Often, it’s the simple stuff that makes the strongest impression. Take my last meal at Graffiato, where one of the best pastas in recent memory combined pork ragout, fried rosemary, whipped ricotta and gnocchi, or “little pillows of love,” as my gal pal called the $12 dish that rocked both of our worlds. The clamorous, two-story restaurant in Chinatown pays tribute to the flavors that celebrity chef Mike Isabella grew up on in Bergen County, N.J., and it still feels as hot as when the bar and dining room threw open their doors three years ago. The open kitchen puts out food you find yourself finishing even when you know you should cry “basta!” Among my recent conquests were a wood-fired meatball pizza, broccolini sprinkled with feta and walnuts, and goat cheese cheesecake cut with a surface of sunny lemon curd. Lunch finds a quieter scene and a bargain: three courses for a Jackson, with wines by the glass for a mere $5 extra. Make one of the food choices a dish that Isabella’s Italian American grandmother whipped up when he was a kid and she was just being resourceful with leftover meat scraps. Pepperoni sauce on chicken thighs is good to the last drop.