Best Inexpensive Italian Restaurant (2009)
The little man felt very bad,
One meatball was all he had.
And in his dreams, he hears that call:
"You gets no bread with one meatball."
Owing to this damn recession, it's appropriate to drag out Depression-era ditties like the one popularized by Josh White in 1944. And it has also reached the point when one meatball for $15 just doesn't cut it anymore. Joey's, a quaint 70-seat Wynwood café, solves this Italian-food-in-tough-times dilemma. For one thing, it doesn't serve meatballs. But it does dish Venetian chef Ivo Mazzon's freshly made pastas — such as spaghetti pomodoro, which reminds us of the pure, simple aromatic appeal of perfectly cooked semolina with ripe tomatoes, fresh basil, and a hint of garlic and olive oil. And try putting this in your red sauce: A hefty half-order can be relished for $5, and a larger portion is $7. Add a small house salad splashed with fresh orange juice-olive oil dressing for $3. Or splurge and try a grilled sirloin steak with softly braised spinach, fennel, and Swiss chard ($16). A great bottle of wine from a boutique Italian vintner for less than $40? Not a problem, nor is a glass of it for under $10. Honest food, fantastic value, an outdoor patio wrapped in foliage, and convenient hours — open for lunch and dinner till 10 p.m. weekdays and 11:30 p.m. weekends. Depression? Joey's is the perfect place to fuhgeddaboutit.
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