The camera pans along the nighttime skyline of Pittsburgh, as a romantic song plays in the background. Then along a common street to a low-rise walk-up apartment building beside a notary office, and into the apartment of a beautiful but lonely young woman named Marie (Anne Parillaud). Marie stands naked, looking out her window; her apartment lit by dozens of candles. In a voiceover, Marie says she is 'eternally alone' and lives for comfort of the senses; food and sex. But she's very picky about what she eats, which caused her last lover to leave. As Marie reads over several newspaper articles about organized crime in the city, including a rising mob boss named Sal 'the Shark' Macelli, her voiceover continues, saying she hasn't been able to obtain food in six days. She's sad and starved, and needs to treat herself. Continuing to read the article she says that she's thought about going Italian, and we see her smile to herself in a mirror, and blow out some candles.
A fancy car drives up to a corner Italian restaurant named the Oyster House. A man named Gilly gets out of the car near where several men stand, and greets one before walking into the restaurant, where he goes to a small table occupied by Tony (Chazz Palminteri) and Joe Gennaro (Anthony LaPaglia). Tony takes the two downstairs; Joe discreetly telling Gilly that the place is bugged. They pass through the kitchen and a heavy door where Sal Macelli (Robert Loggia) sits with a group of his enforcers.
Gilly acts in awe of Macelli, who merely sits and sips coffee as his men make Gilly sit beside him. One brings over a toaster oven and takes it out of its box. Macelli makes small talk and a joke about toaster ovens, before quickly getting to the point: he accuses Gilly of short-ending him on an acquisition. He bashes Gilly with the toaster oven, knocking him off his chair. He busts the toaster oven over Gilly's head, making it clear that Gilly is here to be killed.
Joe pleads for discretion, saying that someone might have seen Gilly entering the restaurant. Macelli roars that if Joe wants a discreet killing, he has to do it himself. He tells Ray (Kim Coates) to hand his gun to Joe, and demands that Joe carry out the execution.