Chef Lou left Johnson & Wales University with a culinary degree, but another 20 years of education lay ahead of him. At the Federal Hill Club, the Sheraton Hotel at Bradley, and Frigo's, he honed his cooking chops and gained an appreciation for both European and Southwestern flavors. Then, in 2006, with his culinary tastes firmly established and his apron freshly embroidered with "Entrepreneur," he branched out on his own. The result is Abudanza.
Lou's passions come through in his menu selections. A great deal of weight is placed on Central Europe—Italian pastas sing with homemade marinara sauce or oversized meatballs while french-boned lamb chops nod to the traditions of the great Francophiles. But Lou also digs his heels into American soil, rolling out a selection of burgers and Angus steaks. There are even moments where the two continents blend together like an edible Pangea—the Snakebite Pasta, for instance, where jalapenos and cheddar combine into a parmesan alfredo sauce.
Abruzzo Restaurant satisfies cravings for Italian cuisine with a collection of classic dishes in a relaxed environment. Clams Casino, crisply dressed in bacon and breadcrumbs ($6.95), leads the menu's appetizer brigade, gaining footholds in hunger just long enough to lead dining denizens to pizza groves and pasta-grazing grounds. House specialties skew toward chicken and veal dishes, with the lightly egg-battered chicken francaise enjoying a bath of white wine, lemon juice, and butter sauce ($13.45), while the tomato- and mozzarella-topped veal and eggplant parmigiana establishes a middle ground to quiet ordering dilemmas ($16.95). Meal medleys such as honey-bourbon-glazed chicken and baked stuffed shrimp, accompanied by pasta or potato, seamlessly marry land and sea, prompting some diners to consider growing fins to live an underwater lifestyle ($16.95).
Using a wealth of fresh ingredients that includes choice cuts of beef, poultry, and seafood, The Villa Rose's culinary team whips up a menu of authentic, made-to-order Italian specialties. Items range from the chef’s italian chicken rolls and pan-seared scallops glazed with orange ginger sauce to shrimp and garlic linguine. Diners can choose from a hearty selection of of wines to wash down meals, which unfold in The Villa Rose's intimate dining room or a private room that accommodates receptions, weddings, and banquets of up to 175 guests.
The restaurant hosts events from live music to manicures courtesy of Accent Salon personnel. The lounge entices guests nightly with sports on high-definition flat-screen plasma televisions and lottery games such as the classic Buy This Numbered Card.
At Boston Bay Pizza, diners can devour loaded pizzas, grinders, and sandwiches while cozied up on leather chairs in front of a fireplace framed in modern tiling or while relaxing out on the neatly landscaped patio. But it's not all about looks: the shop's cheerful shade of red conceals “green” elements built in to conserve energy and water.
If diners don't want to create their own pizza from toppings such as sun-dried tomatoes and Genoa salami, they can pick from specialties such as a four-cheese pesto pie and a N.Y. deli pizza adorned with Italian-style deli meats. For further flexibility, the chefs can also make all of their paninis as wraps, all of their wraps as paninis, and all of their calzones as origami cranes. The surfeit of Italian eats is augmented by orders of buffalo wings, quesadillas, and salads.
“Lasci il buon rullo di periodi,” reads the inscription over the bar at Pinocchio’s Ristorante. The phrase translates to “let the good times roll,” advice addressed to wait staff and patrons alike in the gently lit and richly colored dining room. Past the long, curving bar, rust-colored walls glow around golden sconces, and the smell of fresh tomatoes and sautéing vegetables fills the air. Drawing on generations-old family recipes and experience accrued during 25 years in the business, chefs at Pinocchio’s Ristorante craft a menu of pastas, risottos, and veal. In the kitchen, they slice paper-thin cuts of prosciutto, stir pots of truffle and cognac-reduction sauce, roast garlic, and whittle spaghetti down into angel hair. The din of pots and pans drifts behind the bar, where a cadre of mixologists whip up margaritas and martinis, ranging from the raspberry margarita to martinis made with van Gogh espresso vodka.