Erbaluce, Theater District, Boston

Erbaluce is hidden on Church Street, right across the street from Fleming’s and the Boston Park Plaza. Chef Draghi, who is a seasoned, well-respected chef in Boston, focuses on local, seasonal ingredients and rotates his menu daily. Erbaluce focuses on cuisine influenced from the Piemont, region of Italy (see featured recipes).

The restaurant has two floors, the main street level dining room and bar area, which feels as if one is in someone’s spacious home. The warm, dimly lit lights and simple design is quite cozy.

The upstairs is also equipped with a bar area and is perfect for a private function. Previously, I attended a baby shower in the upstairs area and it was spacious and the spread of salumi and appetizers were delicious.

All the staff were super friendly and thoughtful and we were placed in a seat in the back dining room to see Chef Charles Draghi and his team execute in the kitchen.

The square of bread with the smooth white bean with olive oil was luscious. Initially, we were convinced the creamy mixture was ricotta. Before our dishes arrived, we had wiped the plate clean.

The semi-clandestine restaurant has a lovely selection of traditional Italian wines presented by knowledgeable staff. Our server Peter, was an expert of Erbaluce’s dishes and suggested appropriate wines after we described the flavor profiles we enjoyed. He was one of the most informed servers we have ever encountered. He was deeply informed about the wine regions and notes. His relaxed nature was fantastic and throughout the evening, we felt we were in great hands. We loved the 2010 Santa Tresa “Purato”, an organic wine from Sicilia.

I started with the veal and pork meatballs with spicy sauce. The meatballs were super tender, flavorful and some of the best meatballs I have eaten in a long time. The additional light kick from the sauce was delicious and I used some of the Italian bread to sop up the remainder of the spicy, amazing sauce.

My other favorite dish of the evening was the cauliflower and brussel sprouts with melted tallegio cheese, capers and raisins. The tallegio in the appetizer was described to us as “sexy” and suprisingly it was. The brilliant combination of the smooth cheese with tangy capers and sweet raisins with the vegetables was unbelievable. I would order this again.

The wild boar ragout, tangy cheese and capatelli was a great combination. It was hearty and satisfying. The pencil shaped pasta had a chewy texture, which went well with the soft ragout.

The spiced and braised pork cheeks and very sweet pumpkin mostarda, covered with pink peppercorns were delicious together, but not my favorite dish. The cheeks were super tender and there were areas that were smooth and fatty. The pumpkin was hyper sweet on it’s own, but once combined with the pork cheeks, the ingredients in the dish just worked well together.

We enjoyed milky, honey panna cotta with spiced plums and walnuts. The drizzle of honey over the gelatinous panna cotta was a great combination. The espresso was one of the best espressos we have had in a while. It was strong, clean and lightly sweet from a packet of Sugar in the Raw.

The rustic honey panna cotta was light, simple and a tasty end to our meal, however the panna cotta from Mistral was much more unique and more complex.

The rose-water infused chocolate truffles were pressed down like rose petals. I loved thin texture on the edges and the cocoa dusted exterior. These were lovely and Erbaluce should always serve these. The marzipan and fruit covered in sesame was exceptionally unique and a pleasure to bite into. The sesame and almond nuttiness and sweetness from the fruit was perfection.

We would be happy to return to Erbaluce and taste other items on the incessantly changing menu. We would definitely try two dishes, the rack of wild boar, with a wild concord grape mosto, lightly fermented with fresh lavender branches and fettucini with roasted beats, sage and smoked prosciutto.

Erbaluce on Urbanspoon

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