Marliave – Boston, Under New Culinary Management

http://www.marliave.com/home/

Location: Boston, MA

The Foodie: Recommends

Boston. An historic town under modern cultural management.

Sure, we’ve got lots of stuff that’s been around for over 100 years – Fenway Park, the T, the Bell in Hand Tavern, Mayor Menino, and a strange accent to name a few…but we’ve really tried to keep up with the times. We ditched an ugly raised highway in favor of a nice greenway, we finally constructed a proper modern art museum, we’re educating lots of smaaaht kids each year on the latest academia has to offer, and we are growing a solid base of world-class eateries that are following food trends on the frothing edge.

What does all this have to do with Marliave? Patience, young grasshopper.

This Boston mainstay has been around for ages and has to be one of the oldest dining locations in the city, but under the management of Grotto chef/owner Scott Herrit, they are still slingin’ some very well-executed grub that spans Italian and French-inspired dishes that are worthy of the 21st century.

Typically you’d expect that restaurant established in the 1800’s that is downtown right smack in the tourist action to be mediocre at best, but Marliave is a welcome exception to the rule.

The restaurant really is a hidden gem that had remained more rumored than real to this native for several years. I’m glad I picked up my britches and gave it a try. It’s a beautiful space with a laid-back bar area on the first floor and gorgeous intimate dining room above street level.

I’ve waited long enough – here are the menu highlights:

  • “Sunday Gravy” – pillow-y gnocchi (yes I’m a fouchebag) and delicious creamy San Marzano tomato sauce laden with tender lamb, pork and beef. Down-home comfort, upscale technique.
  • Seared scallops with pumpkin ravioli and wild mushroom risotto. Beautifully-plated, inventive combo, perfectly-cooked scallops. Terrific.
  • Chicken breast seared ‘under a brick’ over risotto with mushrooms and roasted garlic. I don’t know if it’s just clever marketing, but I typically drool over chicken under a brick. Marliave’s take on this dish was outstanding.

Other menu items that caught my eye included beef wellington, a sexy-looking burger, “Henry’s Soup” (French onion, gruyere, short rib, crouton, mouthgasm), beef carpaccio, and a nice duck confit app (coming to your iplate soon).

In the end, Marliave is a fine example of how Boston can marry old school colonial charm with new school culinary chops. Bravo.

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