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Italian-influenced seasonal cuisine from chef Giuseppe Scurato, formerly of Boka.

Our Review

Chef-owner Giuseppe Scurato (Boka, MK, Topaz Cafe), who prowls the dining room taking comments on his unclassifiable menu, animates the places with a gruff but welcoming warmth. There's a lot to compliment him on when he comes around, from a tensile but flavorful tangle of octopus with puttanesca sauce and tart preserved lemon to a cold veal tongue and white bean salad perked up with celery, pickled carrot, and pink peppercorn to a simple country paté with pickled fruit mostarda (which also shows up to brilliant effect in the house old-fashioned, the standout on a short list of ill-conceived cocktails). Not surprisingly, Scurato's most winning dishes are the ones that reference his Italian heritage. (He's a native of Sicily.) His house-made strozzapreti with wild boar ragu has the kind of toothy textural mojo passed down by generations of nonnas; his pillowy gnocchi with rabbit confit sauce is dressed in a thin arugula pesto that had my table gobsmacked; and an Acquarello aged-rice pudding accented with crunchy puffed rice brittle makes playful but respectful use of esoteric ingredients. Some of the simple, not overtly Italian dishes were successful too: a tender dino-size lamb shank with horseradish mash nicely bridged the gulf between Mediterranean and midwestern. But a rangy venison ragu atop an overly sweet, almost breakfast-appropriate craisin-studded polenta was a surprising disappointment, and a piece of whitefish in a wide bowl of rapidly cooling New England clam chowder offered nothing more interesting than the dueling flavors of bacon and cream. Still, as unfocused as it is, there's a lot to love on this menu. I just want more of the Italian stuff—and to wash it down, more of the uncommon but brassy southern Italian reds that highlight Scurato's long and approachably priced wine list.

Mike Sula

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Price: $$$
Payment Type: MasterCard, Visa, AmEx, Discover

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4.2 out of 5

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