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Oct 28, 2009 10:47 AM

Is erbaluce too fancy?

I'm bringing my in-laws out to eat after we go to a BC football game. Last year, we went to Via Matta and loved it. We were wearing jeans and nice shirts, and we felt pretty comfortable at Via. Would we feel underdressed with the same attire at erbaluce? I've never been, so I'm curious.

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  1. no, very relaxed

    but make sure everyone like citrus zest.

    1. You will be completely fine in that attire. Enjoy Erbaluce. I went there for the first time a few weeks ago and absolutely loved it!

      69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

      1. I've seen plenty of casually-dressed diners in there. If you felt self-conscious about it, you could always get a table in the bar area: same menu is available.

        Also, I don't share Jolyon's apparent experience of tasting citrus zest in everything. The chef is unusual in that he uses vegetable and fruit essences in places where most chefs would use butter, cream, or other animal fats. The result is a uniquely light take on Italian food, original and occasionally astonishing. I really like his food.

        3 Replies
        1. re: MC Slim JB

          Draghi's one of the few originals in town, and it's unfair for me to dismiss him so casually.

          I feel like there's this constant barrage of floral middle notes that most chefs would use to add complexity, but instead it's the main event in dish after dish. Sunflower, citrus-peel oils, floral herbs, etc.

          Love the concept, love the sourcing, love the price point, love the wine selections, love the non-focus-grouped feel of the menu, love the personal-touch service, love that way of eating. But for the life of me, I can't get beyond an academic appreciation of much of the food. With some definite exceptions.

          I think he's got mad chops in the kitchen. I just don't think his palate and my palate are calibrated at all. Which isn't a tragedy.

          1. re: Jolyon Helterman

            I share your sentiments on the palate calibration - but it's about Tony Maws at Craigie - not citrus-focused, but I just don't get or appreciate the specialness now or when it was the Bistrot - and the price point is much, much too high IMHO - I do love what Tom does in the bar every time, however.

            1. re: rlh

              In my limited experience with his food, Tony Maws' palate is skewed heavily towards fatty and salty and generally rich taste/feel. I found his dishes to be really unbalanced flavor-wise, but I haven't really given him a fair shake. And now we might be forging another thread altogether.

        2. Had my first dinner there last week and loved it. All comments are right on; casual (we sat at the bar, which is area tables seem more casual as well). Friendly service, fantastic and fascinating wine selection, original take on cooking that really shines. We ate pretty much all seafood, the octopus special was probably the best preparation of that creature I've ever had the pleasure of eating, the scungilli and razor clams were way up there as well.

          Jolyon's point is taken, though not every dish had those features, several did seem to. But the tradeoff, where animal fats would have dominated all the dishes in another restaurant, was well worth it for me. I didn't feel the dishes were repetitive at all, just had some common highlights. And I have not had a chance to work my way through the entire menu though I'd love to!

          It was one of the better and more memorable meals I've had in a long time.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Zatan

            a little gem in the middle of over-priced mob-scenes. I prefer sitting at the bar or in the lounge. try the wild boar with starfruit mostarda if still on menu

            1. re: TopCat

              I asked the chef about this once: wild boar is a signature dish, always on the menu. The sauce varies with the seasonal availabilty of produce: a couple of months ago, it was a mosto based on fresh black grapes.


              1. re: MC Slim JB

                Even back in the days of Marcuccio's -- a restaurant I still remember with great fondness -- Draghi was all about the wild boar.

                1. re: MC Slim JB

                  I didn't get to it, but the boar was being served with that mosto, local concord grapes, lightly fermented for a few days.....sounded great.

                  They also had wild boar meatballs, and I think a ragu for one of the pasta dishes....

            2. The dining area resembles a finished basement, so the atmosphere is not fancy at all. However the food is excellent. You will be just fine in the attire you describe. I actually think the bar has a much nicer atmosphere than the dining room.