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Scoozi Tastes Good, Looks Great

Pasta, prosciutto, panini, pizza, served without pretention

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My first impression of Scoozi was that entrance to the Newbury Street restaurant required a spray tan and a pair of giant designer sunglasses. And I wondered if its new outpost on Comm. Ave., with the suede seating, shiny marbled countertops, and modern light fixtures, would be any different.

But it’s never a good idea to judge a book by its cover, because while the new Scoozi — across from the School of Management at the old Z-Square spot — is chic, it’s also fuss-free, well-priced, and good. Well-executed classic Italian café fare dominates here, and the service is welcoming, considerate, and unpretentious.

Both of my visits were at lunchtime, when the menu, which is the same as its Newbury sibling, offers an expansive selection of salads, pastas, pizzas, and panini. In fact, Scoozi offers 16 kinds of panini. I opted for the prosciutto version, which presses the cured meat with mozzarella, tomato, basil, and pesto inside a crispy French baguette. The prosciutto provided a salty bite to counter the sweeter mozzarella and tomato, but the middle of the sandwich was disappointingly cold.

The spaghetti with meatballs and sauce was served al dente, but the sauce, which was more of a meat sauce than a sauce with meatballs in it, was overly sweet and too thin for the hearty pasta. An extra handful of salty Parmesan would have added some texture.

The sauce was better suited for dunking garlic bread, which Scoozi offers in four tasty varieties. The plain is an excellent value, with four large, crispy pieces soaked in butter and sprinkled with chili powder (and lots of garlic, of course). The bruschetta version is topped with diced tomato and served with shaved Parmesan on a bed of greens.

The pizza looks delicious, but only cheese and pepperoni can be ordered by the slice. Diners who want the BBQ chicken pizza, with roasted red peppers and caramelized onions, or the shrimp scampi, with garlic shrimp, spinach, and diced tomato, will have to spring for a full eight-piece pie.

The food isn’t particularly innovative at Scoozi, and it’s not supposed to be. Dishes are simple and good, and the ingredients are fresh. Service is superb. When my fellow diner and I asked to share a salad, it came separately portioned, no questions asked. Each half of a split panini was served in its own basket and flanked by its own bag of chips — no extra charge. A free refill of soda appeared just as I took my last sip.

With service like that, we’ll be back.

Prices: $4 for garlic bread; $12.95 for spaghetti with meatballs and sauce.
Scoozi, 580 Commonwealth Ave., Boston; 617-536-7777; www.scooziboston.com.

6 Comments

6 Comments on Scoozi Tastes Good, Looks Great

  • Anonymous on 05.06.2010 at 7:14 am

    Counterpoint

    I stopped by Scoozi during their opening week, and I’m wondering if we went into different restaurants. The consensus among my friends and me was that Scoozi is a more expensive and pretentious version of Z-Square.

    At $13, your spaghetti lunch will be the second most expensive lunch on campus behind Eastern Standard, and the panini that I had was indistinguishable from Bertucci’s except in price. The beer list was worse than, but just as expensive as, either the BU pub or Lower Depths.

    Maybe we can agree to disagree, but I was extremely disappointed when I saw Scoozi move into a location with so much potential.

  • Anonymous on 05.06.2010 at 9:37 am

    Yum...

    And they have tater tots, which are FANTASTIC! The portion is more than enough for a table to share.

  • Rachael on 05.06.2010 at 11:21 am

    esscoozmi? i thought it was great!

    haha.
    the caprese salad is amaaazing, and adding prosciutto makes it that much better. the risotto and dinner menu are delicious- and it is well priced, and there are TONS of $aving option$
    $2 pbr drafts tuesday nights, panini lunch specials, and student id discounts- ive been ordering takeout all finals wk from here. no, it isnt z square cafe because it is a restaurant, not a cafe, good food costs money! im going back, if you dont like it you dont have to. but you should. :)

  • Anonymous on 05.06.2010 at 1:24 pm

    I concur with Counterpoint. Food was mediocre at pretentious prices.

  • Anonymous on 05.06.2010 at 3:37 pm

    Leah Mennies your writing never ceases to amaze me. By far my favorite writer for BU Today

  • Anonymous on 05.14.2010 at 9:50 pm

    Agree with Counterpoint

    I will have to agree with counterpoint. I went there a couple of weeks ago, and thought it was very pretentious. The waitress didn’t pay us much mind because we are college students, which is understandable in some senses, but please don’t be that transparent. I also just didn’t think the food was good. I got the steak pizza, but maybe if i had tried a panini or a salad I would have been more satisfied, because the pizza was made like a 12 year old had made it. I may go there again to see if perhaps I went on an off day and that is the reason my experience was so blah.

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