There's a portrait of a wild-eyed and gaping-mouthed Christian Bale, the actor's face splattered with red, on the wall next to the kitchen at the new North Loop restaurant Dario. It's a famous look from the time when Bale starred in "American Psycho," only there's a twist. A mound of spaghetti is being forked into his open mouth. The red? Not blood, but sauce.

Dinner at Dario isn't as unhinged as that piece of art would suggest, but there is a kind of manic, pasta-worshiping energy in the room. The music's loud, the colors (baby blue and blush, mostly) pop, and the flavors are assertive. The new spot from chef Joe Rolle and beverage director Stephen Rowe crackles with excitement, well into the night, over strong cocktails, plates of ultra-decadent oysters and one-of-a-kind ravioli.

Where: 323 Washington Av. N., Suite 100, Mpls., 612-614-2560, Dario anchors the T3 building, which is tucked at the end of an alley between Déjà Vu strip club and pan-Latin restaurant Guacaya Bistreaux. It's walkable to many other North Loop hot spots, including the Hewing Hotel and Public Domain, so a metropolitan night out is easily accomplished on foot. Hours are 5-10 p.m. Sun.-Thu., 5-11 p.m. Fri.-Sat.

The space: Colorful as a peacock, the room glows with halos of hot-pink lighting, teal banquettes and flamingo-hued stools against ocean-blue tiles under the bar. The restaurant has natural divisions: a semiprivate dining room near the entrance that looks out via big picture windows at the neighborhood beyond the alley; a long and lively bar and a row of booths; a wide-open dining room basking in the warmth of the kitchen, and a glass-walled "pasta room" that houses dough-rolling machinery by day, strangers at a communal dinner table by night.

Pop music was the soundtrack of choice on the night I dined there; with the din of a full restaurant, things can get loud, but not so much that I couldn't hear my companion.

The food: Rolle is a Twin Cities restaurant veteran, having come up under the late Jack Riebel at the Dakota. He made his mark in fine dining, leading kitchens at Martina, Borough and Il Foro. Now, at the restaurant named for his grandfather, the Iron Range-born Rolle is leaning into his Italian heritage with a long list of pastas, while incorporating Asian flavors into a number of dishes. The menu is divided into raw dishes, cold salads and hot vegetable sides, extruded pastas, filled pastas, gluten-free dishes that are pasta-adjacent (risotto, ricotta dumplings), and fish and meat mains. Let your server guide you as we did; the dishes take some explanation, and ours described them to us like an enthusiastic soliloquy.

The standout appetizer Oysters Dario presents the bivalves topped with spicy beef tartare and a frozen sphere of lime juice. The beef, served via the unexpected delivery system of an oyster shell, or on its own, is inspired by Rolle's memories from the old Minneapolis institution King & I Thai, and is a dish he first created with Riebel at the Dakota. (Oysters Dario $30 for a half-dozen; raw beef salad, $18.) It's an ode to his lost mentor and the kind of dish that turns heads; diners seated a row away from us couldn't stop looking at ours with wonder. They ordered it.

Also recommended for a light, crunchy starter is the fennel salad, the bulb served braised and raw, and paired with citrus and a sprinkling of hazelnuts ($15).

For pastas, Rolle has a not-so-secret weapon: Rachel Cornelius McLeod. The chef created an Instagram-fueled business early in the pandemic, Cornelius Pasta Co., delivering ribbons of noodles, sauces and colorful filled pastas in the shapes of candies to customers' homes. Her Doppio Ravioli ($24), which Rolle coats in brown butter, is an impressive pairing of two filled pastas conjoined, one with sunchoke purée, the other with ricotta. The square-cut spaghetti alla chitarra is a nest of strings in a bright and spicy lemon sauce with blue crab ($28), and was our favorite dish of the night.

While we'd have been happy to let pastas have the final word, we ordered one entree: the melt-in-your-mouth char siu pork belly with clams ($26), and had no regrets. Our server urged us to get the potatoes ($16), served like fried hash brown sticks doused in creamy cheese sauce that looks like icing. It takes Tater Tots to new heights.

The drinks: Rowe, whose cocktail knowledge was foundational in a decadelong career at the famed Marvel Bar, employs less-than-usual spirits in his cocktails ($16 each), such as two kinds of Vietnamese gin in a tropical quencher, the Gardener's Break. Others feature crème de banane, Calvados, shochu and the herbal Flora Green. There is also a short list of classics for the less adventurous, still discerning drinker, as well as spirit-free cocktails ($14 each).

Good to know: The T3 building can be hard to find. If coming by car, map to Guacaya Bistreaux — and perhaps stop there first for a drink? — and go down the alley on the south side of the building until you reach a small parking lot. Valet parking is available here for $15. But this being the North Loop, the area is eminently walkable; allow yourself time to enjoy the neighborhood.