Chef Simon Restrepo, Lydia Shire‘s long-standing right-hand man, quietly opened Vello Restaurant & Bar in Brookline’s Coolidge Corner back in the spring with a menu that marries his talent for Mediterranean comfort food with elements from his Colombian roots.
Restrepo has been honing his skills at Shire’s side since he first came to the US at the age of 16, working his way up through the ranks from dishwasher to to Executive Chef in the kitchens of BIBA, Excelsior, Pignoli, Locke-Ober, Towne Stove & Spirits and Scampo.
Open for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, Vello offers a delectable array of small plates, mains and a healthy selection of cocktails and wines. Pop in for midday dishes like Lobster Stew (light and creamy sherry-reduced lobster stew with nuggets of lobster), or the Luis Roll (a chicken BLT egg roll with avocado, pepper jack cheese and spicy ranch), or book a table for dinner to sit down to One Mini-Steak with Soft Grits (with sunny side up egg and truffle aioli) or Herb Crusted Haddock (breaded and seared, served with parsnip puree, crab butter and roasted brussels sprouts).
And here’s a word to the wise: don’t skip dessert. Restrepo has enlisted Executive Pastry Chef Thomas Langille to oversee the sweets section of the menu. Langille, who worked at spots like Catalyst, Finale, Forty 1° North in Newport, RI, Troquet on South and Nahita before landing at Scampo, adds his own confectionary flair to the brunch menu with Ricotta Donuts (with olive oil mascarpone and blood orange caramel), and desserts like Chocolate Hazelnut Cremeux (with milk chocolate chantilly, hazelnut brittle, fried bananas and caramel sauce) and his famous Carrot Cake (with mango sauce, carrot chips and vanilla bean gelato).
Vello, located at 404 Harvard Street, is open for indoor and outdoor dining, and take-out Monday through Friday from 11:00am-3:00pm for lunch and brunch, and 3:00-10:00pm for dinner. On Saturdays and Sundays they’re open for brunch from 9:00am-3:00pm, and dinner from 3:00-10:00pm. Take a peek at the full menu and book your table online here or by calling 617.383.6268 to check out your new Coolidge Corner go-to.