Where to Tuscan Kitchen Seaport, the latest outpost of restaurateur Joe Faro’s Italian empire. (There are also branches in Burlington and New Hampshire.)
What for Civilized business lunches and festive post-work gatherings over handmade mozzarella and pasta.
The scene Tuscan Kitchen is decidedly New Seaport, part of a development encompassing residential towers, other restaurants, retailers such as lululemon and L.L. Bean, and a movie theater. It’s easy to picture a modern-day Eloise turning up at the gelato bar for her regular order. The restaurant is large — 14,000 square feet with 300 seats — and kitted out in tasteful neutrals: tan tiles, beige chairs with brass tacks, white tablecloths. Decorated for the holidays in russets and golds, the room is warm and glowing, wreaths on the walls and garlands on the mantel over the fireplace. There’s an open kitchen, a wine bar, the aforementioned gelato bar with pastry counter. Midday calls for long, wine-fueled lunches; at the tables and tucked into the curved booths are a guy who looks like a banker but with the mustache of a Greek sailor, a mother and daughter, a Gail Simmons lookalike, and a table of red-faced gents finishing a bottle of wine. One turns it upside down to shake out the last drops. A server grates cheese tableside for a man in a black beret, and a woman spots some people she knows and does a happy little jig.
What you’re eating A solid, appealing Italian array: meatballs and shrimp scampi, prosciutto and hand-stretched mozzarella, tagliatelle with Parmesan and truffles and duck pansoti with sage brown butter, pollo al mattone and grilled salmon with braised artichokes, steaks and chops, cannoli and tiramisu, sorbet and gelato in various flavors.
Care for a drink? There are Italian-esque cocktails, from the Aperol spritz to the Tuscan tini (it includes limoncello), as well as an almost entirely Italian wine list. Some higher-end selections are available by the glass, thanks to a Cruvinet dispensing system. And then there’s the pricey, big-name “riserva della casa” list, for those clients you really need to impress.
Overheard Conversations about favorite childhood movies, mozzarella making, and the merits of dining alone. “I wish I were braver about that,” a server says to a woman sipping a sparkler solo by the window. “It can be awkward,” the woman says. “But it’s also awesome.” “Now the handcuffs are off,” opines a gentleman wearing an old-school wristwatch. “You’re asking me that question? We both have issues,” says one diner to another, dipping bread in olive oil. A man stands to look forlornly at the food stain newly adorning his plaid shirt. “I can’t even see it,” his companion says, then bursts out laughing.
64 Seaport Boulevard, Seaport District, Boston, 617-303-7300, www.tuscanbrands.comDevra First can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @devrafirst.