The first thing I do when I know I’m going to a particular destination is to immediately find food and/or drinks options in the vicinity. When I was one of the lucky winners of a ticket to the Boston Ballet, courtesy of my friend Rachel and Renee, I did just that. A quick Google revealed several options around the Boylston-Park St- Downtown Crossing triangle, including Bina (adjacent to the Opera House), Blu, and Max & Dylans. I decided on Teatro for two reasons: 1) I walk by it everyday and, 2) the following weekend would bring me to a wedding reception at L’Andana, part of the Mistral group that also boasts the musings of Mooo… and Sorellina, to name a few.
Teatro isn’t exactly in a sexy location. Convenient, yes. Appealing, not so much. And the weather-worn awning doesn’t exactly to much to entice. But beyond the street facade lies a gorgeous space with a cathedral-type ceiling lit with blue light and highlighted with painted gold accents. Trendy chandeliers contrast this Baroque-looking dining room and bar.
I took a seat at the plush, modern bar stools and browsed the cocktail menu. While debating between the Drunken Pear and White Cosmo, the friendly bartender, a brown liquor girl herself, mentioned the pear was more of a fall/winter drink, which, although obvious in hindsight, helped me make my decision. And a good decision it was! Well balanced and not too sweet, the pear was a highlight to the brandy, as opposed to a stronger flavor of something like a pear-based martini.
Teatro’s menu is well-suited for theatre patrons and leisure diners alike. Their assortment of small bites ensure quick service if you are rushing to curtain call. Keeping with the small bite theme, pasta dishes are available in appetizer and dinner-sized portions. I absolutely love this concept; as one who likes to try a lot of things and not feel stuffed after a meal, a restaurant with small plates earns big points with me.
I started with the Marsala Veal Meatballs with corn polenta. I wasn’t expecting there to be cheese topping the meatballs, and really enjoyed the subtle sharpness of the cheese against the sweet Marsala sauce, both of which did not mask the true veal flavor of the meatballs.
Curious to see the portion size, I decided to take advantage of appetizer-sized pasta dishes and selected the Squash Tortellini. After the dense meatballs, something on the lighter side seemed appropriate. The squash flavor wasn’t too pronounced, but gave the tortellini a thicker texture than a traditional cheese filling. The spinach and tomatoes added both color and flavor to the simple white wine sauce. Although it looks small, I appreciated the serving size of three tortellini, just enough to follow one or two appetizers.
Even after just two small plates, I felt very satisfied with this meal. It was refreshing to not feel overwhelmed by overly large portions, and being able to order an appetizer and “entree” even while dining alone was a highlight for me. It was the perfect pre-ballet meal.
I met our group outside the Opera House, where we got our tickets for a working dress rehearsal of the Boston Ballet’s season opener, Romeo and Juliet. There is something regal about attending a ballet. The sparkling chandeliers, painted ceilings, that deep red curtain that draws tour attention and demands your respect. My favorite all-time musical, A Chorus Line, puts the emotion in such a simple yet majestic phase: “Everything is beautiful at the ballet.”
What’s your favorite restaurant in the Theatre District?