Where to Chef Ronsky’s, in a sliver of a place next to the Star Market in Chestnut Hill.
Why Beautifully prepared Italian food made by seasoned restaurateur Ron Suhanosky. He’s turning out plates you would find at a destination trattoria in Italy.
The Back Story Suhanosky, who goes by Chef Ronsky, and his ex-wife Colleen Marnell-Suhanosky, ran Sfoglio, two chic Italian spots that began on the Upper East Side in New York and expanded to Nantucket (she now owns Rifrullo Cafe in Brookline). He started Ronsky’s as a pop-up breakfast and lunch cafe three years ago; it eventually became permanent. He hosted private dinners before changing the concept, renovating the place last month to accommodate 14 seats inside (four at a marble bar overlooking the kitchen) and 10 outside, and become a more polished day and evening restaurant.
What to Eat Everything is Italian (part of the chef ’s heritage). On the antipasti menu is schiacciata (“smash”), a light and incredibly delicious focaccia dimpled with olive oil, topped with fine shreds of zucchini before baking, and sprinkled with more oil. Arancini, traditional rice balls, perfectly round and golden, crisp outside and creamy inside, are served on saffron aioli. Little puffs of ricotta gnocchi are tossed with lamb ragu and pistachio pesto. Sciue sciue (“hurry, hurry,” which Italian nonnas would tell their children), is a quick tomato sauce with pasta. The fish of the day, perhaps branzino, comes in parchment paper with chickpea puree, broccolini, and cherry tomatoes. A stunning fruit crostata of berries and peaches, for two, is topped with two scoops of homemade basil gelato.
What to Drink All-Italian wines on a list that is so unusual, there probably isn’t another line-up like it in the region. Uncommon varietals include Albanello (Sicily), Fiano Minutolo (Campania), Bovale (Sardinia), and Nero di Troia (Puglia). You’ll also find a small Italian beer list.
The Takeaway A beautiful wall of antique plates is the backdrop for small tables so close they almost touch. You’ll know the other diners by the end of the night. Outside, where you can order the full menu, voluptuous planters of herbs enclose two long tables. Jeannie Rogers is waiting tables; she might look familiar from Il Capriccio and other top spots (she was also an owner of the wine importer/distributor Adonna Imports). Tableware looks leftover from granny; thick, stemless wine glasses seem shatterproof. The aesthetic here is sophisticated, classic food and drink. Suhanosky has brought his smart Upper East Side cooking to an oversized closet in Chestnut Hill.
3A Boylston St., Chestnut Hill, www.chefronskys.com, 617-903-2159Sheryl Julian can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @sheryljulian.