With the ever-present threat of finals looming ominously over our heads, my roommate Ana and I decide to counteract the negativity by treating ourselves to a night out in Boston. We began to scour the internet for fine-dining in the city and eventually settled on Sportello, an Italian restaurant located in the Fort Point district.
The restaurant is about a 20-minute car ride away or a straight shot on the Red Line to South Station, followed by a 10-minute walk. The Boston skyline glimmers behind the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum. We admire the cityscape before entering Sportello, a modern and tiny eatery. Sportello is Italian for “counter service,” and the restaurant appropriately features a gleaming white counter that snakes around the small restaurant and the open kitchen space. The rest of the seating consists of small white tables. The space is very minute, yet the white décor gives it the feeling of openness. The restaurant is owned by Barbara Lynch, the famous Boston restaurateur responsible for Menton and B&G Oysters. Due to the quality of the food and the famous name associated with the restaurant, the prices are admittedly high, with pastas ranging from $26 to $29. Despite the high cost, the space feels extremely relaxed and unpretentious.
The only reservation we can get is for six p.m. and because of the early hour, there are few people in the restaurant. The waitress is friendly and provides detailed descriptions of the various pastas. We start with the Pane Italiano ($6), and Ana chooses the Potato Gnocchi ($29) while I get the Bigoli pasta ($26).
The pane comes with three different breads, each fresher than the last. Due to the emptiness of the restaurant, our food comes within minutes. Ana’s gnocchi includes lobster, mushroom ragu and peas. Ana says that the dish wasn’t too fishy and provided the perfect balance of flavors. She appreciated that the plate was creamy but not overly rich. My Bigoli pasta includes fresh and dried peppers, pecorino and garlic. The spaghetti-like noodles sit in a cheese sauce that has the perfect balance of sweet and spicy peppers. The dish packs intense flavor without being overpoweringly fiery. We both felt that the entrees were the ideal portion sizes. We were left satisfied but did not experience the unwelcome feeling of fullness.
The menu boasts that the pastas are made fresh in-store daily, and this really shows in the quality of the food. There are other options such as meat and fish entrees and soups and salads; however, I feel that the appeal of Sportello is its pasta dishes. Though it was not a cheap meal, it was rich in flavor and quality. Sportello is a good option for a date night or a way to splurge when you want superior Italian food.