MAST’ operative to master a craft

January 13, 2015 - table lamp

The initial thing one sees on entering Downtown Crossing grill MAST’ is a pizza oven. It is a stately beast, alien from a aged country. In a fiery maw, a cake goes from mix to finished like that. The pizza builder is also alien from a aged country, a gaunt man in a white T-shirt, mouth set in a true line of concentration. This is no hammy pizzeria-window show. He is working.

This is a initial thing one sees, and one needn’t demeanour further. The pies are a best charity during MAST’. The mix has structure; a membrane is charred only enough. The O’MAST pizza, surfaced with tomato, fior di latte mozzarella, prosciutto, and crema di ricotta, is ideally satisfying. The Alla Diavola, with salami, fior di latte, and arrabiata tomato sauce, is tasty nonetheless amiable rather than devilish. Only a furious fungus cake is a disappointment. It has been trained — it appears to be surfaced with standard-issue grocery store mushrooms, cottony and bland, nonetheless a billed white truffle oil.

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So sequence pizza. Have a drink. Hang out during a bar, or by a pizza bar, or in a downstairs loll area. The grill — black with copper accents, a space forged adult by columns and walls — works good for this. But in charity an ambitiously prolonged menu of Italian snacks, salads, antipasti, pasta dishes, categorical courses, sides, and desserts, MAST’ bites off some-more than it can chew.

Beef meatballs one night are dry, nonetheless they come with lovely, dainty tomato sauce. An appetiser of burrata and prosciutto di Parma is drizzled with balsamic and fig reduction, visually appealing and delicious, featuring good mixture simply prepared (even if a kitchen skimps on a prosciutto). Arancini spin out to be one unaccompanied boiled rice ball, nonetheless it is giant, pressed with beef, peas, and mozzarella and served cute, in a tiny frying basket. A side of grilled “seasonal” vegetables (zucchini?) are easily hazed and good salted.

On an early visit, a casarecce pomodoro is a pared-back pleasure: twists of house-made pasta with splendid tomato sauce, ricotta, basil, and garlic, fresh-tasting and easily seasoned. Another night, a pasta is tough, a image in need of salt. At lunch, gnocchi alla Sorrentina and bucatini all’amatriciana are plain options. But a cooking special of fungus ravioli is suggestive of bad finished pasta, with a green note that lingers on a tongue. Paccheri alla Genovese with braised beef and pig tastes like onions and underdone wine. As for pappardelle with furious boar ragu, a boar could be beef, a pasta has a hardness of busy cake dough, and a dried-out image looks as nonetheless it’s been sitting underneath a feverishness flare for hours.

Veal osso buco competence have been sitting right subsequent to it — dry beef atop polenta that has congealed into a pancake one can lift right off a plate. Whole fish in herbed gas with cherry tomatoes, garlic, and parsley is served over seafood-laden risotto. The fish is somewhat dry, nonetheless a risotto binds up, a grains fixed nonetheless creamy.

The many hapless image is a primary ribeye — sour, watery, with nothing of a hardness or season one associates with well-marbled beef. It is drizzled heavily in a truffle oil that went blank from a fungus pizza. We dwindle a server, who is honeyed and humorous and attentive: Sorry. This doesn’t ambience right. She whisks it away, afterwards earnings a few mins after and sets a beef behind on a table. “They contend it’s fine. It’s only a seasoning. Would we like something else?” At slightest she offers. The beef remains, frequency touched, until she clears. The assign remains, too: $49.

So it’s no warn when uninspired tiramisu arrives with a wandering arugula root on a plate. It’s tough to feel most caring is going into this food.

Creme brulee is served still flaming. Is it a birthday? Should we blow it out? The abandon die too soon. The sugarine is frequency crisped or browned, and a custard tastes like lighter fluid. Many of a desserts here are centered around a thesis of Nutella. A pizza coated in a widespread is so tough we can frequency gnaw it; we lick off a Nutella halfheartedly and sip bad cappuccino. It has no froth and looks as nonetheless it was microwaved until it boiled over, afterwards surfaced with a tiny nonetheless aroused blast of cocoa powder.

A vast territory of a cocktail menu is clinging to riffs on a Negroni. We sequence several variations: a O’Mast (made with Jameson), a Alla Diavola (with uninformed chile and pepperoncino-infused Campari), and a smoked Negroni with cubed Asiago dolce. When they arrive, we blemish a heads. No identifying garnishes — chiles, cheese — are present. And they all ambience a same, no one smokier or spicier than a other. It’s not easy to sequence another cocktail: This one contains creme de violette, nonetheless they’re carrying a problem with a distributor. That one has pear puree, nonetheless they’ve run out. (Another night we try a O’Mast again, and it is utterly good.)

david l. ryan/globe staff

Burrata and prosciutto di Parma appetizer.

How about some wine? The list is especially Italian, with a far-reaching operation of prices. One can splash a 2009 Super Tuscan for $40 or splurge on a bottle of 2011 Ornellaia. Just check a prices before ordering: Some selections are reduction costly by a potion than by a bottle. There are also breeze drink staples and alien qualification bottles, along with a few gluten-free ales.

Servers are a clever fit during MAST’. But staffers infrequently seem underutilized or undertrained. One lurks, stuffing H2O eyeglasses obsessively and clearing pointless plates. Another smooths his hair with his hands, afterwards goes right behind to arranging bread in baskets.

Restaurateurs Marco Caputo, Anthony DePinto, and John DeSimone worked prolonged and tough to open this place, grappling with construction delays. They are comfortable hosts, chatting with guests, vocalization Italian with a staff. Yet it still feels as nonetheless they non-stop before they were ready. They are clearly wakeful things need work: A new chef, Palermo local Daniele Canfarotta, arrived during a commencement of November, and he strictly took over in early December.

MAST’ is an shortening of “o’mast,” a bit of Neapolitan chapter that refers to a master of a craft. How good it would be if a name were some-more apt.


Extraordinary Excellent Good Fair (No stars) Poor

david l. ryan/globe staff

Casarecce pomodoro.

Devra First can be reached during Follow her on Twitter @devrafirst.

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