Globe South Dining Out

Davio's brings A game to Patriot Place spot

Davio's offers a selection of homemade desserts. Davio's offers a selection of homemade desserts. (ELLEN ALBANESE/GLOBE STAFF)
November 2, 2008
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One Patriot Place, Foxborough
Lunch, 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. daily; dinner, 5-10 p.m., Sunday to Thursday; 5- 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday
Reservations recommended
Major credit cards accepted

There's a palpable energy here, a pride of place. Everyone who greeted us at Davio's, from the host to our servers, seemed determined to make sure we had not only a great meal, but a great experience in their restaurant.

The dining room is designed to look like its sister restaurant in Boston's Park Square. There's a welcoming lounge with upholstered furniture and a bar that looks into a long, open kitchen. Tuscan browns and golds dominate, tables are set with crisp white linens, and a banquette lines one wall. With bare wood floors and minimal window treatments, there's little to absorb sound and the restaurant tends to be loud.

When we visited in September, general manager Paul Flaherty told us the dining room had been full every night since the restaurant opened a month earlier.

For many restaurants, this would be a reason to refuse to take reservations, but Flaherty said Davio's prefers reservations. "It gives us more control," he said. "It makes it easier for us to provide a good overall experience." How refreshing!

Davio's offers an agile, flexible menu with composed plates, build-your-own options, and a five-course tasting menu. We started with a complimentary relish tray of olives, eggplant tapenade, and a just-spicy-enough red pepper goat cheese spread.

Arugula salad ($8) was light and lemony, with nutty, fresh arugula, and paper-thin slices of fresh Parmesan.

Fettuccine carbonara with butter-poached lobster ($27) was unbelievably rich and loaded with lobster. The creamy cheese sauce coated the homemade pasta perfectly, and a dash of red pepper gave the dish a subtle zing. Carbonara can sometimes be salty, but this was not the case with this version.

Pan-seared sea scallops ($22), featuring five fat scallops in their own juices, was good, but not transporting. We added a side of creamy mashed potatoes ($6), rich and homemade.

I began my five-course tasting menu ($65) with a selection of prosciutto, Parmesan, and dates that arrived on a wooden tray. The sweet dates were a nice foil for the salty prosciutto and cheese. A second course of potato gnocchi, wild mushrooms, shaved Parmesan, and truffle oil was satisfying and earthy.

Next came seared tuna with a cracked peppercorn crust, caramelized fennel, and balsamic vinegar. Served with a sweet corn risotto, it melted on the tongue. The entrée was a tender skirt steak with a nice smoky flavor, served with port wine sauce, haricots verts, and striking, pistachio-green scallion mashed potato. The restaurant serves only Brandt beef, and the chicken and pork are all organic, our waitress said.

After admiring the dessert tray of homemade confections, we shared the three mini-desserts that made up the last course of the tasting menu. Fallen chocolate lava cake was intense, with a soft chocolate center. Chocolate semifreddo reminded us of frozen frosting, and panna cotta garnished with fresh strawberries was rich and eggy.

Service was impeccable. Our waitress cheerfully explained the large menu and brought extra small plates and utensils so we could share. Our three entrees arrived with three waiters, so that all were placed before us with a simultaneous, almost choreographed, flourish. We had a good meal at Davio's - but more than that, we had a good time. ELLEN ALBANESE

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