You won’t find a more perfect match than a restaurant that focuses on historical Italian cooking inside a hotel called the Renaissance.
The artisans behind M.C. Spiedo are James Beard Award winners Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier, who have turned heads for decades at their restaurants in Ogunquit, Maine, but now are plying their craft in the Seaport.
“There is that sort of dividing line between Fort Point and the Seaport,” Frasier says. “There are some well-done restaurants in the Seaport, but they tend to be more corporate. They deliver a nice product, but if you want the energy, excitement and creativity of real chefs, there is no other thing in the area at the moment.”
That creativity is evident in one of the ways the food is delivered to your plate. In a style that Gaier playfully dubs “Western dim sum,” diners are offered simple bites and drinks from a cart shortly after they’re seated. The “immediate gratification” options include items such as deviled eggs or a salad as well as signature cocktails or a sparkling wine.
The nod to Italian history is readily apparent throughout the courses. The Leonardo Salad comes from a list of items da Vinci had written in the margins of a sketchbook. A chicken dish on the menu is slowly braised with dates, figs and apricots. Frasier dates that dish to Dec. 23, 1326, when it was served at a knighting in Siena. The pizzas are served with toppings such as grapes and walnuts rather than pepperoni and red sauce.
“ldquo;There won’t be a Margherita pizza because they didn’t have tomatoes and Margherita wasn’t born for another 300 years,” Frasier says. “The Renaissance really was a rebirth of the idea of the enjoyment of food. Everything on our menu at M.C. Spiedo really references that or is a direct rendition of actual dishes from the period.”
An all-Italian wine list and cocktails made from Italian liqueurs reflect the theme, and the expedient service carries over to the lounge, where patrons can order a drink from the drink cart rather than waiting for a waitress or going to the bar.
With counter seating for nine along the open kitchen and four booths with tents overhead to provide some extra privacy in the dining room, there’s an artistic flair to the space, which seats about 100 people.
“The look of the room is a very glam room. It has a very different feel than most dining rooms in the city,” Frasier says. “It has a very see and be-seen kind of feel.”
M.C. Spiedo Renaissance Boston Waterfront | 606 Congress St. | 617-476-5606 | mcspiedoboston.com