Small Bite: Talk of the Town

Wellesley is abuzz about Alta Strada. But does it live up to the hype?

Try—we dare you—to get a table at Alta Strada on a Saturday night. It’s as if the joint were in SoWa, not little old Wellesley. “Come at 5:30 and we might have a walk-in table,” the hostess says cheerily. “Or 9:45.” In his first foray into the ’burbs, celeb chef Michael Schlow has successfully re-created city chic. The warmly lit, brick-walled trattoria, reminiscent of Schlow’s Via Matta in Park Square, offers a broad array of salads, pastas, and small antipasti plates—from which you can, and should, make a meal.

Many of the dishes are satisfying: Roasted zucchini with lemon and mint and the house-made ricotta demonstrated the triumph of simplicity, while mushroom-stuffed lune pasta managed to be delicate but still rich with meaty flavor. The calamari with chickpeas, on the other hand, was bland and dull, and the spaghetti, served with lovely fresh clams and tomato, was cooked in absurdly salty water. But such hiccups are inevitable at the newest “it” spot, and we’ll join the crowds again. That is, if we can get in.

92 Central St., Wellesley, 781-237-6100,