Friday night at Vinny's
They have coffee and muffins and cold cuts, and during the day you can get a meatball sub and a Polar Seltzer to go.
Come evening, they bring out the white tablecloths and turn into Vinny's at Night, an unexpectedly good Italian restaurant.
Here's the more inviting back room:
We went last night with Tim and Peter. I'd been once before, and the memory of the vinegar rabbit still made my mouth water, so I already knew what I was going to order.
There was a line when we arrived (we'd made reservations) and the place stayed busy all evening. Some diners were clearly regulars; others, like my three boys and the people at the next table, had long heard about Vinny's but were making their first visit.
First, an antipasto plate of marinated artichokes, roasted red peppers and sweet cipollini onions with prosciutto and a soft white cheese (whose name I didn't catch, sadly) drizzled with balsamic.
And then the mains: a comfortingly cheesy veal parm;
Grilled ostrich in a deep, rich balsamic-shiitake sauce;
A fantastic pork sausage with broccoli rabe tossed with garlic and olive oil;
And their slow-cooked Sicilian rabbit stew, by turns sweet and vinegary, with olives and capers and translucent onions and meat that fell off the bone.
And I had the bones to prove it.
The entrees came with unfeasibly large sides of pasta; half of one serving would have been a good-sized main course for me. The upside is that we'll have leftover housemade fusilli for lunch today.
Too full to go a whole dessert, we split a chilled lemon tartufo: sweet and tart, creamy and crunchy.
A fitting end to dinner in a place that manages to be two things at once.
Here's a nice 2006 profile of Vinny's and its owner, Vinny Migliore, from the Boston Globe.
And one last thing, which may squick some people but sealed the deal for everyone at our table: