Mia Sorella, the new restaurant from brothers Jamie and Steve Komorek, who own the popular Trattoria Marcella in South City, aims to take fresh, traditional Italian fare out to West County.

A casual, family-friendly vibe pervaded the restaurant. It was by no means Trattoria West, but definitely had its own personality. The atmosphere was more laid back, thanks to the open kitchen and spacious bar at the front of the space.

Planning ahead is a wise move before dropping in for a bite. Mia Sorella doesn't take reservations; and though we visited early in the evening in the middle of the week, every seat was taken by the time we left, so expect a bit of a wait.

The cocktail list was actually pretty lengthy, and it was good to see so many classics available, but the execution was a little off. For instance, The Southside ($8) was billed as containing gin, tonic, ginger liqueur, lemon juice and absinthe. A traditional version of this drink has mint, and the fizz from seltzer or club soda instead of tonic, but we were game to try this variant, and especially curious to see how the addition of ginger and absinthe would play out. But the tonic overpowered everything, and the result was a tall gin and tonic.

Fortunately, the cocktail ‘fail’ was mitigated by some tasty apps and entrees. The Warm Prosciutto and Fontina Spiedini ($8) from the Antipasti selections was a great way to start. Two skewers of meat and cheese, served on a bed of baby arugula that had just a bit of balsamic and olive oil drizzled over it, was a sort of appetizer and salad all in one, and a savory yet light way to start off.

The Angel Hair Puttanesca ($12) was a hearty combo of pasta and the traditional spicy red sauce of capers, black olives and anchovies. For an extra $5, we added scampi to the mix, which were huge and tender with a light breading. The Herb Crusted Scampi ($17) from the Secondi list, were grilled and served around a cauliflower cake with tomato, basil and a little lemon. The cauliflower cake was the real star of this dish, creamy but not mushy, and surprisingly flavorful. Oddly, the scampi were actually fewer in number and smaller in size than the ones served as add-ons to the pasta. We paired this dish with a glass of Girard 2010 Russian River Valley Chardonnay ($10), which was serviceable; but in hindsight, we should've gone with something a bit heavier, like a good pinot noir.

For dessert, Budino ($6), a chocolate pudding with caramel and topped with whipped cream, served in a jar, was a sweet, rustic way to finish up.

There also was a wide selection of other dishes available, including an array of pizzas and paninis, as well as classics like Fruitti Di Mare and Chicken Milanese, and lunch service was also an option. Thanks to the Komoreks, it's now even easier for those farther west to get quality Italian fare.

Mia Sorella, 14464 Clayton Road, 636-333-1015, miasorellastl.com.

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