If you’re heading into Boston to dine, many people consider the option of Italian food in the North End. While there are many, many fine restaurants from which to choose in that one neighborhood, there are other good destinations for Italian food elsewhere in the city. One such place is Salvatore’s. With four locations in Massachusetts, two of which are in Boston (Theatre District and Seaport), they provide an excellent alternative to the North End.
Last Friday, I visited the Seaport location and was able to meet with Executive Chef Victor Paone. In addition to overseeing the kitchens at all four restaurants, he also is responsible for the selection and development of recipes for the menu. While we talked, I was able to sample four different menu items. Although all four items were delicious, I had a favorite, the over 21 pizza. (Keep reading to learn more about it!)
TT: What locally sustainable products are you currently using in your menu?
CP: All of our produce, when in season, is local. We try to get our fish as locally as possible. Vendors are in touch with us, as to what is available locally.
TT: Have you created any special menu items that highlight the local products?
CP: Striped bass that has been caught locally is a special. I let the executive chefs of each restaurant show their talents with the special items and use their own discretion as to how they’ll prepare the dish.
TT: What is a favorite dish that you can’t remove from the menu without disappointing your patrons?
CP: The Butternut Ravioli. These ravioli are filled with butternut squash and served with a gorgonzola mascarpone sauce, dried figs, and roasted butternut squash.
TT: How often do you change the menu?
CP: Every three to four months I change the menu. The last menu came out four weeks ago, and I already am working on the next one. In each section of the menu I change about three items.
TT: Can you tell me about some of the changes you’ve made recently?
CP: On our appetizer menu we got rid of the full-sized appetizers and switched to half portions, called assaggi. It seems that diners like to share appetizers and offering smaller portions allows them to sample more. We also have changed the way that we serve our wraps. Instead of using flour tortillas, which can be heavy, we have switched to lavash bread, which provides a lower calorie, lighter sandwich.
TT: What makes Salvatore’s unique?
CP: If you look at our menu, it’s comfort Italian, but it also is a step up. We have the classics: Eggplant Parmigiana, Chicken Marsala, but we also have Chicken and Gorgonzola Risotto. We have a 21 and older pizza that has dried cherries soaked in raspberry vodka and proscuitto. Also, our servers know their customers. Most of our servers have been here for a while, so they know their regulars well. They even know what specials will appeal to which regulars.
We never stop. We are always creating new dishes, providing the best dining experience possible.