1. Dining out is always something of a social experiment. A keen observer can draw myriad conclusions from how we interact with dinner companions, what we choose from the menu, even the amount we tip the server. Conviction, a new incarnation of chef Marc Thuet’s former Bite Me space, adds an intriguing twist to traditional restaurant dynamics—it’s staffed by ex-criminals hoping to turn their lives around. Beyond that novelty, the redesigned resto also represents for Thuet a departure from his comfort zone of French-Alsatian cookery. Instead, you’ll find a Mediterranean-inspired spread of pizzas, pastas and such mains as suckling pig with mascarpone polenta ($26) and an organic salmon and halibut pairing with black olive sauce and oven-dried tomatoes ($26).