Chef Osvaldo Forlino has been freed! Formerly the chef at the much-lauded, and very formal, Forlino Restaurant at One Fullerton, Osvaldo is now at liberty to cook the type of food—in exactly the setting—he loves. His new venture is open, airy, casual and, because it is furnished with antiques from his private collection, has a European bistro feel to it. It’s the perfect setting for the food that comes out of the visible-to-the-dining room kitchen. Nothing is overly-wrought; instead, all dishes are simple and well-prepared with super-fresh ingredients. Case in point: The Salumi platter, which features a variety of cured meats that are ultra-tender, thinly-sliced and full of mouthwatering seasonings. The polenta with cheese fondue and chiodini mushrooms was wonderfully creamy even if it needed a bit of salt and pepper to up the flavor quotient. Other starters include bruschetta, San Daniele ham with melon, and a rocket salad with shaved parmesan which could have done with a bit more cheese to go with the yummy leaves. Any bumps during the starters were completely ironed out come main course time. A porcini mushroom and sausage risotto had a deep, woodsy flavor enhanced by the shaved-on-the-spot parmesan cheese. Unlike other risottos, this version was prepared al dente, so the grains of Arborio rice retained a bit of texture and nuttiness. The foresty flavors continued with a delicious tagliatelle with wild boar featuring tender meat and perfectly-cooked noodles. A dish of pansotti (Italian for “pot bellied”) containing super-light pasta formed into triangles around a spinach and ricotta filling tasted as though the spinach had been picked seconds earlier. The desserts were also delish and quite creative including yummy vanilla ice cream served like a pile of spaghetti. But beyond the appealing food here, what really makes a visit to Osvaldo something you’ll want to repeat is the professional staff and relaxed setting through which Osvaldo himself flitters (along with his sister the hostess and wife who occasionally emerges from the kitchen), beaming at diners with his wide smile. A nod must also be given to the friendly and professional wait staff who had the good sense to let us chat our heads off for about an hour with a bottle of wine without rushing us to make a menu choice. Chef Osvaldo clearly feels at home in his new space and—while enjoying his completely-satisfying home-style food, pour yourself water from the ceramic-corked bottle or olive oil from the mini tin can on the table—you will too.