There are plenty of fish stories, but of those that pertain particularly to dinner, perhaps none is so poignant as that of the great Vatel, maître d'hôtel
of Louis XIV's cousin, who in 1671 fell on his own sword when a seafood shipment failed to arrive in time for an important fê te. If the dish he'd planned to serve was half as good as the grilled fish at Bar Italia, M. Vatel's suicide was well advised. We reveal no secrets in asserting that Bar Italia's stock-in-trade has always been attention to freshness and a healthy suspicion of affectation. Nowhere is this doctrine more successfully realized than in the daily seafood offering. It is Bar Italia's policy to select the freshest fish available and present it simply, often with no greater embellishment than a swish of olive oil and a light dusting of herbs. The result, accompanied by seasonal vegetables that themselves surpass your most delirious expectations, is consistently unimpeachable. We don't presume to guess whether hara-kiri
figures prominently at the stoves of this, one of our city's best kitchens, but we do know that this CWE bistro can really grill a grouper.