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A Little Bit About a Lot of Things

A lifestyle blog with a focus on my food adventures

Sportello is another one of those places that has been on my list for quite some time. My birthday was coming up..and what better way to spend it than with good friends at a Barbara Lynch restaurant. The night was cold and rainy-thank goodness for the valet out front ($16).  Note that Menton, Barbara Lynch’s newest venture, that offers a four course pix fixe menu or a seven course tasting menu, is next door. After dropping off the car, you walk up the stairs to the restaurant-I hang my coat and umbrella on the hooks at the front near the door. Sportello is Barbara Lynch’s take on the modern upscale diner. You walk into a bright room with large windows looking out on to the street. There is a huge counter that snakes around the room with stools-that’s about as close to a ‘diner’ as this place gets.

The bread is baked in house-and we manage to score some right out of the oven. It comes served with whipped ricotta with fig jam-the taste is so light and dainty-with just enough sweetness from the figs. Our waitress comes over to greet us an take our order. She tells us that she is out of the burrata (total bummer) and proceeds to tell us some of her favorite things on the menu.

The atmosphere here is quite casual-waiters are dressed in sportello t-shirts and jeans, some sporting piercings or tattoo sleeves. The kitchen is open, so you can see the chefs preparing your meal. This place, while minimalist in decor, gets its personality from the people who work here. The people seated at the counter near us are a young couple on a first date, businessmen having a late supper after work, a French couple experiencing the city for the first time, and some sharply dressed working professionals.

We order the heirloom tomato salad (2 of them, $12 each) with herb salad, pistachio and white balsamic vinegar  and the cauliflower soup ($12) with basil., shrimp and broccoli. The heirloom salads come, and really one is enough for 2. Brightly colored red and green tomatoes at the peak of their ripeness are nicely paired with the crunch from the nuts. We take it upon ourselves to mix in some of the ricotta spread-yum! The soup is a clear broth with nice florets of cauliflower and broccoli-which caught me a little off guard because I was expecting a creamier soup with pureed vegetables.

Next, we order 2 bolognese entrees ($22) served with tagliatelle and fried basil, a prime beef sirloin ($25) with cippolini and potato salsa verde, and a mackerel ($22) served with fregula, fresh corn and golden raisins. The bolognese (see below-the leftovers) comes heaped in a bowl, twisted into a beehive shape. I love that the pasta isn’t overwhelmed by sauce, there’s just enough to coat the pasta. The meat has such a wonderful flavor to it-I would say the top 5 bolognese entrees that I’ve had in a long time. The beef comes cut into a few pieces, and not there isn’t as much meat as I thought there was going to be, but it is moist and tender-and ends up being just enough. The mackerel is reported to be tasty-and the corn and fregula garnish is so tasty-there is a balanced acidity in the dish-it’s quite enjoyable.

We move on to dessert. While we eye the retail case, we are all unimpressed by what we see. Maybe because it’s getting to the 10 o’clock hour, but the cupcakes don’t look all that moist-they look dry and cracked. They have some cookies that look good and a peanut butter bar that appeals to us. We order two ice cream sandwiches off the menu ($5) and a fig and cream dessert ($8) that is black mission figs with mascarpone cheese served with pistachios.

I apologize for the blurriness of the picture of the ice cream sandwich, but you get the idea. The chocolate gelato is very good, although it seems to be melting at a fast pace. The cookies are chocolate with a hint of salt on top to bring out the sweetness of the chocolate. The cookie are just the right thickness and they are just the right consistency-firm enough to hold the sandwich together, yet soft enough to easily bite through. The bill  comes, about $170 for 4 people-like I said earlier, the counters are about the only thing ‘diner’ about this place. So while you are eating at a counter and sitting on stools with no back, you’re paying a nice sit down dinner price. That being said, it was totally worth it and I am looking forward to going back again and trying the burrata.


348 Congress Street Boston MA

hours: lunch: 11:30a – 4:30p mon – fri; dinner: 4:30p – 10:00p sun-thurs, 4:30p – 11:00p fri & sat; brunch: 10:30a – 4:30p sat & sun; bakery & retail: 7:00a – 7:00p mon – fri, 10:30a – 7:00p sat & sun

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