For the past 13 years, Chef David Becker has been having fun—you can tell from the huge grin on his face that he loves doing what he does. This also goes for his entire staff at Sweet Basil. Located in Needham Center, Becker has been churning out Italian homestyle dishes for years to his guests' delight.
On a recent Thursday evening, we entered this cozy BYOB restaurant to find the entire dining room filled to capacity. (Note: Be prepared to wait here on weekends, up to an hour or more, as the restaurant is small and diners tend to linger once they are finally seated.) Becker makes his own pastas here, up to 30 different kinds to be exact, including an unusual (but admittedly tasty) beet pasta. His artful flair can also be seen throughout the dining room, with his grandfather’s paintings lining the walls and Becker’s own pottery used as dinnerware.
We started with a sampling of crusty bread served with an addicting side of basil pesto with garlic and asiago cheese (you can purchase some to go in a half of full pint if you can’t get enough for dinner). The varied menu includes traditional Italian finds like steamed mussels in a garlic wine broth, chicken parmesan and seafood fra diavolo; but Becker’s talents really shine in unexpected discoveries like the handmade ravioli made with ricotta, Romano, mascarpone and goat cheese in basil marinara.
We loved the baked Gouda wrapped in flaky phyllo dough with sweet fresh berries served over a bed of greens. However, the Bolognese just might be one of Becker’s best dishes made with beef, sausage and mushrooms served over pappardelle. If you have a hearty appetite, the enormous slow cooked lamb shank served on a platter with polenta and roasted vegetables is sure to fill you up. There are no desserts available here, but feel free to bring your own (they do charge a plating fee, however).
This post originally appeared on JustLuxe.