Sette Bello, as seen by a traditional camera.
Sette Bello, as seen by a traditional camera. (By Sabine Scherer)
Wednesday, November 9, 2005


EYE SPY A NEW RESTAURANT: With the opening of his third place to eat in the area, restaurateur Franco Nuschese of Cafe Milano in Georgetown and Sette Osteria in Dupont Circle is reaching out to a hungry audience across the Potomac.

"We thought the Arlington market was underserved," says Brian Scott , general manager of the recently opened Set te Bello in Arlington (3101 Wilson Blvd.; 703-351-1004).

Name a customer whim and Sette Bello ("Beautiful Seven") appears to have addressed it. For meeting planners, there's a private party room. For the food crowd, there are a pizza oven, a raw bar and some promising dishes (pumpkin-stuffed pasta, nicely grilled swordfish) on a menu drafted by corporate chef Domenico Cornacchia . The beautiful crowd -- some of whom are Milano regulars -- has already discovered the place, where the diversions extend to flat-screen TVs, clusters of tall tables for groups and a fireplace. Come spring, there will be outdoor seating.

It's all quite inviting -- at least until you look up from your plate and notice a not-so-hidden camera on the ceiling, just above Table 40 (which yours truly occupied on a recent weekend visit). Scott says the technology is "standard these days" (if that's the case, cameras in other restaurants must be better hidden) and exists "for the safety of guests and employees." From the restaurant's office, Scott can monitor the action in almost the entire restaurant -- in part, he says, to avoid such situations as traffic jams at the host stand.

Moral of the story: Sit up straight, mind your manners -- and don't do anything at Sette Bello that you wouldn't want the world to see.

Lunch entrees $8-$18; dinner entrees $9-24.

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