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Erbaluce

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First I've heard of it, courtesy of today's Herald, an Italian restaurant going into the old Dedo space in Bay Village, with Chuck Draghi at the helm. I was a big fan of his cooking at Marcuccio's back in the day.

I wonder why the neighborhood approved this place and not what the Rachel's Kitchen folks were trying to do there (they ended up opening Hungry Mother instead, so happy ending, I guess.)

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  1. Oh man I loved Marcuccio's, this is good news indeed.

    3 Replies
    1. re: GretchenS

      didn't see the article but what i understand and as the name suggests, that this will feature northern italian cuisine but lombardia and piemonte in particular?? looking forward to this new italian place opening!

      1. re: GretchenS

        Weeeird. I was JUST Googling Chef Draghi a few days ago to see where he'd gotten to, and came up with nothing. Looking forward to it.

        1. re: Chris VR

          he has been with #9 group for some time in the front of the house... should be great

      2. Does anyone know a bit more history. Where else has Chuck Draghi been? I feel I have experienced his food before but can't recall where.

        4 Replies
        1. re: southie

          After Marcuccio's, I believe he was at Limbo, and then he was the opening chef at 33 Restaurant.

          1. re: Chris VR

            Thanks...any info about before Marcuccio's. I believe I know him but not from any of the places listed.

            Thanks for any info!

          2. re: southie

            article i read says he was waiting tables for 5 years.....

            1. re: eLizard

              Thanks.....I think I remember where I knew him from then...

          3. Omigod. Marcuccio's was the first tasting menu I eevr experienced. I went with a GANG of friends for a birthday, we all ordered that tasting menu, and it was transcendant. Each of us received a totally different combination of dishes for each course. and the deserts showcased a pear tart with Earll Gray tea that I have never forgotten. I'm so psyched; my birthday is coming up!

            1 Reply
            1. re: galleygirl

              It really was a great place and as soon as he left it went downhill in a hurry.

            2. I got an email saying they are doing a fundraiser for an opening event on September 26. Details are at http://www.firstgiving.com/bostonaids...

              1. They were supposed to have an opening event last Friday- has anyone been there yet?

                1. I managed to get there this weekend with some friends. In a word: Fabulous. Every single dish of the 6 we passed around was great. Subtle but flavorful spices, vegetables that add to the dish and aren’t just tossed to the side as an afterthought, FRESH fish. Just wonderful. Prices were very reasonable too, all things considered. We were surprised at how low the bill was.

                  Not that everything is perfect just yet. The wine list was extensive and made for a fun adventure. And there were beers available for those that lean that way. But the one member of our group who was not drinking was left with few options. Water or soda water, that’s it. No soft drinks at all, which seems odd. It would seem trivial to have some Coke and Sprite available – or even some homemade Italian sodas. Maybe that’s just too much to take on right now.

                  Everyone was very friendly, and the open kitchen allows Draghi to come out and visit (which he did). They are still clearly working the kinks out a bit, as the service was simultaneously overzealous and slow. Still, I enjoyed the leisurely pace of the meal.

                  I’d definitely recommend this to any and all. It’s tucked back a bit in Bay Village (and doesn’t even have signs up yet – they’re still the old Dedo’s signs). Good to have Draghi back and it’s great to have some quality eats at that location after being abandoned for so long.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: nom_nom_nom

                    I am going tonight and was a bit disturbed regarding the no soda comment, because while all my dinning companions drink alcohol, I do not...so I called and talked to Joan, who is apparently one of the owners and she informed me that at the restaurant they do not carry commercial soda products because keeping in the tradition of the fresh ingredients and way of cooking, Chuck is looking to avoid the high fructous corn syrups and the likes. Joan did infrom me that they do make fruit sodas there (i believe she mentioned at least peach and raspberry) and that they were absolutly delicious! I look forward to my visit tonight and will give a full update over the weekend. But just wanted to clarify this one point a little.

                  2. went last night and it was fantastic!!! i love Chuck Draghi's food and am so happy that he finally has a place of his own. started with apps of razor clams with fennel in a white wine broth and speck with sliced apples and sesame seeds and a light drizzle of sesame oil. there was a wonderful dominant herb that brightened up the dish that i can't remember the name of (too much wine).

                    for entrees, i had the roasted veal loin with braised endive and a lemon caper sauce. hubby had wild boar with mustard greens and a concord grape musto. both were a perfect, juicy medium rare. i'm in the "veal can never have too much lemon" camp and this did not disappoint. the braised endive was lush and slightly sweet. the capers added a nice hit of saltiness with each bite. the wild boar with concord grape musto is somewhat of a signature dish of his. the light bitterness of the mustard greens combined with the richness of the boar was heaven. there were several pastas that we were eyeing, but we decided to save them for another visit. for dessert we shared panna cotta (my favorite dessert) and chocolate truffles. both were out of this world (and i'm picky about panna cotta).

                    wine list has Chuck Draghi written all over it. rare and/or relatively unknown producers from piedmont and lombardi. we went with a Grumello from the Valtellina. most wines are mostly in the $50-$70 range, with a few in the low $30's.

                    1 beer, bottle of wine ($66), 2 apps, 2 entrees, 2 desserts came to about $178 before tip. most expensive entree on the list was the boar ($29).

                    we will definitely be back!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: rebs

                      I'm glad to hear about the good experiences. I recently went and experienced nothing but screw-ups, including service and every one of the five dishes we tried.

                      I'll give it another couple of weeks and try again.

                      1. re: wittlejosh

                        What were the screw-ups and how did the staff respond to them?

                    2. Went last night and had a sublime meal. Everything was perfect. The perfectly-spiced (nutmeg!) white bean dip and bread filled us up sooner than we would have liked, so we split the risotto appetizer, which was lovely. DC had a perfect fish dish (Italian fluke), which was also fantastically seasoned with fresh herbs. I had the gnocchi with wild board ragout. We split an excellent bottle of Brunello. Loved the atmosphere. Great service. Can't wait to go back and try some more of Chuck's amazing creations.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: hsquare2southend

                        What does the room look like? I peeked in the window one night when it was closed and it didn't look like they'd upgraded it much from the Dedo days, and Dedo always looked underdecorated to me considering the level of the food.

                        1. re: MC Slim JB

                          We actually sat in the bar area, not the dining room. It's very plain, but what I liked about it was the mellow lighting (very dim except for votives on each table) and the fact that it was a small, quiet room. Nothing better than a quiet, candlelit dinner on a rainy Saturday night (esp. compared to a place like Franklin, where you need to yell to be heard). We got a tour of the whole space after dinner (there are 2 upstairs function rooms) and the dining room was very simple. Perhaps "very simple" borders on "underdecorated" but then again, I suppose the same could even be said for No. 9.

                          1. re: hsquare2southend

                            Really? I never scrutinized the details, but I don't think of No. 9 as very simple or undecorated. I find the rooms comfortable and beautiful there.

                            1. re: pollystyrene

                              I guess I don't think of the No. 9 dining room as overly plush or decorated. Relative to many other high-end dining rooms, it's relatively simple (and beautiful in its simplicity).

                          2. re: MC Slim JB

                            Lightened up considerably since Dedo, helped in part by opening up a second entrance to the "dining room" from the bar area, on the left side of the bar. It's still got only about the charm, decorwise, of Craigie Street. The bar area, once again, may be the best place to eat.

                            A few other tweaks here and there.

                            1. re: wittlejosh

                              Was looking for a spot to grab drinks and dinner tonight (see my recent post) and remembered this place had just opened. Can anyone comment on the bar area? Could we grab a few seats at the bar and have dinner there? Also, any idea where I might be able to find a menu? The web site doesn't have one posted so I'm guessing I'm out of luck, but thought I'd try.

                              1. re: twentyoystahs

                                Well, a week late with a reply, but...

                                Yes, they do have a small bar area in the front that would be appropriate to grab a quick dinner. There's also apparently a bar area on the second floor, but I haven't seen it. I would imagine that weekday evenings would be less of a hassle than weekends for a spontaneous visit.

                                As for the menu, it's handwritten and changes daily (based on what's fresh and available). Every day's a new adventure. :)

                        2. Am glad to hear so many had good experiences with the food. Went maybe 2nd or 3rd wk they were open and had mediocre, at best, experience. I had never had his food at Marcuccios, but was so excited to try it based on comments like on this post. Only thing i remember being really good was a unique take on a caesar salad....everything else, from the service to the wine list (they didn't have the first 2 bottles we ordered) to the food was just off and expensively so. But based on everyone else's comments am willing to give it another go...thanks!

                          1. Nadeau gives it a four-star rave in the Phoenix today, and I think he gets most of the details exactly right. Superb Northern Italian food, especially the pastas, in a modest setting still much-improved over the Dedo space. I could wish for a few more under-$50 wines on the list, and would love to get a cocktail first (it's beer/wine/fortified wines only), but there was little not to love there my first time around: can't wait to get back.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: MC Slim JB

                              Nadeau also gave Da Vinci and Sushi Teq four stars (wtf?), but point taken. I'll definitely head back soon.

                              1. re: wittlejosh

                                I'm with you: I don't always agree with him (he loved The Beehive as well as Sushi-Teq, two places that are off my list for food; I'd probably have given Da Vinci a 3, not a 4), but our take on Erbaluce is very much in sync.

                              2. re: MC Slim JB

                                Oh, my gosh. I went for the first time last night and found the prices on the wine list shocking. Looking at the reds there were 2 wines for $38, one for $39, I think one in the mid $40s, then most in the $60+ range. MANY wines over $100, several over $200 and severeral over $1000 (though these were mostly large format). I realize that you can't judge a restaurant on one try, but there were 3 of us each having a starter and a main course and the food was good, but not the type of destination restaurant that would justify such a pricey wine list.

                                1. re: deliciousriesling

                                  I've had several spectacular meals here, find the food very exciting, and in general agree with your observations about the wine list: there's a lot of very interesting, little-seen wines in the $80-150 range that are very good values of their type.

                                  But the list is still pricey by my standards: I'm not in the habit of dropping $100 for a bottle of wine at dinner, and would appreciate a few more bottles under $60. I've only been a few times and I've already tried most everything at that level. None of those wines are stinkers, but if I want to go back and try something new, I'm going to have to spend more than I'd like, not a good thing in this economy. I might choose to go somewhere else that's a bit more sensitive to budget-conscious wine lovers.

                                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                                    Either I'm on a string of bad luck, or I just don't like the food that much here. Gorgeous menu descriptions, interesting combinations, but...just don't like it. Dense gnocchi, abundance of bitter citrus peel (or oil) everywhere you bite, problematic temperature differentials with components in the same dish.

                                    I have to give them credit for breaking the mold; I'm just not sure their nailing it.

                                    Or maybe they see me coming?

                                    Speaking of wine: I quite liked the Nebbiolo they sell by the glass.