What? What’s that? Sorry, I can’t hear you over the din; the sound waves flying out of everyone’s heads are bombarding my eardrums and inflaming my tinnitus. I wish I could tell you what the specials were, but my lip-reading skills are certainly lacking. I used the supplied megaphone to shout my order to our waiter, and he came back with a tasty plate of the old stand-by, spaghetti and meatballs. You wouldn’t think restaurants could screw this up too badly, but I’ve had some pretty awful stuff in the past. I must say, Assaggio managed to surpass my expectations and delivered a tasty plate of al dente pasta and meat, bread and spices in the shape of a ball. This joint is really no more than a neighborhood Italian place with decent, relatively inexpensive food, but it is these kinds of gems that make The City and its basic cuisine so great. [MF]

473 Columbus Ave.