You've probably driven past the corner of Arsenal Street and Watson road in South City, and have seen the long, low nondescript building that houses Brazie's, never giving it a second thought. Aside from the lone sign on the roof, there's not much of an indication of just what's going on inside. Existing as it does on the fringes of The Hill, it often doesn't get included in the pantheon of eateries in that venerable neighborhood. Despite being a bit under the radar, though, Brazie's has been serving up quality Italian fare for more than 20 years. We finally satisfied our curiosity and stopped in recently. We left wondering why it had taken us so long to visit.

While the exterior of Brazie's is fairly anonymous, the interior is inviting. The dining room is spacious—and that fact, combined with the understated décor, creates an elegant atmosphere.

From the Antipasti list, we started with an order of the Sauteed Artichokes ($10), nicely sauteed in a white wine and lemon sauce with a tasty tang that really primed the tastebuds for what was to come. Bread service at Brazie's features soft Italian bread, courtesy of local favorite Vitale's Bakery, perfect for enjoying every last bit of sauce on the plate.

The Brazie's menu features a wide range of Italian favorites, from chicken to veal to pastas. We decided to take advantage of the seafood options and ordered the Shrimp Sambucca ($25) and the Fettuccine Diablo ($17). Both came with a House Salad, a traditional Hill favorite with squiggles of provel, onion and prosciutto over a bed of crunchy lettuce, and dressed with a sweet vinaigrette.

The shrimp sambucca comes with a choice of veggies or pasta (we opted for the noodles). The centerpiece of the dish is, of course, the shrimp, a half-dozen of the plump jumbo variety. These are sauteed with olive oil, tomatoes and garlic, then topped with the sambucca sauce. The sauce has a light cream base and is quite sweet, thanks to the namesake Italian liqueur it’s made with, which also keeps the sauce on the light side flavor-wise. There also is an antipasti version of this dish available for those who prefer a smaller portion.

From the sweet, we headed over to the spicy side with the Fettuccine Diablo. This dish boasts copious amounts of crab, shrimp and mushrooms on a bed of tender fettuccine noodles with a flavorful tomato sauce. Despite the 'devil' in the name, this dish isn't over-the-top hot at all. Rather, it has a nice balance of spices that work well with the fresh tomatoes that form the base of the sauce.

All in all, Brazie's serves up good, solid Italian food in a relaxed environment, making it a good go-to for everything from a casual dinner with friends to celebrating a milestone event with that special someone.

-- 3073 Watson Road, 481-5464

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