To get people to take a gamble and venture into unfamiliar territory, you need to offer them something big -- like gold-paved streets, or joyous cat-lessness. Beckoning you to East Boston with tasty grub: Ecco.
In the former Sablone's Veal n' Vintage spot, Ecco forgoes playing it safe in favor of ballsy, ostensibly Italian fare served in a dark-wooded room w/ black leather booths, a slate bar, and a wall freshly scrawled with signatures of Boston hockey greats like Bobby Orr, Derek "The Turk" Sanderson and, of course, the no. 5 pick in the '72 NHL draft: Jim Schoenfeld! Small plate smoothness includes shredded short rib/Kobe beef shumai, tempura'd crabmeat-stuffed cherry peppers, chicken wings stuffed w/ homemade sausage and tossed in pepperoncini puree, and house-brined smoked bacon so audacious, it only comes w/ plate. Upping the ante are mains like cherry pepper & honey glazed Chilean seabass, a rosemary-parmesan game hen served with mac & cheese and grilled lemony broccoli rabe, and espresso-rubbed hanger steak, for those rare occasions when you want to eat a steak, then not doze off face-down in the .
To lube your gullet, Ecco's got an extensive martini list (basil lime, cilantro, Camparitini...), plus other specialties like On-The-Fly Sangria and the chef's own Fitzgerald's House Infused Bourbon -- because what's the point of charting new territory if you're not going to put your name all over it?