There are only a (small) handful of things that I actually like about winter. For starters, I actually do like snow but it's a conditional love affair in that I only like it when it's falling, swirling around giving everything, especially trees, a crisp, white glow. This condition is furthered by the fact that I only like it when I'm inside and can admire it's beauty, preferably with mass amounts of candles lit and a glass of red in hand. If I have to be out in the snow or it spoils my plans, all bets are off. Next on my short list of wintertime likes is a big bowl of a hearty, stick-to-your gut kind of soup, something that you just can't enjoy in those warmer months. My list rounds out with other heavier fare, braises, chilies and stews, etc. but to me, a hearty bowl of soup is tops.
Still new to the South End dining scene, Cinquecento (which literally translates to "500" in Italian, which is the restaurants address on Harrison Street) is sleek to say the least. With its bold red awning and painted brick walkway, both proudly bearing the "Cinquecento" name, the attention to detail, from the catchy marketing, by way of vibrantly printed glossy menus and slim matchbooks, to the restaurant's grand staircase and uniquely shaped metal hostess stand, there's a certain chicness and sexiness to it all. The restaurant is dimly lit to "allow couples to escape for an intimate second, yet still remain part of the greater environment", boasts this eatery's website. Once we made our way to our table, a simple tea light candle and tiny terracotta ramekin filled with salt were there to greet us, along with crusty Italian bread and some good, sharp Olive Oil for dipping.
Since the focus of the evening's visit was to sample the soup and report back for the folks at What's the Soup, I ordered the Zuppa di Fagioli ($7.50), which is a combination of Borlotti Beans, Smoked Ham and Kale. The soup arrived hot and I dug right in, dipping bits of bread into the the soup's rich and smoky broth. There was an abundance of beans and torn pieces of Kale. The soup was incredibly filling and perfectly satisfying for a chilly, winter night. Overall, I totally dug the atmosphere at Cinquecento and would happily return for a cocktail or a bite.