Trying to keep an open mind on eating and drinking in Boston, eager to avoid pegging myself as a fuddy-duddy who only goes to the same old haunts, I found myself at Drink and Sportello last night, pre-gaming it before walking to the Garden to witness The Truth.
Both establishments-Drink and Sportello–are Barbara Lynch enterprises. Drink is in the cellar and Sportello is just above street level.
Next door is Lynch’s latest: Menton, where dinner costs a minimum of $400 per couple. Why, that’s more than 99% of the restaurants in NYC, Boston, SF, Napa, & L.A.
Anyhow, Drink is tres hip, from the cartoon ‘tooed gal at the entrance who looked like she popped out of a panel, to the delicious $2 cheese puffs to the very hip crowd to the tiny $10.75 drinks. I would love to see a chain of these, a franchise, and so, no doubt, would Lynch. It’s not formulaic, just hip, urban, pleasant, and good.
Upstairs, we have Sportello: A brightly lit venue that looks like a diner. Counter service, long tables, and laminated menus. Good portion sizes: Nothing humongous, well-plated, not too fussy. A starter of greens, asparagus, and a poached egg was pretty good although the egg was hard boiled rather than soft; hard to believe it, but they screwed up an egg in the kitchen. Other starters of beets, brodo, and raw tuna were nice. Just nice. Nothing special and bland. Main dishes included a delicious tagliatelle with Bolognese–accurate, but unimpressive. Meaning that it was without depth. The surface told it all.
Which is pretty much what the place is like: Flat, like a cartoon, not three-dimensional. And certainly not specific to the chef. By which I mean there was a generic, paint by numbers quality about the food: It tasted correct, but there was little flavor that struck a chord or is likely to create a memory.