Restaurant Review: Doretta Taverna & Raw Bar

Posted February 9, 2016 by Erica Marchant in Dining Downtown: Restaurant Reviews
Chef Michael provides an extensive Greek menu. Photo courtesy of Doretta Taverna.

Foodie enthusiasts of Greek country-style taverns will love the charming old world menu at one of the newer additions to the Boston restaurant scene. Doretta Taverna and Raw Bar opened at The Heritage On the Garden in September and is run by Chef Michael Schlow. Doretta draws in customers with classic recipes from the Chef’s wife, Adrienne, and her family’s traditions.

Reminiscent of a Greek bohemian revival with the magnetism of the New Age, the entire Taverna is decked out with custom artistic imagary designed by Adrienne Schlow. Adrienne’s wall art, lighted installations, and the mural—a 60-foot-long piece painted by hand –intermingles with the modest, fresh, locally caught and bought creations designed by Chef Michael.

While a traditional Greek Taverna menu is smaller than a larger upscale dining establishment, Doretta’s menu is not short on selection. Chef Michael and his exceptional recipes appear in many food magazines such as Food & Wine and Gourmet. The chef created the culinary book “It’s About Time: Great Recipes for Everyday Life” and transformed kitchens all over the country.

Taking old-style cuisine and modernizing it with local culinary artistry,  Chef Michael creates an exceptional menu of comfort foods, homemade spreads, a crisp raw bar, and a medley of fresh fish and meat, all sourced from local vendors.

doretta taverna

Doretta Taverna is located at 79 Park Plaza. Photo courtesy of Doretta Taverna.

We made it into the city for an 8:30 pm reservation and were lucky enough to get a table with the view of Park Plaza and the backdrop of Boston’s first, rather minimal, snow storm of the season.

Our evening started off with a selection of custom cocktails from the four-sided bar that is the heart of the taverna. From the Raw Bar we chose the black bass ceviche made with tomato, fennel and oregano and off the homemade spreads list we chose the roasted eggplant with walnuts, red pepper, and feta. Both were phenomenal. The roasted eggplant spread was the best thing on our table. I could have ordered three platters.

As a second course, we opted for a mix of small plates including the traditional Greek grape leaves and stepped outside our comfort zone with the grilled octopus. First, the octopus was better than I expected and almost had a mesquite steak-like taste to it. On the other end, the grape leaves covered in a yogurt lemon sauce were disappointing. The sauce enhanced the flavor, but alone they were a bit bland.

For our final course, we chose the special of the evening (when in Greece, after all), the red snapper served head and tail intact in a lemon caper sauce and added a side of roasted brussel sprouts. The fish was perfect, tender, and tasty and a great size for the two of us to enjoy. I am looking forward to visiting again and trying the lamb meatballs next time.

Doretta Taverna is open for lunch weekdays from 11:30 am-2:30 pm with a bar menu served from 2:30 pm-5 pm,  and the dinner menu opening at 5 pm. The bar closes at 1 am giving you plenty of time to chat with friends, eat great food and enjoy the ambiance. Doretta in Boston is located where the old restaurant Via Matta, an Italian eatery and stark contrast to the Greek fare, used to be at 79 Park Plaza at The Heritage On the Garden. Contact them at 617-422-0008.