Falling for an Italian lunch
by Liz Zack
Most people would rather stave off the inevitable end of summer than revel in
it, but there are reasons to look forward to fall. One of them is lunch at
On restaurant-cluttered Salem Street, Antico Forno is distinguished
from its neighbors by the big brick oven that dominates the back wall. Dishes
are sent to this oven to be "finished" -- gnocchi ($8), for instance, is
covered with a basil-laden plum-tomato sauce and topped with slabs of smoked
mozzarella, then relegated for its final minutes to the high heat of the oven.
The mozzarella gets slightly browned, and the red clay pot the dish is served
in radiates enough heat to warm you from a foot away. Another great
entrée is the ribollita ($5.50), a hearty Tuscan bread soup made with
vegetables, cannellini beans, and parmesan cheese. The soup is too heavy for
sundress-and-sandals season, but it's perfect for autumn and will probably be
even better come winter. The portions at this cozy wood-paneled restaurant are
also made for larger appetites and baggier clothing: the best of the salads --
a mixed-greens affair with mounds of tomatoes, sweet roasted red peppers, and
creamy goat cheese -- is enough for three to share ($6).
One warning: even in the last warm days of summer, Antico Forno fills up for
lunch. Service can be sporadic and slow, so getting in and out within an hour
may be difficult.
Antico Forno, located at 93 Salem Street, in the North End, is open daily
from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Call (617) 723-6733.
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