Back in May, the Aquitane Group’s Jeff Gates hedged his bets when we asked him if he planned to launch a remodeled Italian restaurant in the old Rocca space at 500 Harrison. Business partner Matthew Burns later revealed to the Globe that his plans for the space included something "architecturally edgy" and completely unlike Rocca. ("You don’t want to go out with a new girl who is wearing your old girlfriend’s clothes," Gates said at the time.) Well, not only will this new girl have a different outfit, she’ll also have a different name: Cinquecento. She also might remind you a little bit of New York restauteur Keith McNally, though hopefully she’ll have less facial hair.
Jolyon Helterman can’t help but wonder in the Globe if the seasoned restaurateurs can succeed in the cursed spot (Rocca suddenly shuttered in 2010, leaving Sweet Cheeks’s Tiffani Faison temporarily stove-less). He paints a vivid picture of a work in progress, complete with a shout-out to a menu that features a curious Italian chicken Kiev with truffle butter.
Also worth noting: Helterman says that you can tell "someone in the group is a huge fan Morandi, Keith McNally’s modern trattoria in Greenwich Village"; the group’s Gaslight is the Boston version of McNally’s Soho brasserie Balthazar. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and if they’re modeling the new restaurant after McNally’s, things could be a lot worse in the South End. And as for cursed spaces, well, it could be worse on that front, too: It’s not like they’re moving into that huge, tumbleweed-filled Ginger Park space on Washington Street.
Reversing A Restaurant Curse [Globe]