Mr. Martino’s

Trey Popp often gets the question “are there any worthwhile places in town that price their dinner entrées below $20?” He finds a worthwhile answer at Passyunk Avenue’s Mr. Martino’s.

Mr. Martino’s starts charming you the moment you call to reserve a table. A voice on an old-fashioned machine asks you to leave your details for Friday, Saturday or Sunday — the only days it’s open. If no one calls you back, that means you’re good to go.

You leave the world of restaurant Web sites farther behind when you open the door of Mr. Martino’s darkened storefront on Passyunk Avenue. Soothing yellow lamplight plays over whitewashed brick walls covered with faded photographs, beat-up frames and weird statuettes — the prototypical bric-a-brac that modern chains fall over themselves to ape. At my timeworn wooden table, I snuggled up to a marble-topped steam radiator like we were on a date.

Kitschen Capers [City Paper]