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Bottega Bistro

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For a restaurant in a strip mall, patio is surprisingly inviting. The restaurant's interior is artfully lit with blue sconces, decorated with vintage poster prints and arranged so that most of the seating has a good view of the exposed kitchen.

Bottega's menu features trendy Mediterranean-style cuisine with appetizers such as fried calamari with lemon rouille ($6.95); pastas such as pesto with shrimp, scallops and sun-dried tomatoes ($14.95); and entrees such as chicken saltimbocca ($14.95). But the menu is also fashionably eclectic with barbecued chicken appearing on wood-fired pizza ($8.95) and a filet of beef with bourbon-ginger sauce ($19.95).

For main courses, we couldn't resist sampling the wood-fired pizza. Our garden pizza ($7.95) with spinach, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, feta and mozzarella suffered two unfortunate symptoms, limp crust and slightly underdone toppings. My diagnosis was premature delivery. Nevertheless, I applaud Bottega for taking on the challenges of the wood-fired oven.

Bottega's large menu ranges from run-of-the-mill trendy (in some cases gratuitously so) to the genuinely innovative. Notwithstanding a few glitches here and there, I'd say the kitchen executes the menu relatively well, resulting in quality fare served in a pleasant enough atmosphere. It's the kind of place I'd be happy to return to but don't envision

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