235 East 4th Street
New York, NY 10009
(212) 254-2900

I killed the extra forty-five minutes nursing a Guinness at One and One. The sparsely populated bar, music, amicable bartender and a crossword puzzle helped quell my frustration at the fact that Speeds was late, yet again. A fact not helped by the rain. As I came down to the last few sips, she arrived and we moseyed our way slightly uptown to Tonda, a trendy Italian restaurant with a penchant for thin crust pizza.

Tonda, this particular Thursday evening was pretty deserted, and though it did fill up some by the time we left, they were never full. The atmosphere is dark, moody, almost eerie, extremely sexual without being romantic, and accentuated by the She Wants Revenge albums played by the staff. The corner has a somewhat cozy sofa and chair section where you can enjoy cocktails from the massive bar or apps from the menu with the person you want to hook up with. The rest of the dining room, the dim glow of the tealights absorbed by the chocolate-brown wood of the tables, is for dinner.

The first thing we ordered was a round of Fried Calamari, a staple of dinners at both Italian restaurants and dive bars alike. And I'll be honest, you couldn't distinguish the fried cephalopod served here from that which you'd get at your standard Famous Original Ray's Originally Famous Original Pizza by Ray. It was good, but generic. We ate all of it. However, the same cannot be said of the Seared Rosemary Scallops, which were fantastic. Four large scallops with the texture of soft butter skewered on a spear of fresh rosemary with the subtle hint of orange.

Between the appetizers and the entrees, I decided to get a pizza. We went with a simple Margherita Pizza to nosh on. Unfortunately, we also decided to go "healthy" and get whole wheat crust. Big mistake. It was like eating pizza on a shelf of sandy cardboard. I know this would have been good had I tried forgotten that there are some things you don't pretend can be good for you. Like Buffalo wings, french fries and tequila shots, Pizza's is not health food. We should accept it for what it is: a damn tasty luxury good that we eat in moderation. I took the leftovers to my parents later that night.

I ordered the Italian Roasted Chicken, a roasted half chicken with green beans and rosemary roast potatoes. It was perfect. There's absolutely nothing I can think of that could have been done better with this dish. The skin was just the right amount of crispy, the meat was tender, the green beans still had their crunch, the potatoes were soft without being soggy and there was a healthy level of drippings that everything could be dipped into at the bottom of the plate. The only question I have is what makes this "Italian"? I swear I've had the exact same thing in French and American restaurants in exactly the same way. Speeds ordered the Arugula and Parmagiano Salad, which was literally an arugula salad with Parmesan cheese. Good, but let's not kid ourselves, it's a salad.

For dessert, Speeds and I ordered coffees as we always do, and followed that up with the sorta solid food that is a big slab of Tiramisu. Tiramisu has about a hundred variations and is almost never bad, though, almost never perfect, either. And that was the kind we got. On the one hand, very very good tiramisu. On the other hand, there was so much cocoa powder on top that I started to cough because I was inhaling it like smoke from a Lucky Strike. This necessitated scraping the cocoa off and forsaking that top layer.

Two drinks, one pizza, two appetizers, one salad, and an entree, two coffees and a dessert came to $79.50 plus tax and tip.

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