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SHREWSBURY, Massachusetts – Typically I do a restaurant review the very first time that I stop in to a new eatery. In this case, I have actually been to Tomasso’s three times prior tot he review itself, so I have a pretty good feeling for what to expect. For it’s out of the way location on Route 9 in Southboro, you might expect it to be “fast food,” but you would most definitely be wrong. Instead it’s a really nice dining experience that just happens to be tucked away in a quiet little town.
The ambiance is just perfect for the luncheon meeting, in that it’s clean, crisp, and delightfully decorated, while still being informal enough that you don’t feel out of place talking about business. One of the things I like about a place like this is that the wait staff knows what their role is. What I mean is that in a fancy, elegant restaurant in Back Bay, I expect the staff to be hovering nearby ready to swoop to service my table at the slightest nod of the head. On the other hand, at a place where I’m there to conduct business, I need to wait staff to see what’s going on and give us a bit more room to have our meeting, without asking every two seconds if we need anything. It’s a subtle difference, to be sure, but the wait staff at Tomasso’s has mastered it, and that’s something I appreciate.
The first time I visited, I had a wonderful chicken breast, flawlessly cooked and seasoned, while my guest had the butternut squash risotto, which was also excellent – and that’s really saying something as I’ve found risotto to be something I just can’t get right. This week I’ve been working very hard on my diet, and so I had some very special dietary needs, none of which were on the menu. For my appetizer, I asked for just some fresh mozzerella and basil, with a bit of olive oil, and the waitress didn’t blink an eye. What she brought me exceeded all of my expectations yet again. I was anticipating just a simple cheese pile, but this was clearly fresh, rich tasting, with a quality olive oil, and drizzled with a bit of lemon juice that I would never have tried but tasted fantastic. For my main course, I had a weird sounding salad, which broiled chicken, walnuts, and apples. Again, I had to ask that some of the things normally in it be left off, and she was perfectly accommodating without blinking an eye – which is how you should treat special orders. My guest had a cool mini-pizza, with a main course of a spicy penne pasta that was good enough to bring home the leftovers and have them a few hours later as a snack.
With a total check of under $40 for two, excellent food, and fantastic service, it’s no wonder why I keep coming back again and again.