Scoozi Tastes Good, Looks Great
Pasta, prosciutto, panini, pizza, served without pretention
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.