The Dog in the Night-Time and the Osteria al Doge

The Curious Incident Of The Dog In the Night-Time begins when a neighborhood dog is killed and an autistic, 15-year-old boy tries to find out who is responsible for the crime. Christopher is highly intelligent and passionate, but ill equipped for such a task. As a savant, his awareness of numbers and facts is heightened, and he can't stand to be touched. We empathize immediately with his struggle with everyday interactions.

The story is told through narration and the ingenious set. Walls and floors are a grid pattern and become alive with secret compartments, train platforms, glowing boxes and a tube map as Jonathan’s search leads him to London. The dramatic scene in the station where he’s misplaced his pet rat is the sort of terror most of us hope never to witness in real life. Jonathan recites prime numbers to calm down and continues his search. At one point numbers take over the set as they take over his mind.

The actors are really good and Alex Sharp as Christopher is superb. We root for our hero in his honorable struggle for the truth, and we are anxious that he makes it back home. Based on the incredible book by Mark Haddon, which was popular with teens and adults alike, the unlikely but successful staging by the National Theatre of London received seven Olivier Awards including Best Play and is still running on the West End.

Venetian restaurant Osteria al Doge (translation: unassuming restaurant favored by the bigshot) is smack in the heart of the theatre district and dramatic whatever the time of day. Like a lot of great restaurants, the Doge has recently added a weekend brunch—Sunday brunch is after all when most New Yorkers like to go out to eat. Most of the time, the Doge is abuzz with happy theatergoers, like before Wednesday’s matinee.

Sit at a table in the romantic wraparound mezzanine and you get a sweet view of the hanging Latin candelabrum and the entire room. Seafood, meat and risottos are good value here, gorgeously presented, in big portions. Salads are heaping and colorful, and pastas deliver, such as the tender, ribbon-thin pappardelle made in-house. Individual pizza that overlaps the plate had a doughier crust than usual (note: next time ask for it extra-thin and burnt around the edges). To finish, espresso with a selection of gelato and biscotti.