This week, the South End welcomes its newest restaurant from the Aquitaine Group, the much-anticipated Roman Trattoria Cinquecento.
The brand new Italian dinner and brunch spot is located at 500 Harrison Avenue in the SoWA area of the South End. It will feature a contemporary, casual feel, and a menu with an emphasis on traditional Roman cooking to incorporate seasonal, local and imported ingredients from Italy, according to its owners.
The restaurant was conceived to fill the need for an Italian neighborhood restaurant and gathering spot, according to founding chef and partner Seth Woods.
“We envisioned a comfortable, inviting restaurant reminiscent of neighborhood trattorias found in Rome," he said. "A place where friends will come several nights a week, no matter where they are coming from or going to. The menu will be steeped in the Roman roots of simplicity, custom and comfort.”
Diners can expect to find dishes like: Ricotta Fresca, warm ricotta, olive oil, grilled bread; Zuppa di Fagioli, Borlotti Bean Soup with Smoked Ham and Kale; Gnocchi al Sulgo di Cinghiale, Wild Boar, Golden Raisins, Pinoli and Pecorino; Saltimbocca di Vitello con Carvolo, Veal, Proscuitto, Cabbage Fonduta and Marsala and Porchetta Arrosto, Pork Belly, Roasted Parsnips and Date Suso.
And Cinquecento’s weekend brunch menu uses influences from Rome and other parts of Italy with dishes like: Bruschetta with Farm Egg, Pancetta & Candied Shallots; Roasted Mushrooms, Pancetta with Fried Farm Egg and Ricotta Salata; and Apple & Taleggio Panino with Honey Walnut Pesto, Roasted Porchetta Panino with Mostarda and Bitter Greens.
The wine program will feature an all-Italian wine list offering wines by the glass, quartino, carafe and bottles, and the cocktail program at Cinquecento can be described as "innovative" and "Roman inspired." The beer selection at Cinquecento will be divided into Italian, European and domestic brews both in bottles and on tap.
An interesting note is that coffee will play an important large role in the dining experience. A barista will turn out coffee and espresso to end each meal.
Eric Hogan, who was most recently general manager of Gaslight Brasserie will take the helm at Cinquecento. The chef de cuisine position will be filled by Justin Winters, most recently of Sorellina in Boston’s Back Bay.
The restaurant itself was designed to evoke an Italian sense of comfort, charm and style according to the owners. A striking illuminated cast iron and glass staircase greets guests and leads them to the main dining room and bar. The 126 seat main dining room features a rustic mix of reclaimed beams and bricks, biscuit tufted Italian leather banquettes and booths, traditional tables and two trattoria style communal tables. The curved, serpentine shaped bar is made of illuminated onyx and a striking black Italian marble top with 22 seats.
“We wanted the dining room to provide plenty of nooks and crannies that promote comfort and privacy while allowing the guest to be part of a much larger energetic atmosphere," said Woods.
Additionally, Cinquecento features a 56-seat private dining room with media capabilities and its own private bar for parties and work functions, and a 60-seat patio open during the warmer months.
With the opening of Cinquecento, the Aquitaine Group (made up of Woods, Matthew Burns, and Jeffery Gates) now operates eight restaurants in and around Greater Boston: Aquitaine Bar a Vin Bistro, Aquitaine Chestnut Hill , Aquitaine Dedham at Legacy Place, Gaslight Brasserie du Coin, Metropolis Café, Greenlight, and Union Bar and Grille.