Erbaluce, Your New Date-Night Spot

Erbaluce has been open about a year now. It drew a bunch of mixed reviews at first, but has since settled into greatness. The menu is Italian, but not red-sauce. Chef Charles Draghi, formerly of Marcuccio's in the North End, focuses on Piemontese cuisine: low on the butter and cream, heavy on the nutmeg and citrus. The all-Italian wine list is impressive, the meats and vegetables are locally sourced, and Draghi is a near-constant presence: in the kitchen every night, and out visiting at customer's tables. The atmosphere is a bit white-tablecloth-y for some, but the bar is cozy and relaxing, and no one will frown at you if you show up in jeans.

What to order:

• Wild boar, a "signature dish, always on the menu," Draghi told MC Slim JB. "The sauce varies with the seasonal availabilty of produce: A couple of months ago, it was a mosto based on fresh black grapes."
• Sicilian-style octopus.
• Roasted rabbit.
• Sardines: "When you see these guys fresh, do not hesitate and order them," says yumyum.
• Razor clams, with a citrusy green peppercorn broth: "I could have tipped the bowl up and just guzzled this nectar," says yumyum. "Razor clams had been delivered that morning by the Island Creek oyster guys."

The menu changes daily, since what's local and fresh also shifts frequently. "Seriously guys, this is one place, like my beloved Estragon, that should be packed to the gills every night of the week," says yumyum.

Erbaluce [Bay Village/South Cove]
69 Church Street, Boston
617-426-6969

Discuss: Is erbaluce too fancy?

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