Erbaluce: A dramatic dining experience

Waiter Felipe Flecha served dinner to Mary Hemmingsen, left, and Nikhath Akhtar, right, Tuesday at Erbaluce Restaurant in downtown Boston.

The doors have barely opened for the night, and diners have already crowded into Erbaluce. Not unusual for a restaurant in the theater district, where a hasty pre-play bite is the norm. But after quickly filling in, it doesn’t look like anyone is hurrying out  of this plain room, prettied up by lots of twinkling candles and crisp white linens.

Owner-chef Charles Draghi has re-created Italian cuisine as progressive and healthy as it is eco-conscious in the few years since he opened Erbaluce, named for a Northern Italian wine grape. The restaurant eschews dairy-rich cooking, mostly using vegetable oils and meat juices in savory dishes.?And it employs vegetable and fruit purees rather than starchy roux-based sauces — something like Anton Mosimann’s cuisine naturelle.

Meats are indeed natural, fish and produce local and everything else organic where possible. The menu, which changes each night, is clearly dictated by market produce: Peaches are paired with prosciutto as a first course and make a gorgeous dessert stuffed with mascarpone and marzipan, barely sweetened with honey and grilled. Peaches are also the base for  gelato flavored with mint flowers.

Bitter greens are cooked al dente and accompany a juicy bavette steak and the nasello, a locally caught hake that’s sweet and tender, and has a piquant sauce of pureed heirloom carrots.

The darkly colored iron-rich leaf is also mixed with a touch of ricotta to stuff pasta envelopes, which have a granular walnut pesto. Almond cream forms a base for a torte of wild blueberries flavored with juniper — a striking combination. It’s feel-good food that feeds the senses rather than dulls them.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Hillary Clinton headed to Boston for women's leadership…

Former U.S. Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is set to visit Massachusetts Wednesday amid continuing speculation about making another bid for the presidency in 2016.

Local

Boston Marathon: Marathoners ready to run, honor victims

Scores of runners will cross the Boston Marathon starting line in Hopkinton Monday and embark on a 26.2-mile journey to Boston in honor of the victims.

Local

MIT student, Rhodes scholar, dies

Eliana Hechter, a student at MIT and Harvard, died, her family said. The announcement was posted on MIT's website.

Local

Video: Car crashes into Cambridge store, man arrested…

A Cambridge man was arrested on gun and drug charges after crashing his car into a Massachusetts Avenue storefront early Saturday morning.

Television

‘Mad Men’ recap: Season 7, Episode 2, ‘A…

Peggy and Lou are horrible, Bert's racist, Don is honest(ish) and Roger and Pete are frustrated. "A Day's Work" not quite worthy of "This Will Be Our Year."

Television

'Game of Thrones' recap: Season 4, Episode 3,…

The problem with the devil you know is that ignoring them doesn’t mean they simply lie in wait. It allows them time to do things…

Television

Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox walk off with…

Red Sox pick up first walk off win of 2014

MLB

Red Sox and Orioles meet Monday morning at…

Red Sox and Orioles meet Monday morning at 11 a.m.

NHL

NHL video highlights: Bruins smack down Red Wings…

NHL video highlights: Bruins smack down Red Wings in Game 2

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox defeat Orioles, 4-2

Brock Holt the difference in the Red Sox' win

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.