Boston Restaurant Blog -- May, 2012
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Several years ago, I made a couple of trips over to La Scala, an Italian restaurant on Route 28 in Randolph. The food I had there was generally decent Italian-American fare, though it wasn't outstanding by any means, and over the past few years I had been hearing of some "downhill alerts" from people I know. Recently, however, the downhill alerts have mostly gone away and I've heard of some very good experiences at the place once again (including a big thumbs-up from a friend who grew up in the North End and knows his Italian food). So we went to La Scala a few days ago to check it out and my return trip there was definitely more impressive than my earlier times at this popular local spot.
La Scala is your classic sprawling old-school Italian restaurant that attracts a diverse crowd ranging from retirees to businesspeople to young couples to large families. The main room is huge, with tables of all sizes set up, while the bar area is inviting and comfortable. A more private-feeling room can be found toward the back in the left section of the building, and it looks like more of a function room than a dining room, with the capability of having long tables set up for at least 20 to 30 people. Even though the restaurant is carpeted, it can get rather loud and there is a lot of hustle and bustle going on, especially in the main room and the bar.
Our recent trip to La Scala took place fairly late on a weekend night, and the place was absolutely packed. We had to wait approximately 30-40 minutes, which allowed us to kick back at the bar with some mint juleps (it was Kentucky Derby weekend, after all). The drinks were quite good--though perhaps just a tad stronger than I'm used to--and the bartender was friendly and pleasant, chatting with us on and off during the time we were there. We eventually were called for our table which was in the aforementioned back room, and while there were two very large parties of people on opposite ends of the room, it was generally quiet enough for us to hear ourselves talk. While we were being served some bread, we asked them for something that is not on their menu (it's a secret that the locals know)--a thick, pungent garlic dipping sauce that makes their otherwise basic bread absolutely delicious. We also ordered a Caesar salad and a tomato, mozzarella, and basil salad, both of which were satisfying (the former had a particularly nutty sauce from the amount of anchovies used, while the latter had a bright, minty taste from the basil leaves). Our main dishes included a wonderful plate of house-made gnocchi in a decent tomato sauce and a rich-tasting "chicken exquisito," which featured thin strips of chicken breast dipped in egg and cheese, and sauteed in butter, brandy, and marsala. Our server was every bit as affable as our bartender had been, and she never forgot about us, even though the place was buzzing with people.
So does La Scala match up with some of the best Italian restaurants in Boston? Probably not, but based on our visit there a few days ago, it seems to be one of the best choices in the suburbs for those who like old-fashioned red-sauce places (and the atmosphere is nicer than many in this category as well). It's probably too popular to be considered a hidden gem, but if you are looking for casual place to go to south of the city, I would certainly recommend this restaurant.
If you are looking for the address and phone number to La Scala, here it is: La Scala, 1070 North Main Street (Route 28), Randolph, MA 02368; the phone number is (781) 963-1700.
Best Italian food outside of Boston. Everything is delicious, specifically the Gnocchi, Veal Cutlet Parmesan, Mussels Marinara.
Posted on 7/9/12
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