You don’t hear much about it, but there’s a quiet Italian-American community where Boston meets Route 128. I’m reluctant to describe this as Roslindale, Hyde Park or Readville, although all these neighborhoods are part of it. (This is also the same community that has given rise to Councillor Rob Consalvo, Rep. Angelo Scaccia and Mayor Menino.)
Dedham is part of this community too. When my parents were first married they lived in a town house development owned by Arthur Stivaletta in Dedham not far from where Vinnie Marino’s Brickhouse is today. This Dedham Brickhouse is cozy and serves massive quantities of quality Italian food.
A few weeks ago, coming back from an early morning reporting trip in New Hampshire, I happened to spot a new sign on a strip of Bridge Street for Santoro’s Sicilian Trattoria. I entered and found a family behind a small deli counter bustling to get ready for one of their first days of business. I ordered “the Agostina,” basically a dressed-up version of a classic Italian, and an older woman said to me “that’s me. Agostina.” She told me how years ago she had owned a bakery in Roslindale Square at which the original John, of John’s Bakery, learned his trade. I didn’t quite catch the name of this Ur-neighborhood bakery, but I think it was “Aggie’s.” The new place is run by her peppy daughter, Tina Santoro Asmar, who has so far demonstrated strong culinary instincts.
I’ve subsequently had three meals at Santoro’s — eggplant parmigiana, chicken parmigiana and pizza. I have to say I found the thin-crust Sicilian pizza topped with sausage the best. The sauce was tasty and the thinner-than-usual crust a welcome change from the usual approach to Sicilian pizza I’ve experienced in New England and New York. The bread and rolls, which I believe are homemade, are also outstanding. I don’t think Santoro’s will replace the superior “Tutto Italiano,” which lies 3 miles away in Readville. But it doesn’t have to. I would say that Santoro offers a good new alternative to the other Italian delis in and around Dedham Square.
[EDIT. An informed source tells me the old Roslindale bakery was also Santoro’s.]