I am on the Bolt bus on the way from New York City, "if I am going to build restaurant for just under a million dollars, I need to watch every penny." It only cost $28 round trip and they have nice seats with plenty of leg room and free wifi. That's less than a cab to an overpriced "average" restaurant in the Back Bay.
The purpose of my trip was to research Italian food, beer and wine from some of the new hip and sucessful Italian concepts. I also visited the legendary Grammery Tavern for some local Island Creek Oysters and a couple of half glasses of wine. I tasted a unique white from Hungry call Tokjai Sec I really enjoyed and will try and import it to the Bistro.
The first Italian restaurant I visited was Celebraty Chef Mario Batali's Otto. Like all Celebraty Chefs, it's his in name only and he probably stops by once a month. Even the "want to be" celebraty chefs of Boston don't own their restaurants. Most of them own between 10 to 50%.
But anyways, I heard good things about Otto from a local sucessful chef and I took my cousin and two friends out for dinner. The wine list is all Itallian and 500 bottles deep. We each tried a different varietal to start and then I split a nice bottle of Barolo with my cousin Janelle.
She is lives in Brooklyn and is shoe designer that travels often to Europe and China. She also generously designed my "Nerves of Steel" logo for my foundation I set up to benefit Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. I will be taking her up on her offer to design the Positano logo.
For starters we ordered a Spinach Salad with Truffle Honey Vinaigrette. The vinaigrette was great and gave me some ideas for future uses. We go through truffle oil by the gallon at the Bistro and wish I could buy it by the barrel as opposed to those 8 once bottles.
I love creative side vegetable dishes and we tried the Caponatina "sweet and sour eggplant," English Peas and Prosciutto and Broccali Rabe with Ricotta Salata. They were all delicious. I would of just chopped up the Prosciutto rather than toss a few a slices on top of crunchy peas.
For entrees, one friend ordered a gluten-free Chicken Broccalli Pasta dish. "They charged $2 extra for gluten-free." The other friend ordered her Sausage Pasta dish with the yummy gluten and saved me $2.
The pasta wasn't homemade and the plates were not big, but a great value at $10. "Try finding that in the North End!" The other two of us had pizzas with homemade pepperoni and buffalo mozzarella. I usually don't care for pepperoni, but their's was good and had a nice kick to it.
We finished with a Banana Tartufo. "I'm a weirdo and don't like bananas," but my three dining companions loved it. I mostly devoured the creamy vanilla gelato they called an "Affogato."
Positano will be making our own gelato, that's for sure. We finished the night at a Boston Sports bar to watch the thrilling Celtic game. This place was like Ironsides on steroids. The win topped off a great first night of my "research trip."