Those looking to partake of Rino’s Place’s legendary lobster ravioli will have to wait until September as the famed Italian eatery undergoes renovations. Rino’s closed last week for an extended period as construction crews work to correct structural problems with the 100-year-old plus building that houses the restaurant. By Monday, crews had knocked out the entire dining room’s outside wall on Saratoga Street and will replace the old windows with newer ones similar to Prima e Dopo across the street.
While work will continue until early September the restaurant will only be closed for two weeks longer than its usual end of August closure when Rino’s takes a two-week summer hiatus.
In the meantime, Rino’s fans can get a taste of quality Italian fare at Prima e Dopo across the street, which is owned by Rino’s owners, Tony and Anna DiCenso. Prima e Dopo opened in October and is its own separate business from Rino’s but has complimented the DiCensos’ success at their popular restaurant with other offerings like grilled pizza, Italian appetizers, desert and drinks.
In October 2010, Rino’s was featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives hosted by T.V. personality, cook and restaurateur Guy Fieri.
The segment showed just how fresh and good Chef Tony DiCenso’s food is. Now everyone knows what we in Eastie have know for 20 years.
DiCenso dazzled Fieri with his homemade lobster raviolis. Fieri was amazed that at the complexity and work it takes for DiCenso to produce the dish.
DiCenso showed how he takes a live Maine lobster, boils it, removes all the meat from the shell, sautés it with oil and shallots, mixes it with fresh imported ricotta, makes the pasta from scratch and then constructs the delicious raviolis. He then showed Fieri how he takes more lobster meat and develops a silky tomato cream sauce to toss with the raviolis.
All Fieri could say after tasting DiCenso’s signature dish was “This is ridiculous!”.
Fieri called DiCenso the ‘real deal’ and was impressed by how DiCenso shops three times a day at local markets to get his meat, fish and produce and said it’s what sets Rino’s apart from the rest.
Fieri also got to sample some of Rino’s signature dishes like frutti di mare, roasted pork tenderloin encrusted with pistachios and topped with a spicy cherry balsamic reduction and the Rino’s special, a mix of chicken, veal and shrimp sautéed in brandy cream and wild mushrooms.
“You taste just how fresh everything is here,” said Fieri. “It really makes the difference.”
There was also a lot of joking around and each time Fieri asked DiCenso where something came from DiCenso’s reply would be “I go out and pick it myself, fresh, it all has to be fresh”. At one point, when DiCenso was adding a bit of salt to a dish, Fieri joked “let me guess, you mine your own salt!”.
Since the airing of the Rino’s segment on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, there has been a line out the door six days a week for lunch and dinner.
The new cafe aims to cater to the people who would otherwise have to wait outside and others who are looking for a light meal.