EVERETT — It’s a rainy autumn night. Where to go for satisfying comfort food?
We recently tried the new Chianti Ristorante Italiano on Hewitt Avenue in Everett and found it to be all we imagined. If you’re headed to Village Theatre’s opening (page 8) on Friday, this is an easy stop.
Offering Neapolitan-style pizza and a nice range of traditional Italian fare, Chianti has an understated shop front. Inside, you can sit among the white tablecloths or at the bar. Three mismatched, dimly lit chandeliers hang over the main dining room, rendering it cozy and relaxed.
My friend Scott, who I was interviewing for another story, joined me to check it out.
We started with glasses of the Tuscan wine Carpineto Dogajolo, which is a fruity, Sangiovese-based medium-body red ($9), and a plate of bread that we dipped into garlicky olive oil and a sweet balsamic vinaigrette.
Scott ordered pappardelle alla salsiccie for $16. The broad pasta noodles called pappardelle reminded me of fettuccine, but even bigger. Evidently the pasta’s name has something to do with the act of gobbling one’s food. Good name, because it was that good. The rosa sauce included sausage, onions, garlic, chili flakes and olives, all topped with a generous dollop of feta cheese.
“The chili gives it a kick, but the feta makes it rich,” Scott said.
I had the cannelloni al forno for $18. Three cannelloni shells were stuffed with ground beef, parmesan, garlic and spinach in a tomato sauce. The wait staff said it is the closest thing on the menu to lasagna, which is one of my comfort favorites.
The sauce was delicious and satisfying, and the cannelloni just the right level of tender.
Next time I visit Chianti, I will try the pappardelle pesto e gamberetti, which includes housemade pesto, shrimp, garlic and light cream for $17.
The most expensive of the pasta dishes is the linguini al frutti di mare (mussels, clams, calamari, shrimp) for $22, and the least expensive is the spaghetti alla putanesca for $15.
Later I kicked myself for not ordering a salad, which I won’t skip next time. Choose from a Caesar ($7) or (for $11 each) the barbietola rossa (beets, goat cheese, orange slices), insalata Mediterranean or the caprese classico (mozzarella, tomato, basil and balsamic vinegar.)
The antipasto plates look good, too, including a simple bruschetta ($8), calamari ($14), and prawns ($15) cooked with garlic, onions, white wine, tomatoes and topped with basil.
In fact, one might consider ordering a bunch of small plates, pasta and salads to share with your dining companions.
If you go for a big meal, however, the wait staff will recommend the pollo marsala ($22), vitello parmessan (breaded veal, $22), salmone incrosta de patate (potato-crusted salmon filet, $24), or one of the ($30 steak) filetto plates — pepper, pistachio or truffle-topped. Rack of lamb ($28) and pork chops ($22) are among the other choices.
Don’t ignore the pizzas. Chianti has a wood-fired oven where these tasty 12-inch pies are baked. They range in price from $12 to $18, and include Margherita, pepperoni, contandina (salami, Italian sausage) and prosciutto e funghi (mozzarella, ham and mushrooms.)
At an Italian restaurant, there’s probably no better way to end a meal than with a slice of tiramisu. Chianti’s is light, creamy and covered in chocolate. Delizioso!
The Mersini family owns Chianti, which they opened following the success of their Vista Lago restaurant in Kirkland.
Chianti Ristorante Italiano
1712 Hewitt Ave., Everett; chianti-everett.com; 425-595-5147.
Hours: 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday; noon-10 p.m. Saturday; 3-9 p.m. Sunday.
Alcohol: Full bar.