Best Takeout Counter (Gourmet Division) - 2004
It seems a crime not to take your lunch at I Fratellini, considering the Clayton storefront restaurant comprises one of the city's nicest dining rooms. But alas, life is tough, and sometimes lunch must be gobbled in bland conference rooms, while tallying last month's revenue sheets or while ferrying from one job to the next. That's no reason to suffer through soggy sandwiches or McSalads. With a little foresight, you can order out from the homey Italian eatery. I Fratellini offers its entire menu as take-out; in addition, they pack pretty little box lunches to go with their panini and salad selections. Of the former, we're a big fan of the balsamic roasted eggplant, caramelized onion, smoked mozzarella and fresh basil, as well as the sliced sirloin, Gorgonzola, arugula and roasted red pepper. Go for a salad -- wilted spinach, pancetta, caramelized onion and Gorgonzola, or tuna carpaccio with arugula, lemon and capers -- and come out the other side feeling victorious. Sure, it's a little pricey, but if your boss is expensing it, who cares?