307 Hanover St, between Prince and Richmond; North End; 617.742.0020
While an Italian feast is perfect for a night when all that’s expected of you is punching a newer, looser hole in your belt, there are nights when you might want to go out. For Italian that won’t necessarily gut-bomb you into oblivion, hit Ristorante Damiano.
From the family that opened Caffe dello Sport (and in the former Caffe Graffiti), Damiano’s a 40-seat, floor-to-ceiling-windowed, open-kitchen affair serving beer/wine and “piattini” — less stomach-intensive than big plates, less depressing sounding than “small plates”.
Mini meaty classics include Chicken Carbonara, Piccata, and Marsala, along with hand-cut 5 oz Angus filets done three ways (Black Garlic, Devil’s Sauce, Marsala) and something called a “Lamb Lollipop” — a grilled hunk of youthful sheep dipped in a pistachio crust, served with mint pesto and a friendly hair-tossle from your pediatrician.
Seafood’s highlighted by Calamari Fra Diavolo (spicy tomato basil, spaghettini) and Seared Sea Scallops (sweet grapefruit, chili pepper glaze, oyster mushrooms); if you’re going veggie, grab the Rapi Greens, a garlic-sauteed “light bitter Italian” green, bitter because they know you normally go for meat, making them nothing but a “pity eat”.
In further consideration of your stomach, Damiano’s doesn’t serve desserts or coffee, encouraging you to walk around enjoying the rest of what the North End has to offer: gelato, espresso, and hopefully, expansive belts.