New dishes at Bernini

Left: cuttlefish; right: ragu

I have twenty some jars of chilis and hot sauce in my fridge: Peruvian, Moroccan, Korean, from a mildly spiced XO paste to good old Tapatio. So when, at a Bernini tasting last night, a small dish of hot sauce was the first thing to hit the table, I was disproportionately excited. One taste of this sauce, complex and somewhere between a harissa and a mole, and I figured if anything was lacking in flavor at dinner, then this condiment would fix it. As much as I loved the hot sauce, though, I hardly needed it.

Left: bell pepper and chicken pizza; Right: fennel sausage and mushroom pasta

Bernini, which John gave rave reviews when it first opened, has some new dishes debuting February 21. The highlights: a grilled cuttlefish, tender with a touch of white pepper heat; a fennel sausage and mushroom (here, a medley of local mushrooms, but usually with porcini) pasta; pizza topped with sweet bell peppers marinated in anchovy, on Bernini's signature thin, cracker-crisp crust.

Not a new item, but deserving mention: the ragu, with pieces of meat so soft they practically collapsed at the approach of my fork.

[Editor's note, debut date of new dishes edited 2/15/12]

Bernini Honolulu, 1218 Waimanu Street, 591-8400,