Ni.Do. Caffe

At Ni.Do. Caffe, a quaint Italian restaurant in Belle Meade, petite tables are topped with taupe butcher paper, potted lavender plants, and multicolored platters of cheese and prosciutto crudo. A refrigerator showcases house-made cheeses for sale: mozzarella fior di latte, burrata, affumicato, and others. Owners Matteo Paderni and his wife, Giorgia Calabrese, run the show. Paderni serves as gracious host, encouraging diners to sample the ravioli -- pockets of house-made pasta shaped into ribboned squares and stuffed with fontina cheese and mushrooms, in a creamy, nutty sauce with Parmigiano-Reggiano -- and the burrata, a wonderful knotted pouch of mozzarella with an oozing center of curds and cream. Dishes here are unassuming and modest; nonetheless, they are prepared with consistency and care. It's what makes the setting feel far away from the razzmatazz of other neighborhoods. And as with many other new joints along the Biscayne corridor, crowds flow into Ni.Do. hoping to steer clear of valet parking, overpriced crudos, and $20 crafted cocktails. They want mozzarella, grissini, and gelato. They stick around for something simple and charming: a small place serving nothing more than good, laid-back Italian eats.