After battling business-lunch crowds at Viga, whose Byzantine lines would make even Einstein consult his slide rule, an acquaintance remarked: " You should have been here a few months ago ... before they reorganized things. " Like many downtown Boston eateries, Viga can be a victim of its own success. With no fewer than four separate take-out lines for pizza, pasta, and hot and cold sandwiches competing with three cash registers in minimal Downtown Crossing real estate, Viga demands patience and your best Vin Diesel " Grrrrr! " face.
But running the Viga gauntlet is rewarded with a solid New York deli-style menu that adds an urban-nouveau twist: traditional Italian fare such as pizza, lasagna, calzone, and pasta dishes mixed with hot and cold wraps and sandwiches. On the traditional side, the cheese-pizza slice ($1.90) doesnít disappoint, offering tangy tomato sauce and enough oil to make it tasty but not oozing. The eggplant parmesan ($5.25) contains chunks of whole tomato with breading that brings out the flavor of the crisp eggplant. We found less success with the lasagna of the day ($4.99), which on our visit was pasty, with too much ricotta.
Vigaís less-traditional sandwiches and wraps are assembled in the spirit of generosity. The Basilcata ($4.49) is packed with tuna, avocado spread, romaine, tomatoes, and red onions wrapped in focaccia bread. We were pleasantly surprised to find the flavorful tuna to be of the white-meat variety and the romaine and tomatoes crisp. The hot sauce in the Buffalo chicken wrap ($5.49) would do any upstate New Yorker proud, though an abundance of white rice and the whole-wheat wrap would probably leave Buffalo locals scratching their heads.
For all intents and purposes, Viga is a take-out joint, despite its small nod toward sit-down dining by way of providing seating for 20. Since this area of the city is all business anyway, the appreciative office workers who flock to Viga five days a week donít seem to mind spiriting their lunches away to other locations.
Viga Italian Eatery, located at 291 Devonshire Street, in Boston, is open Monday through Friday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call (617) 482-1113. Viga also has locations at 133 Pearl Street and 304 Stuart Street, both in Boston.