How to explain a restaurant that became an institution despite mediocre food? Harry Cipriani offers a warm reception even to nonregulars and serves classics from the original Harry’s Bar, in Venice. But you can easily drop more than $50 before you get to the entrée, which will add another $40. Filleted branzino seemed puny next to the dull mixed vegetables; lemony veal piccata looked like cafeteria food. Instead, go for the light, crisp semolina gnocchi with chunky tomato sauce. Tables are so close together that you can smell the perfume of the blond whose companion is trying to convince her to eat more than broccoli rabe. Linger over tiny chocolate-chip cookies (gratis) at one of the tightly-squeezed tables, to eavesdrop and watch the air-kissing.