What the Fluff? was postponed due to rain, so naturally we headed off to East Boston to a red sauce joint we’d never visited before, Rino’s place. Wouldn’t you? The party was joined by several members of the Josephine crew, Chef J (whose issues with red sauce are well documented), professor J and probably somebody I’m neglecting, for which I apologize. If you don’t have a limeduck epithet, contact me right away to get one.
I’m not really sure how we selected Rino’s, but it certainly wasn’t the website, which claims, among other things, “RINO’S IS KNOWN FOR IT’S WONDERFUL RED SAUCE, THIN CUT OF VEAL AND FISTS SIZE RAVIOLIS MADE TO ORDER.” yowza. They do a swift business in carryout as well as dine in. We upped our party from six to seven at the last minute and had to wait in the rain another hour for it.
Foolishly, we ordered appetizers (and some underwhelming red wine), including a monstrous but super-fresh caprese salad and some delicious and tender baby octopus in a deep red sauce. When ordering the apps, we were asked to confirm if we wanted app or entree size. God help us if we had ordered entree size. I needed a wide-angle adapter just to get the plate all in the frame.
For mains, just about everybody had pasta, most of it red, from the bolognese to the (pictured left) rabbit ragu with papardelle. (That was me of course, since I’m on a rabbit and duck kick these days. The rabbit was tender and complemented by some diced carrots, celery and onion for an autumnal feeling, and the papardelle were al dente.) Also exceptional were the fusili with chicken and broccoli and the eggplant wrapped around ricotta. Brave C ordered the much-bragged-about fist-sized ravioli, pictured right. I wish I had a ruler to add to the picture for scale. Each one must have been more than a quarter pound. Report is that they were delicious.
Only one of our party actually finished the main – clean plate clubber and gracious chauffeur M. We left with six clamshell takeaway boxes, each filled with at least one more meal. In retrospect, we have to question the economics of a restaurant that can serve up such enormous portions – including some with meats and seafood – for $16 or less, and have a wine list that tops out at $50 with most bottles at $18. Go figure. But as long as they do, and as long as you can find your way there (and back), I can think of few better places for giant plates of quality red sauce.
Five days later and I’m finally hungry again! This place is the true meaning of Abondanza!