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If the choice between Milwaukee's Best, Coors Light and jungle juice is leaving you wanting more, perhaps a sampling of three Chianti wines would be a refreshing alternative.

Penne's unique wine offerings are just the beginning. The restaurant is a far cry from your usual spaghetti-and-meatball eatery -- its seafood specialties, delicate desserts, daring meat dishes and surprisingly light pasta platters put a new spin on Italian food.

Adjacent to the Inn at Penn's lobby at 3611 Walnut Street -- the former location of the Ivy Grille -- Penne lights up as soon as you step inside.

A warm, amber glow lights the bar and dining room, filled with classical Roman busts against faux marble walls.

Our first dish, mixed greens with honeyed walnuts, apples and gorgonzola ($5), has a marvelous mix of differing flavors. The lobster, crab, shrimp and calamari salad ($12), is a colorful shellfish tower that will make you forget your typical mayonnaise-drenched seafood salad.

We then decided to try Penne's highly-touted wine flights -- trios of wines starting at $9. Following our server Jennifer's recommendations, we ordered the Red Chiantis ($10) and the Venezie Whites ($10). The variations among the three selections perfectly complemented our meals.

For our second round of appetizers, we tried the handmade penne with lobster ($12), a dish all patrons must try at least once, and the tasty capellini with spinach, summer squash and garlic oil ($9).

For our main courses, we ordered the pan-seared scallops with mushroom risotta and garlic sauce ($23). The scallops, crisp and brown on the outside and soft on the inside, melted in our mouths. The beef rib chop with a crabmeat salad ($25) was an ingenious combo.

To end our meal on a sweet note, our server brought us a delightful walnut brioche and chocolate mousse for dessert.

Penne is moderately priced and just around the corner, so leave those cans of Chef Boyardee in the cabinet tonight and treat yourself to a delicious and original Italian dinner.

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