Italian on the Square

grotto00011I had already finished the manuscript for the latest edition when Grotto, the Italian inspired wine bar opened on Shaker Square so you won’t see it in the book. But it’s definitely worth a visit, especially you enjoy pours of prosecco, Chianti Classico, or Barolo. This is a third dining venture for the Salerno family who also own Gusto in Little Italy and Lago in Tremont.
The Grotto wine list is extensive and reasonably priced, with reds and whites from North America, Europe, and Australia but with special emphasis on what comes from vineyards in Italy. You can pair up with a selection of small plates-veal wraps, ossobucco sliders, risotto balls, and bruschetta- or full size entrees of penne with broccoli rabe, linguine with clams, and Brunello braised short ribs. The polpette (meatballs) are unusually light and airy.  I was told the “secret” ingredient is bread soaked in milk, part of an old family recipe. I tried to duplicate them at home- but clearly still have much to learn.  Three of the four pizzas are named after chef and co-owner Fabio Salerno’s kids (he ran out of children befoe the kitchen ran out of ideas I guess)- the Sofia (olive oil, garlic, sea salt and fresh chiles), Dominic (ground meatballs, banana peppers, pickled jalapenos and fennel), and Gianni (tomato, bufala mozzarella, basil).  
This is a good choice if intimate conversation or late night lingering is on your agenda. Sit at the ba if you’re alone and you will likely soon have someone beside you who might enjoy exchanging tasting notes.
grotto0001_21A great deal of effort went into creating a space that has a traditional Old World feel. A soaring coffered ceiling, massive iron and glass chandeliers, columns, arches, and  a décor featuring lots of wood, stucco, and brick make it look as though it’s been there for close to a century. One modern touch is the glass walled wine “cellar” behind the bar. There are a few tables clustered near the fireplace in back but the warm weather spot of choice is on the sidewalk patio out front.


1 Comment

Filed under Restaurants, Updates & Changes

One response to “Italian on the Square

  1. Frank Jackson

    Great Food, Great Wine!

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