Soffiato di guayaba is Zucchero's signature dessert, and it's a dandy. The flourless dome of guava cake is similar to the ubiquitous chocolate molten cake, except this one oozes a caramel-like fruit center. Homemade cream cheese ice cream flecked with sweet bits of guava matches up with the soffiato deliriously well. Lemon meringue pie was fresh and tasty too, but the cylindrical treat's filling was mousse-like rather than the traditional semitranslucent yellow curd.

A starter, main course, and dessert here would tend to total $40 to $50, excluding wine, coffee, tax, and tip. That's certainly not expensive for a fine-dining establishment, but while Zucchero wears a swank look, its food and service are more befitting a place with red-and-white checkered cloths and straw-wrapped bottles of Chianti on the tables, multiple menu mentions of truffle oil notwithstanding.

Ownership evidently recognized the need to lower prices a tad and has likewise added all sorts of supplemental deals: Each night, a three-course meal (with choices) of "Chef Oliveira's personal signature dishes" is offered for $19.95. Wednesday evenings bring 50 percent off bottles of wine. On Thursdays, every pasta plate goes for $10.95. That's more like it.

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