Sportello: Classic Italian Vibes Outside of Boston's North End
Make your way past the Congress St. Bridge and you'll be exposed to a whole new selection of bars and restaurants in Boston, including Trillium Brewery, Menton, and Committee. More recently, Steph and I really enjoyed our meal at Sportello. Another one of Barbara Lynch's masterpieces, Sportello is an intimate yet casual eatery serving fine Italian cuisine.
PRO TIP: If you're looking for a cool cocktail bar after dinner and a way to impress your friends, ask the service at Sportello if they could put your name down for the bar downstairs. The bar downstairs is owned by the same management company and is called "Drink". They don't have a menu and tailor the cocktail based on whatever you're craving at that moment in time. Another cool factor is that you'll get to enter the bar via Sportello's kitchen.
The quality of food is great. I think the main courses and pasta dishes are the best. If I could redo my meal, I probably would have avoided the appetizers and ordered another main course to share. I really enjoyed the Grilled Pork Belly Wrapped in Blanched Scallions with Pistachio Puree and Marinaded Plums.
In terms of price, I'm not convinced that I'm getting enough value for my money. The food is good but I don't know why a small bowl of cold artichokes costs $7 and three scoops of sorbet cost $12.
Overall, Sportello is a great restaurant. I like dining here for the quality of food and the atmosphere. I think that there's still something missing that's preventing me from completely loving this place. It might have something to do with the price and the lack of really interesting/creative dishes on the menu.
Steph and I shared an aperitif. In this case, we went for the Lord Hobo Consolation Prize. This double IPA shows a lot of character. It has a gentle aroma, strong flavor, and a full mouthfeel. It's boozy at 9.5% ABV as expected.
At Sportello, the full can costs over $20 USD. I forgot the exact cost. It's a bit pricey but if you were to get this beer at their shop in Cambridge, you'd be paying around $14 USD anyway.
To start, we needed some refreshing dishes. We opted for the Heirloom Tomato Salad. It included a cute ball of Burrata, Pistachio Pesto, and some Arugula.
This simple dish is reliable no matter where you go. Sportello makes it perfectly. [$16 USD]
On the menu, there are a few crostini options. We got the Beef Eye Round Crostini with Pickled Onions, Roasted Red Grapes, and Celery.
Overall, it was pretty good. It was juicy and the flavor was nice. I kind of like the meaty + pickled flavor combination. [$9 USD]
Marinaded Artichokes? Why not. [$7 USD]
For our larger dishes, Steph and I shared everything. Sportello is supposed to have pretty good pasta so we tried two different ones. First, we got the Potato Gnocchi. It came with Lobster, Mushroom Ragu, and Peas.
Solid flavor. When you read the description of ingredients, it sounds like something is missing but it was perfect. It was hearty and the gnocchi was soft and chewy. [$29 USD]
The other pasta was the Strozzapreti. This type of pasta is long, thin, and short. It's like Cavatelli but longer.
FUN FACT: The word "strozzapreti" translates to "priest strangler". This one was made with Braised Rabbit, Picholine Olives, and Rosemary. Out of the two pastas, this one was my favorite. The rabbit flavor was unreal. [$27 USD]
Lastly, we couldn't say no to the Grilled Pork Belly. It was wrapped in Blanched Scallions and accompanied by a Pistachio Puree and Marinaded Plums.
To me, this was the most interesting thing on the menu. I've never really had these flavor pairings before and I was not let down. [$26 USD]
For dessert, we got the Tre Sorbetti with Strawberry, Blackberry, and Peach. A clean, crisp, and sweet dessert to end a hearty yet refreshing meal. [$12 USD]