Bringing It Down to the Earth

Posts tagged ‘Italian’

SOOOOO Good: Grezzo (Boston, Massachusetts)

Grezzo Boston

Our Rating: SOOOOO Good!
Address: 69 Prince Street Boston, MA 02113
Hours: Wednesday – Sunday 5pm – close
Contact: 857-362-7288, grezzorestaurant.com

Review via Maureen Whitehouse

The sign outside reads:

Welcome to Grezzo!
Grezzo is more than just a place to eat.
Our food is prepared with love and a deep caring for what we put into our bodies. We select the finest ingredients and the freshest high quality produce, nuts and seeds.
We support the slow food movement, local farmers, sustainable agriculture and environmentally friendly products.
Please be our guest and enjoy these high vibration foods that will enhance your well-being, improve the quality of your life and allow you to create optimum health.

Being treated to dinner at Grezzo was one of my most favorite birthday gifts this year. What a jewel of a surprise… tucked away in Boston’s North End, amongst quite a few other 4 and 5 star eateries, this little luminary outshines them all.

It’s bold, to say the least, to fly in the face of convention and open a raw food restaurant in Boston’s Italian North End, notoriously known as the birthplace of Prince Spaghetti. Perhaps one can imagine the occasional al dente dish being served here – but raw!

food at Grezzo

At Grezzo (pronounced Gray-Zo, meaning “raw” in Italian) every dish is 100% organic, unless it is absolutely not available as an organic product. This elegant, upscale yet cozy and inviting restaurant serves food that is at once mind expanding and an extraordinary feast for the senses. Set in warm rustic tones, the intimate 28-seat candlelit restaurant with copper tables and crushed cranberry colored chairs specializes in organic, raw vegan cuisine.

A delightful menu combined with a highly responsive staff and engaging atmosphere made the overall experience sublime. I’d just returned from presenting my Soul-Full Eating book signings, lectures and workshops in both LA and NYC, sampling scrumptious morsels in some of the finest conscious eating establishments on the planet, and I was astounded to find that Grezzo not only rivaled but surpassed most of the well-known, revered and even iconic names in the vegan and raw food world.

food at Grezzo

It’s clear that Grezzo owner, Alissa Cohen, is not only a visionary but an educator. Author of the book, Living on Live Food, her devotion to both raw food cuisine and her clientele is obvious. Her wonderfully gregarious wait staff is well trained in the art of presentation, engagingly explaining in mouthwatering detail each dish as it is presented. All questions about this, strange to some, raw food menu are met with a smile tinged with a twinkle of delight, most especially I noticed, each time the phrase, “and nothing is heated above 112 degrees” is uttered. Although the pace was fast the Satuday night I dined at Grezzo, it never felt frenetic and Chef Leah DuBois also seemed graciously available to guests after the most evident dinner rush had subsided—perhaps because for her there is no such thing as “slaving over a hot stove.”

Grezzo dessert

The concept is that green, organic and locally grown vegan, raw food served in an upscale style and setting can be inviting to anyone. Their menu changes daily and reflects the availability of locally grown, organic, high quality, living foods.
As the daughter of an Italian mother, the one and only suggestion I’d make to possibly improve the dining experience here is that cannolis be a permanent part of the Grezzo menu… however I did notice that there’s a recipe for them (that I am determined to make) in Allisa’s recipe book, so there’s hope!

Either way, I’m certain I’ll return to Grezzo again and again when visiting family in Boston. Bravo Allisa. Grazie!!

All photos courtesy Grezzo.

Advertisements

SOOOOO Good: Pesce Blue (Portsmouth, New Hampshire)

Our Rating: SOOOOO Good
Address: 103 Congress St. Portsmouth, NH 03801
Dinner Hours: 7 nights a week starting at 5:00, Lunch: Monday – Friday 12:00 – 2:00 Brunch: Sunday 10:00 to 2:00
Contact: 603-430-7766 pesceblue.com

photo by Jack Bingam courtesy Pesce Blue

Review via Maureen Whitehouse

Serendipity brought us to this yummy eatery in the heart of downtown Portsmouth, which I later found out is featured as a dining experience not to miss while visiting Portsmouth in the book, 1,000 Places to See Before You Die.

I’d hoped to find a Soul-Full dining experience that my almost-vegetarian (fish eating) dinner partners could relish as well one I could feel amazingly good to present to our readers as a sustainable, conscious eating choice. Viola! – Pesce Blue. I found this restaurant to be enchanting. The atmosphere is upscale all-embracing – quite comfortable to sophisticates as well as the tank top/sandal wearing crowd. The wait staff is delightfully attentive and knowledgeable about each dish’s preparation and ingredients, and the owner, Cliff T. Arrand, appears to be easily accessible as he warmly and actively engages in lively dialog with clientele.

The only thing that could possibly have made this dining experience better for me is if I’d opened my eyes after my first sip of organic Pinot Noir, and found myself magically transported to a small coastal town in Italy. Other than that, this is as close to my most favorite Italian dining experiences (and I’ve had many) that I could imagine reveling in while on US soil. This is a high-end Italian eatery—no heavy sauces, just light, obviously inspired and deliciously composed dishes. As a mostly vegan eater (I eat cheese every once in a great while), I found plenty on this menu to delight me, although most of it was in the form of very fulfilling appetizers, sides, salads and pastas. While my dining companions and I munched on hand-rolled and home baked herb breadsticks, focaccia and chipata I found it was terrifically difficult to choose between the Roasted Stuffed Baby Artichokes – filled with goat cheese, lemon and herbs, and dressed with an olive vinaigrette, the Local Roasted Tomato and Basil Salad with reduced balsamic vinegar and Mint and Pine Nut Stuffed Gnocchi. They found the Pesca (Fish) Selections, such as the Risotto al Pescatore (seafood risotto) and Griglia Mista (Assortment of grilled fish) to be equally enticing.

Photo by Jack Bingham courtsey Pesce Blue

A good portion of the Pesce Blue menu changes daily, depending on what foods are in season and can be found locally from New Hampshire farms as well as what’s the local catch—I was told that the only fish on the menu that was not caught in local waters the evening I dined there was the tuna. Which, as many of you know, is best to avoid anyway (for more info, see the “fish to avoid” column of the Fish List found on pg.162 of Soul-Full Eating) because tuna is unsustainably over-fished worldwide, and also due to the fact that as a larger fish, it contains the highest levels of ocean contamination, including inordinate
amounts of toxic chemicals such as PCBs and mercury.

One of my most ardent suggestions is that you begin your dining experience at Pesce Blue with the “Street Food,” dreamily reminiscent of the signature foods you can buy from vendors on the streets of Italy, such as Aroncini—wild mushroom risotto balls filled with goat cheese (yes,I splurged here and allowed myself this non-vegan delight!),Croquette—truffled potato rolled and breaded with lemon aioli, and Mozarella in Carozza—bread dough with fresh mozzarella served with warm marinara. It’s rustically luscious. And the deserts… nothing short of edible works of art – they’re “to live for!”

Photos by Jack Bingam courtesy Pesce Blue.

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: