I'm a wine geek, always on the lookout for wines and grapes that are new. I saw this restaurant, named for a white wine grape from the Alto Adige region of Italy, one that I'd just discovered for the first time on a recent trip to Italy. The place was right behind my hotel, so I made time on last week's business trip to Boston to check it out. It turned into a truly memorable experience.
Décor is elegant and understated...this is all about the food (the "flowers" decorating the table was a rosemary plant). Menus change from week to week (to some degree from day to day), and there are daily specials. The wine list is extensive, fairly priced, with several unique options even by the glass. The gracious hostess (and, I believe, owner) Joan is very knowledgeable about wine and their holdings (there are several bottles not on the list if you inquire). We had a nice conversation about our mutual love.
Now, to the food: before anything, I was served an opening course of chunks of whole-grain bread and Tuscan white bred, with a lima bean paste. If that latter sounds awful, think again--this was cooked with garlic, and a stick of cinnamon, pureed finely and served with a good olive oil...it was subtle but really delicious.
Next up was a Treviso salad, with radicchio leaves alternating with green leaf lettuce, lemon zest, dill, and a mound of burrito with pistachio in the middle. This medley of flavors was blended perfectly and presented beautifully.
Then I had a plate of nicchi, a ravioli-like pasta but with a top ridge, like a sailboat, stuffed with braised pork and wild boar, coated with an asparagus pesto, walnuts, and a few sliced tiny red tomatoes, and shaved parmigiano. It was fascinating, every flavor in beautiful balance (that word again!), and in a lovely presentation. All this washed down with a bottle of Freisa from Piedmont, a mineral-laced red with a slight effervescence, perfect for the meal (and a new grape for me!). Another surprise at the end, I was given a small plate with a lovely chocolate truffle and a maple meringue.
Service could not be improved. My server was efficient, friendly, attentive (though I had to come at opening time, the place filled up quickly, and she was busy), and all the other staff performed like a well-oiled, albeit friendly, machine. Prices are not cheap, but for this quality, are quite fair.
I've only been in Boston once before, but this place alone will make the return visit worthwhile.
If you own or manage Erbaluce, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.