SRV [South End, Boston, MA]

Denise, that all sounds fabulous, so glad you enjoyed it so much! I am overdue for another visit.

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@bcc, I think yours is a thoughtful observation. I was lucky enough to attend a wedding celebration at the fabulous Del Posto in NYC and felt a kinship with the sensibility at SRV. The deft hand with the pastas, particularly. So I should not have been surprised as SRV’s marquee chefs both did turns at Del Posto. When I think of Del Posto, I do think more of modern dishes informed by classic preparations and flavors rather than a special something that’s hard to capture outside of a region of Italy where a given dish originates.

Of our Italian travels we have only been to Venice once, ages ago, and stuck mostly to seafood. All this is a long way of saying that I totally get your point and it’s worth noting. :grinning:

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I have been back to SRV several times without posting because in each case, with various different friends, we had the Arsenale which remains great value at the high end at $45 and which every person I ever share it with really loves. However last night I went on my own, sat at the bar and had a delightful time choosing off the menu. I started with several cichetti – the quail eggs, the baccala on dark bread, the polpetti, the duck liver mousse on toasted dark bread and the Spanish mackeral which was served as a crudo on shatteringly thin crispy wafers of polenta. All were delicious although the mackeral crudo had a bit too much ground black pepper and citrus acidity for my taste. The quail eggs and baccala were my favorites. I then moved on to the Artichoke in Pinzimonio salad which mixed cooked and shaved raw artichokes with a perfectly balanced dressing and some rough croutons make from their wonderful house bread. I finished with the Lamb Neck al latte, which featured 3 cubes of boneless lamb neck with the fat gorgeously crisped, a small and delicious green garlic-potato kugel, and various vegetal elements – it was amazing! My experience was greatly enhanced by the skilled, knowledgeable and altogether delightful bartender, Marsha (sp?). Her wine pairings were spot on and it was a pleasure and an education watching her make cocktails and listening to her discuss the menu with my fellow bar-sitters. Another great night at SRV and one which confirmed that their food is right in my sweet spot.

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Thrilled to hear that SRV continues to knock it out of the park.

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We ate at SRV once with friends, and we all liked everything we ate. But it didn’t seem even remotely Venetian.

Agree but I don’t think they are trying to be Venetian, just to pay homage to that tradition. I can’t think of anywhere else in the area with cichetti, for example, and I love that you get just a couple of bites and then on to a different couple of bites.

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Yeah, anyone I take to SRV invariably becomes a regular afterward. Great food and I still feel a very good value relative to other comparable places.

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La Morra also has a cichetti part of the menu (and overall is an excellent restaurant)

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Oh, I haven’t been to La Morra in forever! It was a happy place for us when it first opened. Hope it’s still wonderful.

Lucky me, I got back to SRV last night with 3 colleagues here on yet another client visit – meaning expense account dinner. (!!!) The Arsenale tasting menu was as fabulous as ever and repeated only one item from when one of those colleagues and I last enjoyed it 2 or 3 months ago. As always it began with 4 chichetti: scallop crudo for my 3 DCs and quail egg for me due to my shellfish allergy. They proclaimed the crudo fabulous; the quail egg is one of my perennial favorites. Then came the polpetti which are the one constant on the tasting menu and thank heavens for that, I think they are the best meatballs in town and the sauce, scooped up with their fabulous bread, is equally divine. We also had the tramezzini (tiny tuna tartare sandwiches) which were a standout and the risi e bisi arancini stuffed with smoked scamorza. Next up: a lovely salad with soft lettuce, radicchio, snap peas and pickled white asparagus with hazelnuts and some other crunchy cheesy thing. Then smoked sea trout with seared fennel and some lovely creamy sauce and pickled mustard seeds – really wonderful – followed by perhaps the most gorgeous plate of all with chicken thigh, mixed greens in a lovely vinaigrette, lots of wonderful green garbanzos and both pickled and braised radishes in various colors. Then everything was cleared, we were given fresh plates and cutlery and serveware and two pastas came out: the lightest most heavenly gnocchi with spring greens pesto and peas, and strozzapretti with oil-poached tuna, roasted tomatoes, garlic and I can’t remember what else but it was delicious. Lastly the tasting menu dessert: an orange and olive oil cake with toasted coconut shards and salted winter citrus sorbetto. Very pretty and my tiny bites were very tasty. My DCs are dessert fiends (I am not) so we got more desserts: the chocolate budino which was gorgeous but they found discordant with its mix of chocolate and lemon; the hibiscus (? with something - not on the online menu) sorbetto and the parsley sorbetto with burnt meringue and something (again, not on online menu) which was the sleeper hit of the evening. Alas for my productivity this morning there were also cocktails, wine and after dinner drinks (we were all Ubering). Another wonderful night. This place really is a gem, its non-resemblance to an actual restaurant in Venice notwithstanding. As always, service was absolutely delightful. The place was humming even on a rainy, cold Monday evening.

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I was just thinking the other day that we hadn’t had one of your fabulous SRV descriptions in a while. Thanks. I visit SRV vicariously through you, for now, but it’s high on my list of places to physically visit.

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Makes me want to run there right now!

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Lordy, another fab meal under your belt. I would like to believe that the hangover was worth it!

The pasta course sounds incredible.

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Your wonderful reports are the reason I have been to SRV. :grinning:

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Met a work friend (on an expense account, lucky me!) for dinner at SRV last night and she kindly took all the pictures you see. Of course we did the Arsenale tasting menu, we knew that when we made the reservation!


Spent Grain Focaccia with housemade ricotta, greens, pickled matsutake mushroom and concord grape. So so so good! The focaccia is made with the spent grain from Bully Boys distillery operations and that gave it an amazing flavor that worked incredibly well with the flavors of the toppings. We decided to order a second round for dessert.

Polpette: pork and beef meatballs, tomato sauce, parmigiano-reggiano. The one constant of the tasting menu and rightfully so, best meatballs ever! Pro-tip: save the tomato sauce for when the bread arrives.

Stuffed Eggplant: roasted eggplant stuffed into dehydrated-then-rehydrated eggplant skin pouches with olive (for a savory note), celery root and pangrattato (for crunch). Excellent.

Supplì al Telefono: rice balls stuffed with oxtail, pumpkin, fontal cheese and deep-fried.


Mixed chicories salad with gorgonzola dolce, red walnut, grape. Really wonderful, we left none of this.

Brussels Sprout Tonnato with preserved lemon, tuna belly, yogurt. This too was a very richly-flavored salad.

Cotechino Sausage on lentils with gooseberry mostarda and mustard greens. This was a knockout dish. The cotechino had a lower proportion of pig skin mixed into it than you would find in Italy but the seasoning and texture were right on point – delicious!

Gnocchi with green beans, pesto, parmigiano-reggiano. The gnocchi were pillowy and fabulous. I am not a huge pesto fan but thoroughly enjoyed this.

Goat Cheese Pansotti with green olive, diced plum, castello di roj cheese. We were flagging by this time but this was really good, the bits of firm plum were such a nice contrast in texture and flavor.

Tasting menu dessert. As always, small, light, and not very sweet, this was sort of a citrus mousse tart topped with huckleberry sauce and edible flowers. Very, very good.

The kitchen also sent out a complimentary scoop of espresso gelato with magic chocolate shell. Tasty and kind of them but it paled in comparison to the parsley gelato I have had there on two occasions.


We had a very nice bottle of red our waitress recommended.

The cost of the tasting menu has gone up slightly from $45 to $48 which is reasonable and the portion sizes are a bit smaller than they used to be which is really a good thing. There was still more than we could finish although not really enough to bring home. (And no, we did not get a second order of the spent grain focaccia.) As always, the service was delightful and knowledgeable. I always leave SRV happy.

ETA: pictures.

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Terrific report. Thank you for posting.

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This looks great! Thank you for sharing.

Eggplant skin pouches though… just sounds so wrong. I’m sure they were delicious and like a re-stuffed baba ganoush.

Are these plates (e.g. gnocchi etc) shared plates or does everybody got a plate/course ?

agree but they sure were tasty!

Yes, shared. The table of four next to us got two of each for the four to share. They give you serving utensils.

Was there again last night with a different friend for the Arsenale tasting menu. I am so very impressed that it is consistently excellent, balanced, gorgeously plated and served by folks who clearly love what they are doing and excel at it. Traffic was extra-horrific, we were late for our reservation, and they were genuinely kind about it. This remains my favorite restaurant in Boston amid some tough competition. Standouts for us last night were the cotechino with lentils and gooseberry mostarda, the goat cheese gnocchi with pomegranate, cardamom and pistachio, the potato sformato with truffle robiola and black garlic and, as always, the polpette – but seriously I’d go back and eat every morsel again tonight, it was all wonderful. Not sure if I mentioned but at some point this fall the price of the tasting menu went from $45 to $48. For 4 cichetti, 3 piatti, 2 grani and 1 small dessert. And nearly always leftover pasta for lunch the next day.

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