begins with oozing cherry tomatoes in a violent red, moves to the chewy mushrooms and ends with a chicken with tasty burn marks. It could have done without the olives, which overpowered each bite they participated in. But they can be easily identified and summarily exiled. Only halfway through the meal do you notice yourself entranced by the food and the atmosphere. What a fine escape from high finance.

Fusilloni alla Katarina: Fusilloni, Sweet Pea, Smoked Chicken, Rapini, Sundried Black Olives, Mushroom, Aglio Olio ($18)

Fusilloni alla Katarina: Fusilloni, Sweet Pea, Smoked Chicken, Rapini, Sundried Black Olives, Mushroom, Aglio Olio ($18)

In keeping with the tradition established during Summerlicious ’12, I will be giving ratings to restaurants I dine at. These ratings range from 1 to 5 stars and take into consideration food, service, atmosphere, price, etc. These ratings will  be preliminary, or perfunctory for that matter (stars in brackets) until three items from the menu have been tasted  (again, in the tradition of Summerlicious). You will still be best served reading the description instead of simply relying on a rating.

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