Where to MIDA Newton.
Why For pizza and pasta from Douglass Williams, in a larger space than his South End original. In 2020, he was named one of the 10 Best New Chefs in America by Food & Wine and a James Beard: Best Chef Northeast semifinalist.
The backstory MIDA opened on June 1 with 100 indoor seats, plus a 40-seat patio. The setting is comfy suburban: It’s on the bottom floor of the Trio Newton mixed-use development.
“This allows us to have a bigger party. It’s double the size,” Williams says. On a recent weekend visit, the indoor dining room was packed and loud; the patio was dotted with families dining beneath umbrellas (and amiable servers trying to make the best of occasional drizzle).
Williams will expand again soon, this time to Hub Hall near TD Garden, with Apizza, a New Haven-style pizzeria.
What to eat: Definitely the bucatini all’amatriciana ($24) with guanciale, or pork jowl. It’s rich, savory, sweet, sugary, sublime — cured in an elixir of allspice, bay leaves, black pepper, salt, and sugar.
“The main components — bay leaf, pepper, allspice — give it a very unique profile and more depth. Allspice is already intriguing, and bay leaf? We know, but we don’t know, what it tastes like. You’re not able to put your finger on it,” Williams says.
The jowl is crisped in its own (ample) fat, which is then reserved and used to infuse a lusciously lardaceous crushed tomato sauce. Sturdy, rigid house-extruded bucatini is “my favorite shape of pasta, because it’s double the noodle,” he says, and makes a worthy vessel.
Pizza is New Haven-style: chewy, charred, sooty.
“When [business partner Seth Gerber] introduced me to New Haven-style pizza, there were hearts going around my face like a cartoon. I was lovestruck,” Williams says. “It’s a little greasy, but not too much. A little cheese, but not too much.”
Also on the menu: Sicilian mussels in a golden bath of garbanzo bean pesto and roasted tomatoes; arancini (more tasty tomato sauce, please); short-rib lasagna; eggplant Parmesan.
What to drink Negronis, tequila with lime and grenadine, Peroni.
The takeaway A block or two of the South End in the suburbs.
MIDA Newton, 261 Walnut St., Newton, 617-546-8010, www.midarestaurant.com