full stomachs; full hearts
"Eat and eat and eat until it makes you feel pretty". Alberto chanted this (or a close rendition of) in Italian to my friend and I as he presented us each new dish. If only stuffing your face with food made you more beautiful…
Let's first talk about the cuisine at Spiga: delizioso! Seriously - as I have mentioned before my family is from Sicily and I grew up on authentic Italian cuisine. The food at Spiga was unbelievable, unique, and genuine. Executive Chef Giulio Fulgenzi carefully enhances traditional custom dishes and authenticates them based on his own childhood memories growing up in Piedmont, Italy.
My friend and I ate so much at Spiga during our visit. So much so that rather than reviewing each dish, I will just describe particularly noteworthy dishes (our favorites):
Dish: Lamb sausage with white grapes and roasted pepper in a white wine sauce. This dish was amazing. The white grapes were served whole, though they were skinned and warmed. The grapes were an exceptional pairing with the lamb, and brought some sweetness to the savory taste of the dish.
Dish: Homemade angel hair pasta in a spicy tomato sauce with blue crab and Maine lobster. The angel hair was perfectly executed- definitely had the 'homemade' feel and was cooked el dente. The lobster meat (a full tail) was fresh.
Dish: Chestnut pappardelle pasta with wild boar ragù. I was pleasantly surprised to learn this dish was not squid ink pasta (which is what I assumed it was when first served). It was similar in appearance to squid ink due to the nutty flavors in the chestnut. My friend and I enjoyed this dish greatly not only because it tasted delicious, but because it was a one of a kind recipe. I had never heard of or eaten anything quite like this.
Dish: Half rack of lamb with a chestnut honey Chianti reduction served with roasted sweet potato and roasted vegetables. This dish was more traditional. What was noteworthy was the tenderness of the lamb. It was cooked to perfection.
Dish: Poached pear saturated in Barlo wine stuffed atop filo dough served with English custard and a Barlo wine reduction. Chef Giulio explained this is a traditional dessert from Piedmont. Honestly this was so good - it was my favorite thing we tasted that evening. The pear was so incredibly sweet - the wine reduction was evident and balanced out the sour in the fruit.
As you can imagine, my friend and I were so unbelievably full that it was hard to breathe. More full than our stomachs, however, were our hearts.
Alberto, the maitre'd, took care of us all evening with special service and attentiveness to ensure we were relaxed and enjoying our dinner. I noticed throughout the evening that Alberto treated every customer like us - with special care and consideration. His kindness radiated.
Additionally, Chef Giulio joined my friend and I at our table and we chatted for a few minutes about his culinary inspirations, childhood in Piedmont, and his culinary hopes for the future. He is such a talented man who cooks straight from the heart - his passion and expertise was exemplified in each plate that we sampled.
All in all - I encourage you all to make the trip to Spiga Ristorante (located in Needham Heights). If the location troubles you, rest assured. It only took my friend and I twenty minutes to get from Boston proper (the South End) to Spiga. The ride was very easy.
To all staff at Spiga - grazie, grazie, grazie. I will absolutely be back very soon with my family to share your Italian spirit!
For more information about Spiga, check out their website or follow them on Instagram @spigaristorante. You can also follow Chef Giulio on Instagram @chefgiulio81.