On June 20, 2013, Nebo opened in its new location on Atlantic Avenue, just next door to Trade. The restaurant, owned by sisters Carla and Christine Pallotta, was originally located in the North End before moving to its new location. Their mother and grandmother’s classic Italian recipes inspired them to first open the restaurant in 2005.
Last week I was invited to check out Nebo’s gluten free menu with Amelia from Altus Marketing & Management. We had such a great night. I really liked the open layout and the industrial décor. It was a bit noisy, and there were times we had to strain to here each other. Nebo also offers outside seating along Atlantic Ave.
While I was there I met both sisters, who informed me that Nebo has a dedicated gluten-free section of their kitchen, and have made sure that their staff is well-trained.
Nebo offers an extensive gluten free menu, complete with appetizers, pasta dishes, entrees, and pizzas. Although I do commend them for having so many gluten free options (including fried calamari), I am still put-off by the $3 surcharge for gluten-free pasta and $4 surcharge for the pizza.
We shared the gluten-free lardo pizza as an appetizer. Made with lardo (a type of Italian charcuterie—think gourmet salami), wild mushrooms, caramelized onions, sage, and mozzarella, it was absolutely delicious! The crust had a great texture and taste. The crust was crunchy and not gooey in the middle, which happens a lot with gluten free pizza. Their trick is that they cook the dough first, without anything on it, then add the toppings and finish it in the oven. I will have to remember this when I make pizza at home! If you are willing to spend the money ($19-22) then I highly recommend ordering one of their 8 gluten free pizzas.
For my entrée, I ordered the pasta Bolognese, made with slow braised meat ragu, tomato sauce and pecorino cheese. I really liked the type of pasta they use (I don’t know what brand it is); it had a great taste and great texture, and was cooked perfectly. The Bolognese was pretty good as well, but I wasn’t blow away by any means, and I still couldn’t get over the fact that this dish was $26 if ordered gluten free.
Overall I did enjoy my experience at Nebo. I loved the all-around friendly-vibe of the restaurant and its staff, and the bar area seems like a great place to grab drinks with friends or coworkers after work. The one thing I do not like is when restaurants charge so much extra for gluten free options. A $1 or $2 up-charge is understandable, but anything more than that is hard to justify in my mind; it feels like they are taking advantage, rather than off-setting the cost of the ingredients. There are plenty of suitable gluten-free pizza and pastas available on the market, so it is not difficult to find one that is not so costly. So would I go back? Yes, I would go back for a drink and appetizer or to share a pizza, but it would have to be a special occasion for me to spend $20 on a pizza.