Friday, January 1, 2010

Sportello vs Grezzo

After a lunch at the one raw/vegan restaurant in town (see previous post), it seemed only right to try a place that does not have such stringent cooking restrictions. I had a chance to visit Sportello, one of Barbara Lynch's creations. Remarkably enough, a highly recommended dish on the Sportello menu is very similar (sounding) to the "gnocchi" I had at Grezzo. Here is my direct comparison of the two dishes:

1. Grezzo's home-made "gnocchi." So long as you are not expecting these to taste like anything too familiar, they are quite good. The nut paste "gnocchi" were soft and a little bit gooey in texture and tasted like creamy nuts and sesame. The "rawmesan" sauce made with coconut milk was creamy and cool (food at Grezzo is not heated above 112 degrees), and the very crisp English peas and pea shoots were a good counterpart to the creaminess of the sauce and the soft texture of the "gnocchi". Because this dish lacks just about any kind of starch, I ended up feeling full but not quite satisfied.

2. Sportello's potato gnocchi with porcini, peas and cream. This was heaven in a bowl. The gnocchi were light, perfectly shaped dumplings with a bit of chew, the peas were fresh, crisp and delicious in the creamy, yet surprisingly light cream sauce drizzled with a bit of truffle oil and sprinkled with teeny bits of sliced chives. The food was served steaming hot in a warmed shallow bowl. If I had not just eaten a large basket of bread with whipped ricotta I would have snarfed this up even quicker than I did.

On it's own, Grezzo is certainly a worthwhile foodie experience (but only for the open-minded). Sportello, on the other hand, is much more accessible - especially for anyone who appreciates freshly made pasta. Given the choice, I would almost always choose the Sportello gnocchi dish over the one at Grezzo, but mainly because during the winter I like my food steaming hot and starch-laden. Maybe in the dead of summer I would make an alternative choice, but I doubt it.


348 Congress Street
Boston, MA 02210-1236
(617) 737-1234

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