Appetito's sleek, modern interior, with its burnished wood bar and polished windows, is indicative of the contemporary sensibilities with which its kitchen interprets classic Italian fare. Handmade pastas, fresh herbs, and seasonal heirloom vegetables furnish brunch, lunch, and dinner menus. On weekends, diners can sit down to a hearty brunch dish such as the challah french toast, which oozes with strawberries and rum-splashed bananas. During the week, the dining room hums with energy generated by tables chatting amicably and digging into five styles of focaccia paninis or savory pasta dishes, such as gnocchi polloi with mascarpone.
Executive chef Dante Bellucci fills Tartufo's dinner menu with all-natural and organic meats, fish, and vegetables to create Abruzzese recipes drawn from his childhood in Pescara, Italy. Twosomes kick off tableside tours of regional eats with starters such as minestrone soup or arugula salad polka-dotted with goat cheese and roasted red peppers. A shared appetizer tasks dining duos with dismantling a tower of tuna-tartar avocado or unsheathing forks to slice through the eggplant rollettini's labyrinth of ricotta, spinach, and tomato-basil sauce. Main courses entangle taste buds with a selection of 20 pasta entrees bolstered by seafood specialties such as the arrosto di pesce, a potpourri of grilled calamari, scallops, shrimp, and a half lobster. The grilled colorado baby rack of lamb is kissed by flames and swathed in rosemary and extra-virgin olive oil. A choice of dessert quiets diners standing beside tables applauding in hope of an encore with tiramisu or house-made cannoli stuffed with fresh ricotta.
Newton native Jonathan Glick is the creative mind behind Jonathan's Bar & Grille. He designed the menu and the physical space to be both upscale and welcoming. To that end, Jonathan juxtaposes unassuming foods such as chicken, beef, and lobster sliders with higher-end dishes such as a hand-cut Angus sirloin steak with crispy Yukon potatoes and housemade steak sauce. Brunch, lunch, and dinner plates pair nicely with cocktails. An example is the Hot & Dirty martini, which owes its heat to pepperoncini juice, Tabasco sauce, and blue cheese-stuffed olives carved into the shape of whomever is on the cover of People. Jonathan's also serves a fine selection of wines by the glass or bottle and bottled and tap beers.
Circular, red lampshades overhead and a metallic-bead room divider give the space an elegant, modern feel, the centerpiece being a large, four-sided social bar with several high-definition TVs. Live entertainment occasionally resounds throughout low-lit, high-ceilinged interior.
According to a review in the Boston Phoenix, Hedy Jarras opened her own Sweet Tomatoes Pizza after a summer stint working in Cape Cod for Sweet Tomatoes founder Christopher Owens. She became so enamored with the atmosphere and the food that she convinced Owens to allow her to open her own location in her hometown.
Sweet Tomatoes Pizza's recipe forgoes the traditional red sauce in favor of chunky, uncooked tomatoes. Its ingredients create an “unapologetically pungent” pie that can be adorned with more than 31 toppings, including goat cheese, capers, and kalamata olives, and the crust combines a strong backbone of oil-free dough with “the merest hint of flavorful char.” Specialty pizzas such as the Pesto Splash attracts both the olfactory and ocular systems with a thick layer of pesto and chopped fresh garlic. Accompanying the pizzas, tuna-salad, chicken-parmesan, and prosciutto di parma sandwiches round out the Italian-focused menu.