After very much enjoying our visit to Sportello for dinner, Liz and I decided to go back to try their lunch – the menu is significantly different from the dinner menu so as to warrant a separate trip. Not that we wouldn’t have gone back either way. We were again pleased with our meal and given Sportello’s proximity to downtown Boston (10 min walk from Post Office Sq.) I anticipate taking Liz out for a lot more lunches as the weather starts to warm up.

Isn’t it great to get something more than just bread and oil at the beginning of a meal? A dip, a cheese, a spread – it seems so simple to create and the psychological payoff for the diner is huge. The two times we have been to Sportello they have served some variant of fresh ricotta. This time it came with some yummy oil, sea salt and raisins.

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We started off with creamy polenta with bolognese sauce. The polenta won’t be winning any health awards but it tastes so damn good, especially with the bolognese sauce which I’m fairly confident is this recipe. I’m interested in what Sportello will do for  a summer menu, though. This is the kind of dish you look forward to after a long cold day spent hiking or skiing. Not exactly warm-weather material. I’m sure they’ll come up with something equally delicious but not quite so hearty.

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I had the strozzapreti with slow-braised rabbit and green olives. Mixed feelings about this one. The rabbit was tender and delicious but it came in a substantial broth of braising liquid. This would be fine with me except for the fact that the pasta was overcooked. It almost had the consistency of the noodles at the bottom of the chicken noodle soup vat in a high school cafeteria – like it had been sitting in the broth for quite some time. It could have used a little more variety of flavor as well. The salt of the meat, with the salt of the olive and the salt of the cheese could be overpowering for those who don’t spend their down time snorting Morton’s. I hesitate to advise against ordering it because it was quite tasty, but I prefer the other pasta dishes  I’ve had here.

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Liz had the taleggio cheese panini with oven roasted tomato and tarragon. She loved the bread and the flavor combo but wanted more filling. Typical Liz. Always  more, more, more.

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We had to get the budino with olive oil and sea salt again for dessert. Not too sweet. Not too salty. Perfect.

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The prices for lunch are reasonable considering what you get. Soups under $10, sandwiches and polenta $12ish, and pasta’s for $15. Portions are big enough to get any one of these and be satisfied.

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