Had an excellent evening at Beretta on Wednesday night. Things started off well even before I arrived: despite the crowd and my still-imminent arrival, Chris was seated and served a drink. No “is your whole party here?” – granted, I think most of the crowd was there for a drink at the bar, but I was still impressed.
Once I did arrive, I ordered the Beretta version of a Paloma – made with tequila, elderflower, cointreau, grapefruit and bitters. It was delicious – refreshing, with more of a bite than a traditional Paloma (grapefruit soda, tequila, salt). The bartenders (or “mixologists” as they apparently prefer to be called – whatevs…) really know how to make a drink – even if they are a bit showboat-y with the shakers…
The tables are packed quite close together – which turned out to be a good thing, as we chatted up our neighbors on either side (on the left about the food and cocktails; on the right about our server’s accent – was it South African or Kiwi? Fail! She’s from South Boston – which was quite apparent to me… But I digress). The service was leisurely – though I didn’t find it to be slow by any means. Chris and I enjoyed our cocktails as we mulled over the menu. Our server checked in a couple of times to answer questions (and kindly did not mock me when I asked what “pangrattato” was – it’s breadcrumbs, i.e. “grated bread” – d’oh! I need to sign up for that Italian class stat or we’re going to look like a couple of rubes in Rome this October).
We started off with broccolini with peperoncino and garlic (after being advised that they were out of cauliflower – boo!). Simple and rustic, a bit smoky – and the peperoncino packed quite a wallop of heat. Next up was peppers stuffed with pangrattato and some other stuff I forget. Sweet, spicy and savory all wrapped up in a tender roasted pepper.
As for our main course, I was very tempted by the Wednesday night special of Pork Saltimboca, but we decided on pizza with sausage and spring onion. A thin, crispy and chewy crust; the tomato sauce tasted a like a just-picked tomato – really fresh and simple. The sausage was zippy and delicious (they serve salumi from Boccalone, so I’m guessing that’s where the sausage is from). It really is amazing how the humblest combination of really fresh ingredients results in such a sensational pizza.
We had dessert, too. Chris had a peach sorbetto (which is apparently prepared to order) and I had a rum baba. Both were good – nothing too fancy, in keeping with the rest of the menu.
As for the experience, I loved it. Beretta was certainly lively – the crowd was probably a bit more Marina-ish than Mission-ish, but didn’t seem too douchebaggy (though I suspect this may not be the case on the weekends, but who knows?). Combined with the relaxed pace of the service, the close quarters and the simply prepared fare, it felt very European to me – always a good thing in my book.
And our server, Katherine, was as charming as can be. She recommended a couple of great wines by the glass for both of us (a nice Montepulciano for me, a lovely white for Chris – both served in small carafes, a new and appreciated twist on presentation); gave us some of the 4-1-1 on the restaurant; a brief autobiography when I quizzed her about where in Boston she was from; and was just genuinely nice – not to mention good at her job.
So, kudos to all at Beretta. We had a great meal and a great time – and we’ll be back soon.