Late last year Cinquecento opened in Boston’s South End to much fanfare. The restaurant has quickly developed a loyal following but last weekend they started serving brunch so I went over to sample the new menu. I’d love to be coy, but I can’t — everything about Cinquecento’s brunch impressed me — and one need only look at my initial review of this restaurant to realize I don’t pull punches if the food or service isn’t up to par.
My biggest gripe with brunch in Boston is that nearly every restaurant has the same menu — French toast, omelettes, eggs benedict, etc… Cinquecento has a completely fresh take inserting new and tasty options that will bring me back often. The menu is divided into pastries ($3 each or a basket for $15); smaller first plates which includes items like crepes with lemon ricotta and honey ($7.25); egg plates like their roasted mushroom, pancetta and fried eggs ($12.75); salads & breads like the tempting looking grilled cheese with apples and a honey walnut pesto ($8.75); and finally pasta dishes which are the most expensive items on the menu ranging from $14 – $17.The crepes are great to share or have for brunch, but the pastry basket is a definite must try if you are with a group. While the homemade donuts were good, my favorite item was the cornetto which are round with a soft center that has baked ricotta and lemon that melts in your mouth and was so good with my coffee I’ve been craving them ever since.
I opted to try Cinquecento’s Uova in Camicia – truffled polenta with poached eggs and fontina cheese ($12.75). The polenta was rich and creamy (even Sergio who doesn’t particularly care for polenta scooped extras) and the poached eggs were cooked to perfection. The crusty Italian bread added a bit of crunch to all that creamy deliciousness.
The variety and quality of the food combined with the reasonable price point and convenience of having free parking all but guarantees Cinquecento will be a popular place to grab brunch so check it out before the crowds arrive.