A First Look at Mast’ in Downtown Crossing
After months of construction delays, Mast’ in Downtown Crossing is finally set to open. The Southern Italian restaurant, on the ground floor of the 45 Province luxury condominium complex, is forecasting a launch date a “week after Labor Day,” according to co-owner Anthony DePinto.
“The process has been exhausting,” DePinto says, “The three of us [DePinto along with fellow owners John DeSimone and Marco Caputo] started this project well over two years ago. Right now, it looks like a reality and it feels exhilarating, but I’m not going to exhale until we open.”
Originally slated to open in March, Mast’ has repeatedly been pushed back because of problems with construction and a change in general contractors. Now the 4,000-square-foot restaurant is ready to unleash chef Celio Pereira’s brand of wood-fired pizza, Neapolitan street food, and house-made pasta.
“I’m really excited about the food and Chef Pereira,” DePinto says. “He spent 20 years in the North End and 17 years of those at Mamma Marias. The last three years at Restaurant Euno. I’ve had his food ten times now and I’m more and more impressed each time. We were fortunate to get him. We had two other gentlemen lined up and they walked away from the contract we put in front of them. Marco [Caputo] knew Celio from the North End and he wasn’t happy with where he was at the time. It was all happenstance and we’re coming out better because of it.”
Caputo, who worked as an executive chef in both Italy and Spain, collaborated with Pereira on conceptualizing the menu. Highlights include a pappardelle with wild boar ragu; veal osso bucco with polenta and a Barolo couli; and antipasti like Jerusalem artichokes stuffed with prosciutto. A section of street food includes beef-filled arancini, croquettes, and deep-fried pizzas, all of which will be served until 1:30 a.m. on weekends.
The real focal point of Mast’s menu though will be its selection of pizzas, made in a 900-degree Neapolitan oven that was hand-crafted in Naples. Pizzas can be churned out in little over two minutes with gourmet toppings like broccoli rabe, house-made sausage, Calabrese salami, and wild mushrooms.
“We bought our oven from the birthplace of pizza,” DePinto says. “It cost us more money to get it from Jersey than it did to ship the oven over from Naples. In Boston, we had to rent a crane to pick it off the back of a truck and swing it over through the French doors without breaking anything. It was terrifying.”
In addition to an intimate, 50-seat dining room and an outdoor patio that seats 35 guests, Mast’ will have a downstairs lounge with booths lining the wall and zinc-covered Scotch and wine lockers for complimentary bottle-keep service. “Unlike something you would see at a cigar bar, our patrons can rent locker space for free,” DePinto says. “So, if you come in one night and order a bottle of cognac or wine, and can’t finish it, it’ll be waiting for you the next time you swing by.”
Below is a look at Mast’s debut menu:
45 Province St., Boston; mastboston.com.