You know how some locations just seem cursed? Those odd retail or restaurant locations that just can't seem to support a business no matter what? Sometimes it becomes a sport to guess how long the next one will last and sometimes you just stop bothering to even try. That used to be the case at 187 Elm Street in Somerville, just a bit too far out of Davis Square and not quite close enough to Porter. In my memory it's been Carberrys, O'Naturals, Boloco, and Green Tomato at least. And now it's Pizzeria Posto, and I think the curse might be kaput.
Posto is a Neapolitan-focused slow-food influenced joint with a wood-burning pizza oven, a wine bar, and several impressive menu items beyond pizza. It's been packed on each of my three visits. The minimalist website is little more than menus and links to Facebook and Twitter - an interesting development I'm seeing more and more for businesses.
Pizza is Posto's main attraction. They serve just one size, a generous personal pizza, in ten classical and modern varieties with a handful of options from $12 for the Margherita to $18 for some of the fancier pies, with some add-ons that can take you to $25 and beyond. Fresh farm egg, anybody? The ingredients are top-notch and the crust is about right on the chewy-crispy continuum. I keep meaning to ask for mine well done to get more of the wood-fired char. Maybe next time.
With 19 red wines by the glass (yea, and some whites and pinks and fizzies too), this is a pretty serious wine bar. What really impressed me was the mix of prices - you can get a decent glass of wine for $5 In fact there are four reds and six whites for under $10 a glass. And there are some $20/glass reds too. The only odd thing - and maybe it's only odd to geeks like me - is that there's a gap in the red wine price curve between $6 and $11. Random omission, statistical aberration, sinister anchoring ploy? Who cares - drink up.
3. Et Cetera
Posto offers some attractive appetizers, including some nice arancini, classic calamari, and a delicious burata. They also offer some crispy fried pig's ear. Yes, you read that right. Like the saying goes, you can't deep-fry a silk purse.
With sea salt and lime, how could I resist? Well, let's just say it's probably nor for everybody. There's a real difference in the texture of the thin end of the ear and the thick end, and I'm not sure if either one is what I had in mind. But I'm glad I tried it and for $7 it was well worth checking out. There's no shortage of other pig parts on the menu, from roast pork and prosciutto on the pizzas to guanciale (that's jowl, folks) in one of the pasta dishes.
I've tried two of the three pasta dishes on the menu. Very impressive for a pizza joint, but it's obvious that we're not dealing with a regular pizza joint here. Agnolotti with veal, chard and savory herbs were delicately lemony and beautifully hand-made. Tagliatelle with braised rabbit, fava beans and peas was also a spring-themed winner.
Yes, there's even dessert. They make their own cannoli, of which I was initially suspicious - how could one restaurant do all this? Well, for $5 I ended up with two good-sized cannoli. No silly dipped shells, no campy candied fruit, just the shell, the cheese and the powdered sugar, folks.
Time will tell if Posto can overcome geographic destiny, but I'm rooting for it.