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Da Vinci: the silence is deafening

b
Blumie Nov 30, 2007 06:56 PM

Does anyone have anything to report yet about this newcomer on Columbus Ave. near Park Square?

  1. pamplemouse Dec 6, 2007 07:42 AM

    Seriously... What is going on here? Nothing?

    1. hiddenboston Dec 6, 2007 08:13 AM

      Chirp.....chirp.....chirp.....chirp.....

      There is still NOTHING on this restaurant on the Internet. Even Yelp doesn't have any reviews on it yet.

      I want to get there, but probably won't have a chance until after the holidays. If and when I get there, I'll report back.

      1. Bob Dobalina Dec 6, 2007 09:27 AM

        Their website is also an obtuse monolith....

        www.davinciboston.com/

        9 Replies
        1. re: Bob Dobalina
          MC Slim JB Dec 6, 2007 10:08 AM

          But at least it's original. I forget who pointed this out to me:

          www.gaslight560.com and www.balthazarny.com

          and

          www.gaslight560.com/menus.html and www.balthazarny.com/menus.php

          and so on.

          1. re: MC Slim JB
            hiddenboston Dec 6, 2007 10:51 AM

            Read this blurb from a recent Globe article about Gaslight:

            "In some ways Gaslight feels derivative, one more American brasserie modeled after some ideal of the Parisian brasserie: convivial, with a bit of burnished flash. (The Aquitaine Group, which owns Gaslight, has practice emulating France.) The restaurant bears, for example, an eerie resemblance to Balthazar in New York; the two have extremely similar menus, down to the fonts."

            1. re: hiddenboston
              MC Slim JB Dec 6, 2007 11:10 AM

              Chowhound Tasi noted the menu similarity back in July. Many Hounds have cited the simillarity in the look of the room (though ESK can equally be accused of ripping off Balthazar). But the website cloning seems especially bald.

              1. re: hiddenboston
                pamplemouse Dec 6, 2007 11:20 AM

                There are actually quite a few posts on Da Vinci on Zagats which seem suspiciously amorous....

                1. re: pamplemouse
                  MC Slim JB Dec 6, 2007 12:44 PM

                  I wonder how many people read Zagat and cannot spot obvious shill posts like this: "If you are looking for an amazing restaurant-This is it!... My husband and I can not wait to go back to DaVinci for another unforgettable experience!" That's some pretty transparent self-pimping right there. Another reason that well-moderated boards like Chowhound are so much more valuable.

                  1. re: MC Slim JB
                    pamplemouse Dec 6, 2007 01:03 PM

                    very reminicent of that comercial for 33 restuarant and lounge...an unforgetable dining experience in Boston's stylish back bay... HA!

            2. re: Bob Dobalina
              s
              sbs401 Dec 19, 2007 04:41 AM

              Wow what a perfect website not a word wasted

              1. re: sbs401
                hiddenboston Dec 19, 2007 05:54 AM

                Being the geek that I am, I took a look at the source code for Da Vinci's site (the Da Vinci code, if you will), and I found this:

                <MAP NAME="Bjorklund Contractors: Asphalt, Paving, Construction, Stamped Concrete, Snow Plowing">

                Weird, huh?

                1. re: hiddenboston
                  Bob Dobalina Dec 19, 2007 10:00 AM

                  LOL - Let's hope their menu is more original than their web designer's re-use.

                  http://bjorklundcontractors.com/

            3. lissy Dec 6, 2007 12:53 PM

              I guess I'll chime in which I was reluctant to do since they have been open such a very short time and I think I was there the week they opened. I like the setup of the bar area. It's got some cozy couches. The menu seemed really small like maybe four in each category of apps, pastas and mains. There was a special that night that the bartender said was gnocchi with a meat (can't remember what kind) that "chef" had been braising all day that was fork tender. It ended up being a shell type pasta not gnocchi with a very dry meat. I didn't sample anything else on the menu since a) I didn't like what I had already eaten and b) there wasn't anything jumping out from the menu. All that said, this place is around the corner from me so I really want it to be good. I may go back and give it one more shot. Either way, it's a nice spot for a glass of wine.

              9 Replies
              1. re: lissy
                f
                F.F.C. Dec 6, 2007 03:18 PM

                The owner was the chef at campania since it opened. I am curious to try it out.

                1. re: F.F.C.
                  MC Slim JB Dec 6, 2007 08:09 PM

                  My understanding is that Da Vinci's chef was a sous at La Campania, not *the* chef, and that La Campania's executive chef remains its co-owner, John Maione.

                  1. re: MC Slim JB
                    b
                    baudolino Dec 17, 2007 07:03 PM

                    As I understand, John Maione is the 'chef-owner', but the DaVinci chef was the long-time 'real' chef at Campania ... apparently J Delpha (opening chef of Sorrellina) too the position after A Halberg turned it down in favor of leaving town.

                    1. re: baudolino
                      BillieJean Dec 18, 2007 10:38 AM

                      Yes, this is true, baudolino. Pepino was in fact the operating chef at La Camapania and John was more of the 'executive chef." While I haven't had a chance to try DaVinci, I always enjoyed Pepino's food at La Campania and will look forward to trying the new place.

                      1. re: BillieJean
                        b
                        Blumie Dec 18, 2007 08:13 PM

                        Well, if people don't try it soon, it's bound not to be around too much longer.

                        1. re: Blumie
                          j
                          jules127 Dec 19, 2007 05:56 AM

                          Okay, I admit it...I went weeks ago. I have been waiting for other reviews as well. Honestly I went on a Friday night after a few drinks and found the menu limited but the pasta quite fresh and tasty. I don't feel that I can fully comment until another visit.

                    2. re: MC Slim JB
                      m
                      Marbar Dec 29, 2007 08:23 AM

                      John Maione has not been at Campania for years--maybe 5 or 6 years. It is still owned by his brother David, and Peppino had been the head chef there since John left. Before that, he worked under John. The new chef is John from Sorrellina. He has not done much with the Campania menu, and he is decidedly cold to guests, not even interested in meeting the regular customers. I don't see him as a long-time chef there.

                      I went to Da Vinci in November because I enjoyed his food at Campania regularly. The menu is not extensive, but features about 4 pasta dishes -- he makes all his own pasta -- 4 or 5 meat entrees, and 4 or 5 appetizers, plus whatever specials for that night. I had a shrimp scampi appetizer that was very fresh and generous and a pan seared blackfish that was sweet and moist. Peppino was especially good at fresh fish dishes at Campania. One of my friends had the duck and raved about it. His wife had the chicken and loved it. My wife had a vegetarian pasta dish that he prepared just for her -- it was not on the menu. Desserts were good, but skimpy. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, though a bit noiser than I'd prefer. We went on the Friday after Thanksgiving, which I would have expected to be dead, but the place was nearly full by 8 pm.

                      1. re: Marbar
                        s
                        Spatterish Dec 29, 2007 11:02 AM

                        John Delpha never really had that 'dining-room chef' personality while at Sorrelina ... but the food was pretty solid. Does he really have to make freinds with everybody first? Can't chefs just cook these days?

                        1. re: Spatterish
                          m
                          Marbar Jan 3, 2008 12:21 PM

                          When you are charging $30 to $40 for entrees, you have a large repeat-business clientele, and you position yourself in the dining room between the cooking crew and the diners, then yes, I do believe the chef should be expected to be cordial and interested in the experience of his customers. I don't expect to become John Delpha's "friend," but if he is going to be in the dining room, I expect to see more than his back as he barks orders to the cooking staff. This kind of attention should not take a great deal of time, but should convey the message that the chef cares about your dining experience and your appreciation of his creations. That kind of attention is what complements the exceptional food at top restaurants like Radius, Icarus, Savinos, etc. and sets them above places that simply provide food that is "pretty solid."

                2. mjg0725 Dec 17, 2007 03:26 PM

                  Looking to try Da Vinci Friday night, anymore recent reviews? Heard that Chef Peppino was the actual "brains" behind the food at La Campania.

                  1. MC Slim JB Feb 22, 2008 03:34 AM

                    Devra First's review of Da Vinci in yesterday's Globe reminded me I hadn't posted about this place yet. Fans of the chef/owner's work as the longtime exec at La Campania (among which I counted myself) will certainly like the food here: he's doing essentially the same upscale Neapolitan food he did there. Easily the nicest-looking design job yet on this space (fka Grillfish and Piattini the second): warm, inviting, a little plush but not stiff, with very comfy lounge seating in the bar area. Sorry to say the $12 cocktails are terrible: they really need to hire more of a pro with the shaker if they're going to charge those prices.

                    Food is mostly terrific: superb house-made pastas in particular, like a swoony short-rib ravioili with a sauerbraten-like sauce, wicked. Very fine arancini, salads (love that pear "carpaccio"), and grilled meats. Pretty desserts, but don't be fooled: the so-called souffle is just another molten-center chocolate cake, yawn.

                    Solid service: chef Peppino seems to visit everyone's table at some point, a nice touch. The one thing that really irks me (and shocks me that Devra's review failed to mention it) is the wine list. It's heavily Italian (no problem there), but hugely tilted toward high-end bottles. I'd estimate that of 60 reds, only six are under $50, another 24 between $50-$100, fully half over $100. That's ridiculous, and a big crimp in my desire to return for anything but an occasion dinner. I can get good cocktails elsewhere nearby, but I need a few more affordable reds before I can consider making this place part of my fine-dining rotation. A big hitch in an otherwise pretty attractive experience.

                    1. e
                      Ellen2 Mar 29, 2008 11:07 AM

                      Peppino's food is awesome, the service is terrible though and they need more $30-45 bottles of wine. We are not cheap, but the least expensive decent bottle was only an ok Barbaresco- boring!!!

                      1. gini Apr 1, 2008 12:38 PM

                        DaVinci is now offering a 3 course menu for $29 on Mondays and Tuesdays.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: gini
                          e
                          Ellen2 Apr 1, 2008 06:37 PM

                          Delicious food!!!!!

                        2. j
                          jhallor Apr 11, 2008 12:42 PM

                          My husband had been dying to try Da Vinci so we finally had dinner there and it was fantastic! The bread and pasta is made daily by Chef Peppino and it cerainly shows. The onion focaccia was addictive.. my husband glared when the waiter asked if he should remove the basket. We started with the arancini as well as the portabella mushroom stuffed with prosciutto and fontina cheese. Arancini was good but the mushroom was out-of-this-world with a hearty steak-like feel. Moved on to the the pasta tasting trio...gnocchi's were light as a feather and the best I've ever had. They were served with a very light tomato sauce. rigatoni bolognese was my husbands favorite..nice meaty sauce, the ravioli was stuffed with mushroom, spinach and ricotta, very light. I had the catch of the day.. the halibut was done perfectly. My husband had the veal chop and it really was fantastic, served with mashed potatoes and asparagus. Dessert was good, but definitely not the best part of the evening. Tiramisu was average, coffee was very good. Drinks were also very good. Staff was very friendly and it was a nice touch to have the chef visit the tables. I would definitely go back for a special occassion, but not on a regular basis based on the prices.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: jhallor
                            galleygirl Apr 11, 2008 06:13 PM

                            They have discount coupons on restaurant.com.....

                            1. re: jhallor
                              TomH Apr 11, 2008 09:26 PM

                              Welcome to the Chowhound boards Sis! :)

                            2. jcottx3 May 12, 2008 05:17 PM

                              I went to DaVinci yesterday and I must say that I will almost certainly come back. All in all everything was good, especially the food. The design is very unique and the outdoor patio is very nice, especially on a warm spring or summer evening. One of the things that really added a nice touch to my evening was when the chef came out to speak to us, which doesnt happen very often. I will definetly come back, and by the looks of it it might even become my new usual destination.

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