Boston >Restaurants >
69 Church St, Boston, MA | Directions 0211642.350162 -71.068450
Sun, Tue - Thu, 5pm - 10pm; Fri, Sat, 5pm - 11pm; Mon, closed
Neighborhoods: Bay Village, Central, Downtown
A hidden treat with unique eats – Erbaluce is like one of those bands that is beloved by critics but remains shamefully unrecognized by the mainstream. It has received numerous accolades and appears well-loved by "foodies," but doesn't seem to have "broken through" to broader appeal. Perhaps its the spare decor, or its somewhat hidden-away location on Church St. - overwhelmed by the nearby Legal Sea Foods, Smith & Wollensky, Avila, etc. - or its use of obscure, but not excessively exotic, ingredients that keeps it in the hidden gem column. This is a shame as I would describe Erbaluce's forte as making Italian food you didn't know existed, using ingredients you've never heard of, and making it all approachable and unpretentious.
Elegantly cozy Italian eatery glows as Theatre District gem. – Think you've exhausted every last Theatre District restaurant, from the fine-dining to the fast 'n' furious? Take the path less traveled one block into the charming Bay Village, where this Italian nook makes for a tasty refuge. Be charmed first by the hospitality of Joan Johnson, second by the quietly brilliant food of chef Charles "Chuck" Draghi. The partners of Erbaluce (its namesake referencing an Italian white-wine grape, or more literally "sunlit herbs") purvey a curated selection of Italian libations with the daily-changing menu of spectacular, seasonal dishes (like spaghi pasta with local clams or boar sauced with wild Concord grape and lavender). Perch casually at the front-facing enoteca or dine more formally into the main space, with a full view of the kitchen.
Good With Great Potential – Erbaluce has great potential. However somethings need to be ironed out -first would be the chilling greeting at the hostess stand. Thankfully that encounter was compensated for by a wait-staff that was warm, attentive, informative and well versed in the menu. The food was good - the salad was a little too dressed for my liking, which was surprising since this is a northern Italian restaurant - an area that tends to be rather skimpy on sauces and dressings, preferring to allow the flavors of the foods like pasta or lettuce only to be complemented by the sauces -not drowned out by them. But the lettuces were crisp and fresh. The risotto - another Northern Italian specialty was also a disappointment. It was not Arborio rice but a longer grain that did not yield the creamy texture risotto is known for. The risotto also did not need the chunks of squash, which were a little too al dente but overall the flavor was there. The main courses faired better - the wild boar was excellent as was the roast veal - the only thing was they were served warm - not hot which would have been preferred. The wine selection was very good with wines at all price points. Like fine wines, Erbaluce needs to get its legs but once it does it could become a very good neighborhood gem.
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