Hot Pot

A celebrity chef creates a fondue that will make you melt.

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hef Barbara Lynch’s Italian restaurant, Sportello, has gotten slightly less attention than its older siblings, No. 9 Park, the Butcher Shop, and B&G Oysters. It deserves more for the signature Fontina fonduta alone. This simple Fontina cheese fondue stands apart thanks to its superb ingredients—intensely spiced, thick salami, caramelized leeks, soft potatoes, and crusty bread—that are perfect for dipping, alone or all together. Sportello (that’s Italian for “counter service”) stands on fresh, superb ingredients in all of its simple appetizers, pasta, panini, and entrees, served on sleek, chic, white diner-style countertops before an open kitchen. Everything is made in-house, including all the pastas. Another secret: You can buy the sweets and breads made in the street-level bakery to take away, along with organic Peruvian coffee and espresso, loose teas, hot chocolate, and breakfast pastries, and sandwiches, soups, pastas, and salads for lunch. Tuder

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A South Boston native, chef Barbara Lynch got a job at 13 cooking in a church rectory. She later worked under chef Todd English before opening No. 9 Park to wide acclaim, and by 2003 was named best chef in the Northeast by the James Beard Foundation. Lynch also owns Drink, the cocktail bar downstairs.

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