Date Night: Wellesley

Thomas Edison's first lightbulb which was used...
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Pushing back the velvet curtain to enter the dining area I am not sure if I am entering a trendy South End eatery or did I drive only five minutes?

A suburban outpost of the growing Michael Schlow culinary empire, Alta Strada is located in Wellesley Center.

Noted for blending traditional Italian fare with modern elegance, the vibe is casual chic.

The open space is attractive with deep toned worn wood floors, a long metal-topped bar stretching nearly the length of one wall, and Thomas Edison inspired teardrop bulbs dangling from the far wall.

Once comfortably seated “romantic style” side by side on the banquette, our friendly waitress told us about the Sunday Supper offering, a three course family style price fixe menu.  It was an easy choice to go with the chef’s offering.

The first round of broccolini, white beans, and a cold eggplant marinade was a good awakening of the tastebuds.

Small squares of Margherita pizza, mushroom and riccota canneloni stroganoff style, and chicken cacciatore on a bed of creamy polenta barely left room for the dessert offering of brownies, vanilla gelato, and panna cotta with a sprig of mint.

The only food item that seriously disappointed was the roasted potatoes with peppers and olives that was bland, soggy, and not warm enough.

There’s a fine selection of wines by the glass and we indulged in a robust sangiovese.  The wine list is extensive and if trying to decide on one of the offerings by the glass, they will offer you a taste if you need help in choosing.

The menu has overtones of the Amalfi coast and Tuscany, yet you can also order a scrumptious thin crust pizza.

Nibbling on appetizers is de rigeur, and the antipasti selection is enjoyable and intriguing.

While the portions tend to be smaller and lighter than entrees found at more traditional Italian restaurants, the antipasti platters are crunchy and tasty, and will appeal to even the lustiest of eaters!

Service is attentive.  Our server was engaging, helpful, and prescient in serving our various courses at the right time.

Water glasses were filled at precisely the right moment and we were routinely asked if there was anything they could do or get for us.

At the end of the dinner, the manager then came by and asked how things were and solicited our input on the Sunday Suppers concept and the actual offerings.  We did share our thoughts on the various courses and offered that the roasted potatoes with peppers dish was not up to par with the other entrees, appetizers, and side dishes.

That aside, our meal was quite delightful and we enjoyed a far better experience than we’d had at Alta Strada when it had initially opened.

Alta Strata Restaurant, Wellesley

Alta Strata Restaurant, Wellesley

Alta Strada is open for lunch as well as dinner, and the hip bar area is well set up for individual diners wishing countertop service.

A larger version has now opened at Foxwoods.



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