By 10 p.m. this evening, the place was packed—not just with natives, who flocked to Garga even when I first came to know it, in the late 1980s, but also with Americans, Germans, Japanese. Dishes began flying out of the kitchen, with Garga himself loudly calling waiters to fetch them. There were platters of veal with tender young artichokes; spicy shrimp served "scoundrel style" with garlicky tomato sauce; al dente tagliarini in a sauce of cream spiked with the zest of lemons and oranges plus parmigiano and fresh mint. Also seemingly flying about were countless bottles of wine—Santa Cristina and chianti classico; lush tignanello; slender bottles of pale, fizzy moscato. From the kitchen came a clamorous clanging of pans and the strains of Garga—sweating extravagantly in his open-necked shirt, a bandanna tied around his head—and his sous-chef, Elio, singing along to their cassettes of Puccini, Dean Martin, James Brown. Sharon, an earthy redhead, who used to have hair so long and wild that she resembled a Scottish warrior queen but who now looks very much the sleek, proud trattoria proprietor, has been presiding over the front of the house, where every table has been full. Again and again she has turned away people who appear hopefully at the door, yearning toward this glowing Aladdin's cave.