Some restaurants are all about grand statements. Others, like this sophisticated Clarendon bistro, communicate in striking details.
The bread basket not only resurrects a forgotten piece of Americana—anadama bread, a wondrous union of cornmeal and molasses—but comes with butter bearing perfectly deposited flakes of fleur de sel.Ethiopian coffee is served French-press-style—with a timer to let you know when it’s properly steeped.
The menu is informed by the dual identities of chef Liam LaCivita’s education as an Italian in New England—wood-fired pizzas, garlic bread with provolone, lots of seafood. His smart embellishments vault his dishes above mere comfort food: Mussels are ramped up with smoked-tomato broth and fennel pollen, onion rings are fried in duck fat, and branzino is made sumptuous with cauliflower purée and creamed oranges. Don’t miss: Pasta fagioli soup; smoked salmon with potato fritters; crispy shrimp and Ipswich clams; Vermont pizza (cheddar, prosciutto, caramelized onions, and apples); tagliatelle with beef-veal-and-pork ragu; roast chicken with mashed-potato gratin; potato champ (Irish mashed potatoes) with bacon; Coca-Cola cake. Open: Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday and Sunday for brunch and dinner. Moderate.