Food & Drink

Give Us an M

When it comes to nightlife, you’re jaded.

You’ve seen too many overpublicized (but supposedly exclusive) openings, thronged with preening B-listers and snooty media types (sorry), to believe the hype. You’re wise to all their no-sign, no-number, hidden-in-a-mini-mall tactics, and you’re over them.

We feel your pain. So trust us on this one: Cafe M opened last night, and we love it. Okay, so it’s got no sign. And, granted, it’s in a mini-mall. But inside, M is an oasis of relaxed, unpretentious cool. Owner Joe Reynolds transformed a Romanian restaurant with the addition of some booths and drapes and a color-scheme switch (from white to red). Mirrored walls, mirrored bar, and colored lights make for an inoffensively ironic disco vibe; it’s like a cross between some old-school Hollywood haunt and a gussied-up basement rec room.

The food is basic Italian, including excellent pizzas, a very edible chicken Marsala, and delicious tiramisu. There’s a DJ spinning some wildly eclectic stuff, and a crowd that really wants to be there. Joe is chatty, friendly, and adorably excited about his new venture. He should be.

He’s pulled off what no one’s managed to do in years: surprise us.

Cafe M, 1253 North Vine Street, at Fountain Avenue (323-856-0036).