I have to admit that I've had a girl crush on Barbara Lynch since I heard her speak at 'Eat, Drink, and Be Social'. I thought her philosophy about food, and her understanding of Boston's place in the foodie world were very interesting. She's well spoken and she's clearly successful with several top restaurants in the Boston area.
So when Jessie of How 2 Heroes and Lara of Good Cook Doris invited me (along with Fiona, Katie, and Peter) to Sportello for a Restaurant week meal, I couldn't say no!
***For those of you not in Boston, Restaurant week is an event that happens twice a year. Participating restaurants offer 2 course Prix Fix lunches for $20ish dollars, and 3 course dinners for $30ish dollars to encourage consumers to try their restaurants. ***
Me & Peter
We arrived at Sportello and perused the menu.
While we perused the menu I sipped some rose.
Jessie had a globe-full of red!! So big!
After we ordered we were presented with whipped ricotta with fig preserves.
Spread all over the dense Italian bread......it was a very nice start. The combination of the sweet and tangy preserves and the rich ricotta was so yummy. It was a nice alternative to bread and butter.
And then, one of my favorite things happened: the kitchen sent an amuse bouche! I love when that happens. Salmon with chives, horseradish, on a crispbread. Tasty, light, and totally unexpected.
My first course was the corn soup, and I was absolutely blown away. It's like Barbara was in that open kitchen with a magic wand, condensing the bright sweetness of summer corn into a fresh, light, and slightly creamy soup.
It was almost fluffy. It was garnished with a little scallion, and chanterelle mushrooms that had been hit with a bit of vinegar (almost too much - but there were only two mushrooms so it didn't overpower)....I could have taken a swim in that bowl.
Second course I went with the Raffetta (gnocchi). I loved the beautiful verdant green of this dish.
The broccoli rabe was perfectly cooked. It still had a little bite and texture, and the pesto mellowed out some of the natural bitterness of the greens. The gnocchi were soft and light, and the salty ricotta salata brought it all together. I loved when I got a whole pine nut in a bite. The textures were amazing.
Although there was chocolate bread pudding on the menu (yum), I was in the mood for something with fruit. I ordered the cornmeal cake with peaches and blueberries. It was a very different dessert, but also very rustic and satisfying. I mentioned to Lara that I could imagine eating the same thing for breakfast with some yogurt and coffee. Imagine a perfect, moist corn muffin. Now, put it on the griddle with a little butter and just let it brown ever so slightly, just to make the edges a little crispy. Top it with juicy wild blueberries and a summer peach....oh man....
We all were members of the Clean Plate Club that night....
Lara and Katie
Barbara, you've just secured a place in my top-5 chef list.
I WILL be back to Sportello. The food, service, and atmosphere were great. The food was simple, yet perfectly executed. The staff was friendly, attentive, and well informed about the menu. And the casual atmosphere and communal tables makes it a fun place to dine.
Can't wait to go back for the regular menu!!