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THIS RESTAURANT IS CLOSED La Bettola Restaurant Review

: THIS RESTAURANT IS CLOSED. Don't be fooled by the name: the only Italian things about La Bettola are the stunning simplicity of chef Rene Michelena's food and the cozy dining room that's a semi-industrial re-incarnation of a Roman alley way. In a town where every top chef seems to have worked for another one, Michelena is an eye-opening outsider. Wooed to Boston by La Bettola's effervescent Abruzzi-born owners, Marisa Iocco and Rita D'Angelo, he earned his stripes as the sous chef at both Chicago's Charlie Trotter's and LA's Patina. The bright splotches of purple on the walls and the palpable excitement of the waitstaff are perhaps the only tip-offs of the befuddling magic that flies out of the kitchen come dinnertime. Chef Michelena's uncanny ability to graft the wiles and wonders of one cuisine onto another is at times mind-boggling. He has a n artist's eye for plating and an anthropologist's understanding of other cultures---at least edible ones. Gyoza are Japanese dumplings which he stuffs with sweet yams and pairs with lush whipped Mascarpone and black truffles. Monkfish is layered into a whimsical lasagna and slathered with a proscuitto-fennel jam. Maine diver scallops reveal enveloping layers of flavor with lobster gnochettini, hedgehog mushrooms, and a red pepper-lobster bouillon. Pastry chef Maureen Kilpatrick's homey desserts are an ideal send-off after Michelena's light and lucid parade of modern flavors. We wish all top-tier restaurants could be as down-to-earth as this one.


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