Unrated during the pandemic.

The pandemic is replacing the idea that “the customer is always right” with “employees need TLC, too.” Should you need proof, book a table at Quattro Osteria, the successor to Bistro Bohem in Shaw. Hoping to retain staff in a tricky labor market, co-owner Giovanni Ippolito says he wants his workers to have fun. If that means breaking into song or dance — or even quenching one’s thirst with a beer — toward the end of their shift, employees have a green light to do so.

The rationale: Happy servers lead to happy diners.

The subtext: Just because work is winding down — the “ugly” last hour or so, says the restaurateur — doesn’t mean the remaining few tables should get less attention.

For sure, customers are very much a priority at Quattro Osteria, which opened in August and brims with pleasing particulars, only some of which come from the kitchen. Ambiance — difficult to convey with takeout or delivery, as we all learned in the past 18 months — accounts for much of the newcomer’s enormous appeal. As Ippolito says, “we’ve put the vibe inside the restaurant.”

The tone is set at the entrance — a door from India dating to the 19th century — and pops up seemingly everywhere else in the place. Look up. Bird cages double as chandeliers. Sit down. The landing spots include two seats that look directly into the kitchen, helmed by Naples native Andrea Candito, 30, and a larger table, shiny with lacquer, created from a slice of an old tree from West Virginia. A glance around the dining room finds cocktails revealed from beneath smoke-filled cloches and empty gold frames dressing up the brick walls — homage to designer Gianni Versace, who adored gold and frames, but also a way to get diners to focus on their dinner. “I don’t like mirrors or TVs,” says Ippolito, who thinks they “detract from the experience.”

Neither smoky drinks nor empty frames are novel notions, but to see those and other tricks of the trade in a restaurant where the average entree is $26 is uncommon.

Quattro refers to the restaurant’s original four investors, including Ippolito’s brother, Salvio, and Louie Hankins, whose other restaurants are the nearby Rito Loco and El Techo. One partner dropped out early in the project, but “Quattro” fits if you consider the chef a principal. At any rate, “it’s bad luck to change the name of a restaurant,” says Giovanni, a former maitre d’ at the chic Tosca downtown who repeats the role here. (His brother manages the kitchen; Hankins helped source design ideas.)

The restaurant promises an “alternative” Italian experience and delivers. Little at Quattro Osteria will remind you of, say, fellow tastemakers Centrolina, Red Hen or even a throwback like Caruso’s Grocery. Ask for charcuterie at Quattro Osteria, and the folds of mortadella and prosciutto arrive on custom-made, wood-and-wire displays that bring to mind clotheslines strung between buildings — precisely the image Ippolito recalls from when his grandmother hung out the wash back in his native Naples.

I thought the term “deconstructed” had been retired. Maybe I simply wish it had. Like Cindy Adams, it’s still with us, though, including at Quattro Osteria. My issue with the term is the onus it puts on the diner to manipulate bits and pieces of food that are often better served as a unit. Thankfully, the deconstructed examples on this menu aren’t really DIY projects.

One, a rethought eggplant parmigiana, is a colorful illustration of how Candito, a former sous-chef at the Michelin-starred Ristorante Arnolfo in Tuscany, hopes to differentiate his menu from the competition. Stacked rectangles of grilled Parmesan cheese and deep-fried eggplant provide support for rosettes of a mousse flavored like pappa al pomodoro, Tuscany’s classic tomato and bread soup. Biting into the construction, you get a rush of tomato, followed by basil, both fresh and suspended in oil. Candito calls the appetizer his signature dish.

He could just as easily promote the shrimp carpaccio, opaque seafood that gets lifts from a fruity yuzu gel and teasing dots of wasabi mayonnaise. Rising from the plate is a cracker made from tapioca that’s cooked in shrimp stock, then dried and fried — in the end, perfect punctuation for the soft shrimp.

A collection of vintage plates makes every dish a looker. The prettiest pasta is beef-stuffed tortelli, dappled with an emulsion of smoked mozzarella and set on a grass-green puree of rapini. I like everything about the composition but the one-note sauce, which begs for salt or another accent. The more memorable pasta is risotto, pale green with asparagus and set off with morsels of poached lobster and tufts of lobster foam (foam ahoy, again!) that dissolve into the risotto as you eat it. The “ash” on the surface — smoked lime, lemon and grapefruit zest — is another deft touch.

Seafood dominates the menu and gets lots of attention from the chef. The perfume of shaved black truffles signals the arrival of cod, sheathed in crisp tempura and displayed on a bright pea puree. Anchovy-laced breadcrumbs are scattered over a dish of fried octopus, and ruby-rare tuna, edged in crushed pistachios, rests on a lovely caponata ringed with precise dots of spring onion mayonnaise.

Maybe you’d rather dispense with frills. The kitchen has you covered. The salads include a combination of shaved fennel, sliced oranges and meaty anchovies; pastas embrace a respectable linguine adorned with mussels, cherry tomatoes and pecorino. Rack of lamb addresses meat-and-potatoes types, although I need to point out that the thin-cut lamb is arranged on a potato puree colored with saffron and the sauce circling the meat is sweet-tart with pomegranate. Also, like a number of dishes, the portion is on the dainty side.

The combination of bare surfaces and animated audience feels like a throwback to easier times; indeed, I’m conducting sound checks again. Unfortunately, Quattro Osteria scores high: 86 decibels, close to what a power mower registers. My advice is to dine on the early side, before the crowds descend.

Another suggestion: Get dessert. The kitchen offers good cannoli, as well as a warm chocolate flan topped with a scoop of pistachio gelato (and sea salt, for crackle and balance). The prize for presentation goes to the tiramisu, dropped off in the top of an espresso pot — yet another delicious escape from reality, in a room rich with diversions.

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Quattro Osteria 600 Florida Ave. NW. 202-481-4044. quattroosteria.com.

Open: 5 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 5 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday. Prices: Antipasti $12 to $16, pastas and main courses $22 to $30. Sound check: 86 decibels/Extremely loud. Accessibility: No barriers at entrance; ADA-compliant restroom.