If you look into the restaurant scene in Boston, one name continually jumps to the top of the lists: Barbara Lynch
. An incredibly talented chef turned restaurateur, Barbara leads the helm at several renowned restaurants across the city. Her flagship location No. 9 Park
overlooks the Boston Common and is regarded as home to one of Boston’s finest dining experiences. Yet this James Beard Award winning chef does not limit herself to fine dining, several other locations cover a broad spectrum of experiences from a neighborhood oyster bar
, a full service butcher shop and wine bar
, to a modern interpretation of an Italian lunch counter. The latter, named Sportello
, boasted a menu that I knew would make Mr. B a very happy man.
We started our evening in the basement of Sportello, home to a sister establishment simply named Drink
. It was a bar unlike any other I’ve ever encountered. You walk into the space and wonder if you are indeed in a bar. There are no displays of vodka, no racks of wine- in fact there are no bottles anywhere in sight. Bustling bartenders work behind long wood counter tops that wrap around a large central table laden with fresh fruit; the idea is that you simply sit down at the bar and begin a conversation with a bartender. Homemade simple syrups, craft spirits, and a deep staff knowledge of mixology mean the sky is the limit when it comes to your options for a drink.
Mr. B ordered a dark and stormy crafted with homemade ginger beer, aged Jamacian Rum, and a bit of homemade ginger simple syrup. Deeply flavored and packing a strong ginger punch, he quickly declared it the best dark and stormy he’d ever tasted.
The bar began to fill up as we headed upstairs to our table at Sportello, giving the space the feeling of a big party in someone’s very nice basement. Relaxing, fun, and filled with excellent drinks, if I lived in Boston I would quickly become a regular at Drink!
Central to the concept of Sportello is the open diner-style kitchen. A few inches of sneeze guard glass separate you from the kitchen but aside from that you are right in the action. I loved watching the chefs pull together each order, working with a rhythm and focus that filled the entire room with energy.
The menu is divided into several sections, with small portions that allow diners to order multiple dishes. We each ordered different things in an attempt to taste our way through as much of the menu as possible. The parade of food which followed was a feast and honestly one of the more enjoyable meals I have eaten in a long time. We dove into:
Homemade Ricotta with Rhubarb Compote
Roasted Asparagus and Arugula with Poached egg, Grana Padano, and Lemon
Hamachi Crudo with Green Tomato, Peperoncini, and Watermelon radish
Strozzapreti with Braised Rabbit, Picholine olives, and Rosemary
Spring Risotto with Fava Beans, Fiddlehead Ferns, and Peas
Dayboat Scallops with Peas, Carrots, and Anchovy
Scottish Salmon with Mussels, Clams, Soffritto, and Borlotti Beans
Citrus Scented Panna Cotta with Blood Orange, Goat Cheese, and Graham Sable
It was magnificent, perfectly executed food. We left feeling happier than when we arrived and I still grin from ear-to-ear when talking about the experience. If I ever end up in Boston again, you can bet I will find my way back to Sportello
(And I as soon as I get my hands on fresh rhubarb I am going to try and replicate the marvelous compote which started our meal. Once I have it figured out, you’ll be the first to know!)
*All meals, drinks, tips, and other costs come out of our pockets. This is not a paid for or solicited post.*