As I walked into the quiet oasis that is Valbella in midtown, something struck me as familiar. I wouldn't figure it out until much later, but I had dined in this location before, when Scott Conant had Alto in this same space in 2007. I was meeting my brother and cousin for dinner, but had some trepidation having dined a few times at their suburban CT outpost, where the atmosphere is pretentious and the servers very self-impressed. Absolutely not true here! The space is bright, airy and comfortable. Our servers were engaging, friendly and efficient. We started with prosecco and shortly after a small platter with excellent sopressata and small chunks of parmesan arrived at the table. Warm bread with fantastic tasting olive oil arrived a bit later. We decided to have their signature pasta, fresh fettuccine with a truffle sauce as our first course, it was ethereal. Main dishes included a fantastic veal chop, their special salad and for me the best Branzino served over wilted spinach that I've ever had. The wine steward was very knowledgeable and we ended up with a terrific bottle of wine from Sardinia, something I'd never had before. After a spectacular meal we opted to pass on dessert and coffee but the manager insisted we take a to-go piece of their incredible napoleon dessert. Even the next day it was delicious. I'm not sure how the management at this location of Valbella has achieved such a wonderful ambiance and trained a staff to be helpful and kind to diners but it's working. I highly recommend a visit to this quiet oasis on 53rd Street in noisy Midtown!