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When you live outside the Hub of Boston, anytime a new restaurant opens in Metro West you get excited. Tavolino’s, is a small Italian bistro that recently opened about a month ago in Westboro on 33 Main Street in the Roche Brothers shopping plaza. It is located right across from Ted’s Montana grill.
Tavolino’s has all the curb side appeal of an trendy, upscale bistro. Upon entering there is a wall of enticing wine, a view into the brick oven kitchen and an assortment of tables. The layout is a bit disconnected, partly because of the space they had to work with. Immediately on the left are a set of booths that look cozy while the rest of the dining room wraps around to the right. Tavolino means small table in Italian and all in all it’s a good feeling when you walk in.
The menu has an assortment of choices ranging from some Italian favorites, some eclectic appetizers, a full pizza selection, and a reasonably good entrée selection. There is a wine list of over 150 choices. Currently there are a lot of fall flavors on the menu. I would not classify the menu as authentic Italian, but it’s not your typical red sauce and meatballs joint either.
The pizza menu is quite extensive with over 20 gourmet pizza selections. It features a good combination of traditional favorites such as Marinara and Margarita as well as more adventurous creations such as Prosciutto and Fig, Sweet Potato Pizza and Lobster. While we didn’t sample the pizza this trip, it looked worthy of follow-up. At a distant glance, it didn’t look like true authentic NY pizza crust or Neapolitan, but worthy of trying nonetheless. This could be the secret weapon.
The appetizers look enticing, with Lump Blue Crab Cakes, Balsamic BBQ Glazed Pork Ribs, Wild Boar Gnocchi and Tuscan Hearth Roasted Wings. While we went for straight for the entrees, the Wild Boar Gnocchi’s looked really good.
We started with salads, the House (mesclun greens, cucumber, grape tomato, and carrot), which was nicely done but had a dressing mix-up. The Caesar also was also decent (with real Anchovies) but was a bit over dressed. Other notables were Tavolino Chopped Salad and Wilted Spinach.
For entrees, it was a difficult decision. While the selection is reasonably large, you may find yourself struggling to find an exact match. Eye catchers included Pan-Seared Sea Scallops, Veal Milanese, Shrimp and Crab Stuffed Flounder, Wild Mushroom Ragout and Stuffed Italian Meatloaf. We went with the Grilled Salmon and Veal Milanese. The Salmon was tasty adnn cooked very well but the Eggplant Capponata that accompanied it was only okay. Unfortunately, the Veal Milanese was a disaster. The cut of veal was not very good and the dish lacked any flavor. Our waitress did warn us that they were “working the kinks” out of the dish, so I guess we should have tried something else. The other selections did look good coming out of the kitchen. I think we might have ordered wrong.
There is also an extensive Pasta menu with items such as Pappardelle Bolognese, Spinach and Portabella Ravioli, Vegetable Mascarpone and Provolone Tortellini. The Pappardelle Bolognese looked really good.
Deserts seemed a bit lack luster – not a tremendous selection of anything to excite you, so we passed.
So overall, not too bad for a first visit. Would definitely want to visit a few more times before passing final judgment. They are still in the first 3 months of operation and are definitely working out the rough spots. The wait staff needs to get more experience with the menu and the chef needs more feedback from customers on how best to tweak some of the flavors. But despite all that, I would definitely recommend a visit to check it out. It’s a new place in the typically limited dining experience of Metro West.
Submitted by Frank Palermo