Benedetto Opens at the Charles Hotel
If you’ve always had trouble getting a reservation at Porter Square’s acclaimed Giulia, there are 220 new seats to claim. Benedetto, the latest from chef/owner Michael Pagliarini and “a sister restaurant in every way” to Giulia, opens tonight at 5 p.m. at the Charles Hotel.
The acclaimed restaurant space is a big stage for Pagliarini’s regional, Italian cuisine; it was formerly Jody Adams’s Rialto.
“It’s an irresistible opportunity in a very special place in a neighborhood we know and love,” Pagliarini previously told Boston, and he and his wife and partner, Pamela Ralston, had wanted to grow their business and give employees new opportunities. “It seemed a natural way to grow and evolve for us.”
Megan McKinnon was part of the opening team at Giulia, then worked at Michael Schlow’s Doretta Taverna. She rejoins Pagliarini at Benedetto, where she is general manager and oversees a vertical wine program with a breadth of Italian varietals, including rare vintage reserve bottles, and a deep French champagne selection.
The pastry program is led by Renae Connolly, who created the Café ArtScience dessert program as opening pastry chef there. At Benedetto, she’ll offer classic Italian sweets and house-made gelatos, sorbettos, chocolates, and biscotti, to complement the hand-rolled pastas and other savories. Francisco Milan, most recently of Row 34, is chef de cuisine.
Glimpses at a menu from friends and family services show seasonal, rustic dishes like ricotta crostini with pomegranate, balsamic, and Sicilian pistachios; spicy grilled octopus with potato; yellowfin crudo with radish and citrus; and warm celery root and pear salad. Pastas, like spelt fusili, Glenn Flour linguine, and spiced pumpkin agnolotti, are the main focus, as at Giulia. There are also secondi, like grilled branzino, and roasted duck breast.
“Benedetto is inspired by the honesty and wisdom of traditional Italian regional cooking, and it is my hope each bite conveys that passion,” Pagliarini says in a press release.
Bentel & Bentel led the redesign, inspired by the “rural sophistication” of Umbria and Tuscany, the verdant region that influences Pagliarini’s cooking. It has exposed, airbrick walls, accented with warm reds and golds, plus black steel, copper, and natural walnut, alight from floor-to-ceiling windows.
The dining room is anchored by a 15-foot, white oak pasta table, which moonlights as an option for group dining, seating 12-16. Benedetto offers two private rooms, and come warmer months, the dining room will expand outside café-style dining.
Benedetto opens nightly from 5-11 p.m.
Benedetto, the Charles Hotel, 1 Bennett St., Harvard Square, Cambridge, 617-661-5050, benedettocambridge.com.