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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Drink, Sportello and Girls Night Out

Ever have those nights were money and calories don't count? You just want to eat really well, drink great drinks and have fun with your friends. Saturday night was one of those nights that will go down in history as one of my best nights in Boston from a food, friends, fun and drink perspective. We decided to start the evening at Drink and then work our way upstairs to Sportello. I found out after the fact that if you do the reverse, they can sometimes help you skip the line at Drink, but this is water under the bridge. This post is a bit longer than usual, so I will start with some advice in case you're in a hurry. Run as fast as you can to Drink and Sportello. The food, service and drinks are outstanding. Please share a part of your soul with the mixologist/waiter at drink and then when you are done or on another occasion go upstairs and order the tagliatelle bolognese. I am not innately a pasta person, but I will now dream of Sportello's pasta dishes.

We arrived at 7:30 to get five of us in at Drink. To add some context, Sportello and Drink are both part of the Barbara Lynch restaurant empire and happen to be housed in the same building in the Fort Point area. Drink is on the bottom and Sportello on top. Lucky for us, we only had to wait in the hallway for about 25 minutes before being served at Drink. We had a 9pm reservation at Sportello and they came down to retrieve us when the table was ready (super convenient). Drink is dimly lit with exposed brick and beautiful wooden bars all around. If you are lucky, you get to stand and if you're luckier you get to sit. I will tell you, I don't like standing at a bar for extended periods of time, but for Drink, I feel lucky to be in the room. It has such a positive happy fun vibe. The waitperson comes over to your party and gives you a food menu and then asks what you want to drink. To this you can say something like "I like sweet things" (me) or "I like cucumber" (a friend) or "I feel like something holiday" (my other friend) and they bring out a beautifully constructed tasty cocktail for you. Mine was a champagne with citrus, my friend had some sort of fresh cucumber drink presented in an old school champagne glass and my other friend had a brandy Alexander like drink with frothy foam on top. My first drink was like happiness in a glass. I love champagne and it was a pretty color. The second drink I ordered was perfect given the descriptor I gave, but I forgot to mention that Tequila and I are not friends. The waiter could not have been nicer and took it right out of my hand and off of the bill. Drink has some of the best service I've experienced. The waiter was subtle and kind about exchanging my drink, which I imagine happens so infrequently given how tasty and well constructed the cocktails are there.

It wasn't just drinks at Drink. They have great food, but given that Sportello was in our midst, it was bar cheese and toast for five of us. The toast had a little bit of oil on it and the bar cheese was like chive cream cheese-- the good stuff that you get in New York.

At approximately 9:10, the host from Sportello came down to get us. This was perfect because there was no lingering and waiting upstairs, instead it was a fluid transition from one establishment to the other. Had any glasses still been full they were welcome upstairs! Sportello is the perfect balance with Drink. It is bright and white and relaxed. When you walk in, it looks like a very clean diner. The kitchen area is open and there is a bakery counter lining one wall. We were seated on two sides of a table/bench between the "kitchen" and the bakery counter. Our waitress was awesome! She came over and gave us a heads up that the beef carpaccio and fish special were about to see out, so two of my dining buddies secured their dishes on the spot. Also, she offered a great perspective on the wine. We ordered a bottle of Pino Nior but it was white instead of red. The flavor was smooth and cool.

I shared a squash salad with one of my friends to start. While it was delicious and creative, I wished there was more on the plate. Others at the table ordered the spicy tomato soup and the last beef carpaccio in the kitchen (yum).

For dinner I had pasta bolognese. To say this was delicious was an understatement. I would have been happy if someone dumped me in a vat of pasta, bolognese and asked me to eat my way out. It was homemade pasta, which meant the pasta was a perfect smooth consistency. The sauce was full of different kinds of meat. I think there may have been hints of lamb in the sauce that had the perfect balance of tomato, herbs, meat and spices.

Dessert was a combination of cookies, cupcakes and a whoopie pie both to stay and to go. I can't get enough pumpkin especially in cookie form so I was excited about the pumpkin whoopie pie and a bacon cupcake seemed too good to be true, so I got one to go. The chocolate cookie was creatively sweet and salty. The bacon cupcake was really vanilla cake and maple butter cream with bacon on top.

Moral of the story is go to Sportello and Drink. You will not be disappointed. If you're on a budget, go to Sportello for a price fixed lunch.

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