Thursday, May 28, 2009

Stuff to Eat in the Suburbs: Needham—Spiga

Quattro Formaggio Risotto from Spiga

Last week this Bostonist had the pleasure of attending the grand re-opening for Spiga, a wonderful taste of the North End in Needham. Spiga really touts two separate menus: a lunch menu, filled with delightfully simple paninis and delicious wood-oven grilled pizzas; and a dinner menu featuring more complex fare, like the wonderfully rich spinach and ricotta ravioli in an intense duck ragu. Last week’s grand re-opening festivities featured items from both the lunch and dinner selections.

This Bostonist had the opportunity to sample a number of Spiga’s most delectable dishes at the event. In the lunch category, tiny paninis offered delightfully tender prosciutto and perfectly salty salami in homemade Italian rolls. While the paninis were very tasty, their miniaturized size makes it difficult to predict how filling the regular-sized sandwich would be.

Tiny Panini from Spiga

Samples of two different lasagnas were passed around next. A meat lasagna featuring parmesan cheese, housemade noodles, and Spiga’s own bolognaise sauce was such a hit with this Bostonist that she was dreaming about it two nights later. Their excellent bolognaise is a combination of veal, lamb, chicken liver, and beef, all items that are fantastic on their own, but combined in this sauce they are heavenly. The sauce is perfectly balanced--none of the meats are overpowering—and the flavor is the perfect accompaniment and accent to the tender homemade pasta. This Bostonist would be happy with just a bowl of Spiga’s pasta and bolognaise sauce, which by the way is one of the dishes available on the dinner menu. There was also a vegetable lasagna that was just brimming with a variety of tender vegetables, layered between Spiga’s housemade noodles, and topped with a very light and yet creamy bĂ©chamel.

An appetizer from the dinner menu, the sea scallops in a roasted garlic confit was a truly amazing dish. The scallops were perfectly cooked; not too soft and not chewy at all, they were pan seared to provide a nice, salty crust on the top and bottom of the scallop. The slightly sweet roasted-garlic puree was an inspired choice to pair with the scallops; the slightly sweet rich flavor of the confit was the perfect contrast and accompaniment to the saltiness of the scallops.

While the risotto at Spiga changes nightly, the one this Bostonist sampled was delightful in its simplicity. Quattro Formaggio Risotto with spinach features a blending of pecorino, mozzarella, and parmesan, which gave this risotto its rich creamy flavor. A hint of goat cheese added just a little bit of extra tang that made this a dish worth raving about.
Spiga’s signature dessert is its bread pudding. Now, this Bostonist isn’t normally a fan of bread pudding but decided to give it a try due to all the hype. And it was amazing! With texture more like custard than a bread pudding, this sweet and tender dish is perfectly accented with a salty caramel sauce. This Bostonist was so enamored with the bread pudding that she went back several nights later just to eat dessert!

The dining room‘s soft lighting and elegant decorations provide a romantic atmosphere perfect for a night out. Of course, the vibrant wait staff and the inspired patio seating make this a great destination for groups as well. Or, if you aren’t in the mood to eat in, Spiga also offers a takeout menu so you can enjoy these delicious dishes from the comfort of your own home. We ordered from Spiga a few nights later and we were pleasantly surprised at how well the food traveled and how fast the service was.

Spiga’s wonderful cuisine can be attributed to its new executive chef, Marisa Iocco, of Mare and Umbria, who took over the restaurant in April of 2009.

bread pudding smaller.jpg
Bread pudding with Salty Caramel Sauce from Spiga

Though Spiga can be a little hard to find--it is hidden in a little circle off of Highland Street in Needham--it is close enough to the highway to be convenient but far enough away not to be bombarded by the sounds of speeding cars. Spiga’s delightful cuisine and welcoming atmosphere makes it a suburban destination that we highly recommend.

Spiga’s menu is available online at their website.

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