The author of Good-Bye, Glamour Girl once again uses her fine eye for urban adolescent angst, this time in the amusingly off-center adventures of the son of a Greenwich Village restaurateur. Cecilia's restaurant features Hungarian-Cajun food--with ninth-grader Andy Szabo's father providing the Hungarian half. His Cajun partner is an ex-con--the source of one of many grudges that Andy's maternal grandmother, a quintessential Wasp, holds against her son-in-law. Chief among them is the premature death of Andy's mother. Into this emotional brew come the many characters who populate Cecilia's: afailing comic, a picky restaurant critic, a fainting dancer, the Mafia, and Katie; Andy's beloved stray cat. As Andy narrates in rapid-fire present tense, these elements combine in odd ways to affect the restaurant's fate--and Andy's. The dancer annoys him by falling in love with his father; the critic reviews Cecilia's, nearly destroying it with the resulting popularity, which also interests the Mafia; and the comic saves the day when his tales of Cecilia's tribulations gain him an audience. Katie, the cat, is lost and, fortunately, found--together with Andy's new understanding of what the future holds. Stock characters, but the cliches are laid on with a light touch and a concrete sense of place. The promised sequel will be welcome.