Walking inside Parella, it’s hard to believe just how fresh the restaurant feels. The woodfire wafts from the oven that has remarkably remained intact since this address belonged to Figlio. The spirit of that beloved restaurant has haunted every other eatery that has attempted to operate inside these walls. Only now does it feel as though that specter has been exorcised: The clean slate is emphasized by clean white walls, windows that open to the street, and a pack of cozy booths.
Chef Todd Macdonald’s menu draws inspiration from rustic Italian dishes but delivers on clean, elegant flavors. The first few plates I sampled were both comforting and impressive enough for date night. At first glance, the wine list was lovely, but I had to dive directly into the cocktails.
On the list are several variations on the Negroni. The best versions of the drink walk the line between bitter and sweet, and with a handful of Negronis to mix, the bar staff can amble through the different flavors threaded through the cocktail. There’s the Classico, Bianco, West, but the best is the Negroni Jalisco. A smoky mix of Raicilla Sierra (an agave-based spirit), Gran Classico aperitif, and a daring splash of Fernet Branca liqueur, it’s a drink just like I like my men: short, dark, and on the rocks.