Lauren is in Maine this week, so Graham stepped in and we headed into Boston to try Sportello on Congress Street near Fan Pier. This is a great spot to combine with a trip to the ICA (www.icaboston.org), or a Cirque du Soleil show at Fan Pier. Sportello is a fun and funky spot designed by Chef/Owner Barbara Lynch as an upscale lunch counter. It is a bustling place! The lunch counter dominates the restaurant, and although there are a few tables by the window, Sportello works best when you are with one other person as it’s hard to have a conversation with three or more people at a counter. We sat at the counter near the open kitchen: at times there is almost a hectic feeling to this place which can be fun if you are in the mood. The people watching is quite good because it is almost impossible to avoid looking at the diners across the way. My mother would love that aspect of this place (people-watching is her best sport)…but she’d hate the stools. I was immediately impressed by our waitress who really had her hands full. The host had seated too many people in her section at once, so while she was definitely behind, she handled it pretty well. One thing that I noticed about waitressing at a lunch counter is that you are always close enough to all of the customers for them to ask you for…more wine, another fork, a glass of water, whatever…it’s challenging especially when expectations are high.
About the food…
I started with the roasted asparagus, crostini, ricotta and fava beans – really delicious. When I think of Sportello, this is what I will remember. Graham had the summer soup with early summer vegetables, crab and lemon. This is a vibrant green color, very pretty, but Graham wasn’t wild about it. I think, when it comes to soup, Graham is really all about chowder, so we may have to discount his opinion. For an entrée, I had the summer fluke with bok choy, peas and lemon. Fluke is a light, white fish. I liked it a lot and I love bok choy. Graham had the risotto con frutti di mare – risotto with clams, mussels, calamari and lemon. He thought it was tasty and had room for the chocolate cherry cake which he described as good, but tiny. Ah well.Here’s a picture of the bakery counter from whence the cake came. It looks like they have some pretty scumptuous baked goods and they do sandwiches as well at lunchtime. I’m sure the folks who work and live around Sportello love this place. Expensive, but not over the top, funky and vibrant with good (but maybe not great) food. I would go back to Sportello again if I was in the neighborhood! Check out their menu at http://www.sportelloboston.com.