By CHRIS SHERMAN
© St. Petersburg Times, published January 25, 2001
Gratzzi and Mezzanotte arrived in grand style at St. Petersburg's BayWalk and Centro Ybor, respectively, last week. Gratzzi gives St. Petersburg elegant, deep-red digs for Italian, plus rare tastes such as rustic rabbit sofritto and clever eggplant-crab napoleons. Entrees start at $11 for a half chicken with artichokes and asparagus. (727) 822-7769.
Ybor's Mezzanotte gets its drama in decor and crowd. Dress is New York black, preferably leather (but Warren Sapp wore white). The menu's familiar, jazzed up with arugula and endive; mushroom salad and (very) fresh mozzarella are fun bites. Angel hair with pomodoro, $9.95; penne with shrimp and mushrooms, $11.50. Fresh tastes in Italian? Bravo! (813) 242-4885.
Star chefs lining up for the $400-ticket Taste of the NFL on Saturday include Susan Spicer (New Orleans), Nancy Longo (Baltimore), Allen Susser (Miami), Don Pintabona (New York). Look for them in their off-hours at better tables around town.
Bite of takeout. During Super Bowl last year, more than a quarter of us ate takeout. The flip side is that business is slow then in sit-down restaurants, so those that are open during the game have a good choice of tables.