Earlier this month, Heather and I traveled to Massachusetts for a long weekend and arranged one full day in Boston. Heather visited Boston about a decade ago, but this was my first trip. Our schedule only gave us one night in Boston, so time was of the essence.
We debated a number of possible dinner options, hoping to take advantage of the different variety of seafood available up north. However, we spent the afternoon doing “The Dark Side of Boston” tour and found ourselves quite hungry at the end of the tour. Our tour guide recommended Piccolo Nido, a small Italian spot close to the end of our tour. Our guide explained that Piccolo Nido wasn’t terribly fancy, but the food was excellent. Plus, they make their own pasta. SOLD!
We started with the antipasti Piccolo Nido, an excellent selection of meats, cheeses, and olives. As we settled in with our antipasti, our server, Miguel, stopped in a few times to check on us and we started a conversation about his home in Southern Italy, about Boston, and about Piccolo Nido. Miguel shared stories of his hometown and his time in Boston, our conversation turned to the restaurant. Our server explained that the owner of the restaurant, Pino, is quite a character. The stories flowed from his memory and quenched our thirst for an authentic connection to this place and to this restaurant.
As our plates of gnocchi, topped with a light tomato sauce arrived, Pino arrived. There’s no easy way to explain Pino… He is, simply, a character. As we enjoyed the pillowy gnocchi, delicate and fresh, Pino joined us. With no other diners in the restaurant, we had Pino’s undivided attention. Pino explained that he’s a bit of a shaman, gifted with some sort of a sixth sense and the ability to foretell the future.
As Pino continued to regale us with this stories, our main course arrived. The veal marsala was perfect. Thin veal cutlets, perfectly flattened and tender, browned in a simple wine sauce with fresh mushrooms exploded with flavor. Such a simple dish, you might imagine, but the complexity of a simple dish done well is astounding.
As Miguel cleared our secondi plates, Pino started into the story of how he helped the Boston Red Sox win the World Series. Pino, it seems, predicted the 2007 win and blessed the Red Sox before the series. However, the Sox never returned to thank Pino for his blessing, and their 2007 success disappeared. No matter how strong their team, they just couldn’t clinch the win after 2007. In 2013, Pino and the Red Sox reconciled and Pino again blessed the team, removing the malocchio (Italian for evil eye) and allowing the Sox to win the series again in 2013.
Pino’s predictive and protective services aren’t available only for baseball fans. The Bruins and many other teams visit Piccolo Nido before important games to receive a blessing from Pino.
And, just in case the story seems a bit far-fetched, Pino proudly displayed his official World Series ring, the only ring given to an Italian-born individual:
And, in case you can’t see that in detail:
So, if you find yourself in Boston, you need to stop by Piccolo Nido. If you arrive and there are tables open, don’t ask if you need a reservation. Trust me, just don’t ask. And tell Pino that Eric and Heather said hello!