A beloved Boston-based restaurant chain is now offering regional Italian cuisine at South Shore Plaza in Braintree.Text by Kellie Speed
Pictured above: Davio’s Long Bone Rib-Eye Steak
Thirty-three years after Steve DiFillippo purchased a little restaurant called Davio’s in Boston, the restaurateur’s team announced the long-awaited opening of the ninth Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse location (the fifth in Massachusetts) in Braintree.
Located on the lower level of South Shore Plaza in a spot that was once home to Joe’s American Bar & Grill, there’s barely a trace of the restaurant’s predecessor. Extensive renovations include relocating the bar, doubling the patio size, moving the restrooms upstairs and adding private function rooms. There is seating for up to 350 and a chef’s table overlooking a large, open kitchen.
On a recent visit, my friend and I were greeted with a basket of warm popovers. Our experienced server, Anthony, who hails from the Boston location, reviewed the menu with us and pointed out his recommendations and a few of the brand’s most popular dishes.
Davio’s menu features raw bar selections, antipasti, signature appetizers and pasta dishes as well as steak and seafood options. Appetizers can be ordered in half-size portions so you can try a few, relatively guilt-free. I recommend starting off with the crispy fried oysters served atop creamy homemade tartar sauce and topped with baby lettuce, tomato and chopped bacon.
And you can’t go wrong by ordering the restaurant’s signature spring roll appetizer, which is available in several different flavors (chicken parmesan, Reuben, shrimp cotija and even buffalo chicken). Davio’s has such a cult following for these flaky spring rolls that many local retailers now sell them. My personal favorite is the Philly cheese steak variety topped with golden onion rings. If you can’t decide on a flavor, a spring roll sampler includes one of each kind.
The Bolognese, one of the restaurant’s most popular dishes, is a rich and savory combination of braised veal, pork and beef in a delicious tomato sauce, served atop buttery tagliatelle noodles. We also tried the 24-ounce bone-in ribeye, cooked Pittsburgh style (charred on the outside) per our request, with a warm, medium-rare center. The steak paired perfectly with a bottle of Alexander Valley cabernet.
Other entrées include a 10-ounce center cut filet, a 16-ounce Niman Ranch double-cut pork chop and an enormous veal chop. For seafood lovers, there are Georges Bank scallops, Atlantic cod and yellowfin tuna. Steaks and seafood are served à la carte, so be sure to try a few sides (large enough for sharing) such as the creamy mashed potatoes, crisp goat cheese puffs, roasted Brussel sprouts or sautéed green beans.
Lastly, you want to be sure to save room for the grand finale—dessert. Guests can make a selection from the rolling dessert cart, which displays sweet treats like crème brûlée and chocolate molten cake.
Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse
250 Granite St., Braintree