Welcoming smiles, the smell of spices simmering, and upbeat lounge music ushered me into a contemporary Italian dining experience I won’t soon forget. Sarto Restaurant opened in 2018 as a part of the Providence G luxury apartment building and G Hospitality, and a much-awaited reopening this past spring introduced a new outdoor patio.
The team at Sarto pride themselves in using locally sourced ingredients (some vegetables are grown right upstairs!) while still honoring the tradition of Italian cuisine, and creating a community-style experience. According to director of sales at G Properties Rebecca Miller, the food is “about friends and family, and is meant to be shared,” with an open concept bringing patrons and staff together, too.
Sarto means “tailor” in Italian (a homage to the building’s roots as the former Philip Wolfe Haberdashery) so it makes sense that they weave fine details into every offering, including their cocktail list. Seeking a light late-summer refreshment, a friend and I started with the Lavender Lemonade and Mango Mule mocktails. The former – which sipped like a health elixir with lemon juice and honey – featured a lovely lavender fragrance and delicate mix of tart and sweet flavors. The Mango Mule includes spicy ginger beer at the forefront with a hint of lime and sweet mango balancing it out.
All the food offerings make use of simple ingredients, so I was surprised by how much flavor was packed into each menu item that arrived. As he handed us the special of the night to start the meal off with, executive chef Andrew Capella explained his secret: “Great food doesn’t have to be complicated.” We dug into the dish – an artful arrangement of seasonal tomatoes in all hues garnished with green olives, red peppers, and toasted garlic, drizzled in olive oil.
For the main course, we opted for the popular Porchetta – an authentic Italian pork roast – and Pan-Seared Diver Sea Scallops. Served with polenta, the pork was savory with a crisp outside and juicy inside – soaking up the flavor of caramelized cipollinis (onions popular in Italian cuisine), salsa verde, and rosemary, it’s easy to see why this is a fan-favorite. The scallops didn’t disappoint either, with a seafood broth that warmed me inside while tucking into the delicious clams.
A round of aperitifs was in order before dessert. A-Malfy Coast teased with zesty citrus while the Summer Negroni flirted with a soft candy-like scent – both are excellent fruit-forward cocktails with strong liquors. However, my favorite was the Empower Sour, a lower-ABV choice named in homage to one of the first female entrepreneurs in Europe, Maria Scala Branca. Pleasingly complicated, a concoction of Fernet branca, egg white, orgeat, lime, and orange bitters brings together sour and sweet notes, with floral, herbal, and slightly woody essences.
A couple slices of cake were a delightful end to a beautiful evening. The limoncello cake was creamy, soft, and fluffy – a sweet lemon dessert topped with whipped cream and tart lemon garnish. A nice contrast, the chocolate cake was a rich offering with semi-sweet creamy chocolate in the middle.
With each dish memorable and unique in its own way, it was hard to name a favorite part of this culinary journey with Sarto. For lovers of modern Italian dining that makes you feel like you’re part of the family, it’s a can’t-miss.
Sarto Restaurant • 86 Dorrance Street
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