Where to: Doretta Taverna & Raw Bar. It’s the latest from chef Michael Schlow, replacing his Italian restaurant, Via Matta.
What for: Greek-inspired cuisine and power imbibing on Park Plaza.
The scene: Boldface names; dim lights. Everyone looks like someone. Mitt Romney — or his stunt double — holds court at one corner of the bar. Linguini-legged blondes pick at raw fish and hook enormous purses to the backs of their chairs. The world’s happiest bartender banters vivaciously with each fresh arrival. (Note to Schlow: Give this man a raise.) Silver foxes in perfectly cut suits enjoy themselves at a corner table until one spills, and his companion awkwardly mops his trousers. Schlow himself strides to and fro in chef’s whites, while his wife, Adrienne, greets guests at the host stand. There are comfy gold benches in one corner of the dining room, an anxious-texting purgatory.
What you’re eating: Maybe a little; maybe a lot. The menu is split into categories: raw bar, homemade spreads, small plates, fish, meat, and sides. Small plates are big. Roasted red peppers with capers, red onions, and white anchovies ($11) are pungent and tangy (though perhaps a risky date choice); crispy zucchini chips with cucumber yogurt ($12) put Lays to shame. There is a raw bar against one wall of the restaurant, whence arrive yellowtail with crushed green olives ($14) and salmon with Greek yogurt ($12). Spreads ($5 and up) come with flatbread and are good for sharing. Larger groups might opt for a 15-hour lamb shoulder ($28 per person) or branzino ($32 per person), or fresh red shrimp ($34 per person; pictured).
Care for a drink?:There’s a healthy list of classic cocktails like Negronis and Manhattans, plus Doretta house specials ($12 and up). Medusa’s Locks, a green goblet of gin with cucumber-jalapeno syrup, agave, and lemon, is dangerously drinkable and spicy too. The wine list has several Greek selections.
Overheard: Commentary on calamari, praise for poultry, drunken directives. “How’s your day been so far?” asks that chummy bartender. “OK, once I’ve had more drinks,” replies his guest. “Me too! You drink now; I will drink later!” he promises, winking. “I love the texture of calamari,” a lass purrs coquettishly to her mate. “You must skip lunch next time to save room for our tender braised chicken,” a waiter twinkles. “It’s your birthday! Get what you want! It’s your birthday!” someone hollers above the din.
79 Park Plaza, Boston, 617-422-0008, www.dorettaboston.com
Kara Baskin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.