Azzurro, Millie's Diner, Liberty Valance 

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Tucked in the fashionable River Road shopping center, seems like the quintessential West End restaurant. It's informal but stylish, with professional service and prices high enough to denote "fine cuisine" for those whose palates might not otherwise know. Indeed, it seems to cater to that rare audience for whom higher prices make the fare even more attractive. But the food here — high-end Italian — is good; some of it very good. On our visit they goofed on the pizza dough, but they graciously did the right thing by making the replacement dish complimentary. Unfortunately, someone goofed on that dish as well. The service is professional and the atmosphere is nice. I struggle with the appropriateness of the prices, but then when you eat at Azzurro, perhaps you are buying more than just a meal. turns out a solid assortment of core dishes — lamb, shrimp, chicken, salmon, duck — for its high-end-diner theme and dresses these dishes with sometimes original embellishments absent any fuss or frill. The result is food that's cozy and dependable, delivered in a trend-defying atmosphere of gustatory groove. We found our fit with the slow-braised lamb shank that came to our table with a white bean and shiitake ragout ($19.95), and in the Cajun marinated duck appetizer ($9.95) served with two low-country crawfish friends and herb polenta. Both orders of dry-rubbed pork tenderloin ($20.95) with mashed potatoes and garlic green beans came too pink for our liking and were returned for more time on the grill. But the minor delay and inconvenience were handled by the staff with refreshingly sincere respect, attention and professional understanding. Even if we weren't correct. A witness to Millie's strength is that this minor nick didn't ruffle our experience. And missteps must not happen very often, since the place seems never to be at a loss for customers. — Noel Patrick The menu at is surprisingly extensive. Appetizers (about $4) are mostly of the deep-fried variety, and salads and sandwiches (about $6) cover all the usual basics. It's in the entrée category where things get a little wild. There are about 11 steak entrées and a handful of barbecued rib options ($8.95 to $18.95). There's a section that features some "greasy spoon" Italian-style entrees like spaghetti with sausage ($7.95) and chicken Parmesan ($7.95). Then there's the Southern section that boasts dishes like pork chops ($7.95) and fried chicken ($7.95). And to round things out, there's seafood — mostly deep-fried, like breaded shrimp or oysters ($10.95). The culinary experience is mediocre, but this place is so likable I encourage you to visit - just not for dinner. We discovered, as apparently many other people have before us, that Liberty Valance serves a great American-style breakfast — on the Sunday we visited the place was already filling up by 8:30 a.m. — B. Ifan Rhys

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