Italian with 15 minutes of BC
Not interested in a pizza parlor.
One possibility is the Italian-Argentine resto (name?) on Brighton Ave, near BonChon. Several years ago I tried it to some disappointment.
I am taking someone out to dinner tonight who prefers Italian. I suspect that a conventional red sauce place would suit him, but I really don't eat Italian out that often, though I know it and cook it at home. I simply don't follow the Italian resto scene.
Of course, there are La Morra and Pomodoro down in Brookline Village, which Google gives as 10 minutes away, and Tartufo in nearby Newton Center, and Comella's in Chestnut hill - the latter is probably the only one that would qualify as a red sauce palace, but there are varying levels of sophistication among these, so you can target whatever style you wish. Oh, and there is Porcini's in Watertown at the 12 minute mark.
Thanks for the advice.
We wound up at Appetito on Beacon St. in Newton Centre. Convenience was an initial reason, but I had not been there for awhile and thought it worth a revisit. The other contender was La Morra, but that is further and more expensive. However of all the possibilities LM has the most interesting menu. Certainly worth a try in the future.
One of the reasons I had not been to A. for several years was that the memory of my last visit had not focussed on the food, but instead on the crowded noise. As far as I was concerned the place had too much business for my own good.
Since then Sycamore and Tartuffo have opened and Bill's has expanded and gone quasi-upscale. Sycamore is packing them in. And last night, Tuesday at 8. it was crowded. What is the word on Sycamore? It offers upscale new American cuisine. As my dc said one of those places whose menu has no capital letters. I had not noticed any CH reviews, but in truth I have not been looking.
A. had few customers at 6:30, though by 8 the numbers were respectable, but not packed and noisy. Clearly when we entered at 6:30 they were not anticipating a crowd since they offered the two of us a four-top booth.
The menu does have red sauce options, but beyond that a few distinctive bows to the current food fancies. The beets, goat cheese, and greens topped with crisp sweet potato chips is a full plate of salad, well-mixed and well-proportioned. By accident or not it arrived undressed, but when asked they offered a choice of balsamic or orange vinaigrette. With that addition it was very good.
Last night the mains included as specials roasted branzino and orata. These are two farmed-raised Mediterranean fish that are worth trying if you don't mind that they are farm-raised. As I recall there were no wild fish oin the menu. As far as I know neither of the Mediterranean fish have had the problems associated with farmed-salmon.
My dc ordered the chicken parm with zitti. I did not taste it, but it was a substantial plate that looked good and quickly disappeared.
My choice was the chicken orvieto. The good news is that the large whole boneless chicken breast was perfectly cooked. Ever so slightly pink-tinged in the center, moist, and tender, this is how breast should be prepared. The lemon-wine sauce was good, with a slight acidic bite. I had not expected the mashed potatoes, but they were creamy and temptingly tasty. In a gesture that struck me as gilding the lilly, the mashed were stuffed into a split roasted acorn squash that formed the platform on which the breasts rested. The menu offered artichokes along with capers, wine, and lemon juice as the sauce. My sole complaint is that I would have liked more artichokes and less potato. There were precious few bottled artichoke hearts decorating the dish. Unfortunately they were more decoration than integration.
Since it was a warm night beer made more sense than wine. They were out of Anchor Steam, but at the suggestion of my beer-brewing dc I tried his choice Sumpin Sumpin, a Califonria super-hoppy brew that weighs at at about 7.5% alcohol. He told me that it is a wheat beer, but the hops certainly hid that flavor. They also offered the Chicago-brewed Goose Island, somthing not usually visible in these parts.
Certainly worth a return visit. The total damage with tax and tip came to about $75. We had neither coffee nor dessert. We did have two mains, one starter, and two bottles of beer, not cheap, but probably worth the price.
Goose Island is actually pretty prevalent locally these days. I even saw it on tap at the TD Garden when I was at the Bruins game the other night.
And definitely check out the reviews here for Sycamore. It is one of the better Boston area restaurants to open in the last year. Very high praise all around. I have had two nearly perfect meals there.