Claudio, whom we'd met the day before moonlighting at the Palazzo Brandolini, takes our order for, well, a bellini and a martini. We are tempted by the croquettes and croques—Harry's is famous in knowing circles for such casual bar menu items—but ultimately we begin with a simple salad of very fresh little scampi and plump, sweet borlotti beans, and an order of pale, delicate carpaccio, crosshatched with a mayonnaise-mustard sauce the color of ivory. (This dish, which Venetians usually eat as a main course, was invented here only in 1950, and named after the great Venetian Renaissance painter Vittore Carpaccio, the subject of an exhibition in the city earlier that year.) Before our pasta course—homemade ravioli filled with ricotta and glazed with butter and soft little bits of cardoon—Claudio, as if he's afraid that we might miss something, brings us a tiny plate of simple boiled schie (ethereal miniature gray shrimp from the lagoon) and a bowl of hearty pasta e fagioli, the bean soup that is Venetian soul food. Our main course is fegato alla veneziana, almost certainly the best in Venice—crisp-edged morsels of calf's liver and rings and strands of caramelized onions. We forgo dessert. But as we sit there, in the simply but warmly furnished, sunlit dining room, finishing our Loredan Gasparini Venegazzu, a silky red from the hills 25 miles northwest of Venice ("That's the Contessa Loredan," whispers Claudio, nodding at the elegant elderly woman at the corner table), life seems very sweet indeed.