Rigoletto Ristorante has opened in the North End (115 Salem St. at Parmenter Street). Manager Alex Garcia says the restaurant spotlights organic food and wine, with a focus on naturally raised meats and seafood from chef Alex Herrera. Rigoletto serves dinner nightly; look for lunch in the next two weeks. It takes over the former Sapoli di Napoli gelato shop.
Across town in the South End, the Aquitaine Group — known for neighborhood standbys like Roman trattoria Cinquecento and Gaslight Brasserie — will open La Motta’s Italian Specialties in the old Union Bar & Grille space (1357 Washington St. at Waltham Street) late this summer. They’re calling it an homage to mid-20th-century Italian-American cooking, highlighting familiar dishes like chicken Parmesan, lasagna, baked clams, and Bronx-style thin-crust pizza. Importantly, there will be a 30-seat patio.
It always took plenty of gold to eat at Barbara Lynch’s swanky Menton in Fort Point (354 Congress St. at Thomson Place), and now the restaurant has its own Gold Bar. The 16-seat space — Menton’s first bar — is a tad more casual than its sister dining room. On the menu: truffled butter brioche ($12), heirloom tomato salad ($15), and a foie gras frankfurter with cashew and cherry ketchup ($21). Well-regarded mixologist John Gertsen, who opened Lynch’s nearby bar, Drink, designed the cocktail menu.
One reader recently reached out to me wondering what had become of his favorite Italian restaurant in Watertown, Grappa (71 Elm St. at Monroe Avenue), which appeared to close suddenly. I contacted owner Shelley Matarazzo, who says she sold the business at the end of May. She reports that a second branch of Watertown vegan-vegetarian spot Red Lentil will take Grappa’s place, and she hopes to find a new space for private events in the future. “I’m very flattered someone asked!” she says. The original Red Lentil space (600 Mt. Auburn St. at Elton Avenue) is closed for renovations and will reopen in late July.