Phantom Gourmet: Brelundi In Waltham

WALTHAM – You could call Michael Colomba the Arancini King of America. At Brelundi in Waltham, Michael and his team make just about every kind of arancini you could imagine. Forty-eight to be exact.

“Everything from meat, ham and cheese, spinach, steak and cheese, teriyaki, we make chicken, we make eggplant,” he listed. “We also make a breakfast arancini, which is egg, sausage and cheese; and we also make sweet arancini, which has Nutella and pistachio.”

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Michael’s obsession with arancini, and great food in general, began when he was a child back in Sicily.

“I’m from a little town called Castellammare del Golfo, a real mecca for Mediterranean cuisine. A lot of unique pastries, a lot of unique dishes that come out of that part of Sicily.”

He has brought many of those dishes, and the people who make them, to Brelundi.

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Brelundi has 48 varieties of Arancini (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

“I actually brought here pastry chefs, arancini chefs, to assist me in creating a Mediterranean themed restaurant in Waltham.”

There is a full menu to explore, but first, the arancini. Each one of those 48 flavors is made by hand.

“This is as authentic as we can get from the way they make them where I grew up,” Michael said. “We make about eight different shapes and sizes: a round, conical, a barrel, or muffin shape. Just by looking at the shape of the arancini we know what the filling is.”

There is certainly quite a selection to keep straight. There is the traditional Meat and Peas, gooey Ham and Cheese, breakfast options like Spinach and Egg, even dessert arancini like indulgent Nutella, and creamy Pistachio. Of all the available Arancini, the best might be the outrageously delicious Steak and Cheese.

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Steak and Cheese Arancini at Brelundi (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

“Steak and Cheese is one of my favorites,” Michael said. “Just like a steak and cheese sandwich, we use shaved steak and we use American cheese. When we cook it, it just melts the cheese so when you take a bite the cheese is just melting, and great steak, and the outside is a nice crunchy arancini, and the rice. It’s a sandwich in itself. It’s filling.”

Brelundi is short for Breakfast Lunch and Dinner, so all three meals are served in their dining room inside the historic Waltham Watch Factory. Everything is up to Michael’s high standards.

“The food has to be fresh. The food has to be made in house. In fact we make our own pastas. We make our own breads. We make our own cheeses. We make our own pastries. We make our own gelatos.”

At breakfast, there are cheese smothered Frittatas; pizza with eggs, sausage, and spinach; and a skillet full of seasoned roasted potatoes topped with a pair of poached eggs.

For lunch, try an overstuffed sandwich on fresh baked bread, or a creative pizzas topped with gourmet ingredients.

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Carbonara at Brelundi (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

During dinner, there are appetizers like spinach and ricotta dumplings in parmesan cream. Pastas include a classic Carbonara with prosciutto, peas, and pecorino. Oversized entrees feature dishes like the Steak Tip Pizzaiola, with juicy steak tips smothered in mushrooms and peppers, and served with spinach stuffed ravioli.

“When you come to Brelundi, no matter what level of appetite you have, I guarantee you that you will not be leaving here hungry,” Michael stated.

No meal at Brelundi is complete without dessert. For something simple, there are cups of smooth, homemade gelato. For something shareable, try their deconstructed twist on a classic cannoli.

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Inside out Cannoli at Brelundi (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

“It’s like an inside out cannoli,” Michael described. “We put the inside filling, and then we put pieces of cannoli shells in the ricotta cream, and then we drizzle it with powdered sugar, chocolate, caramel sauce, and it makes for an amazing cannoli. People can share that.”

There is one item at Brelundi that you will want to keep all to yourself, because the simple looking treat is simply one of the tastiest things you will ever eat. Part warm donut, part creamy cannoli, this mind-blowing masterpiece is known as the Iris.

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The Iris at Brelundi (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

“A brioche bun that we make from scratch, then we fill the brioche with sheep’s milk ricotta. We add lemon zest, chocolate, vanilla. We seal it in a béchamel, and then we do breadcrumbs. We deep fry it not to cook it, but just enough to melt the chocolate chips inside. Once it comes out, we coat the top with a mixture of sugar and cinnamon,” Michael described.

From an Iris, to an Arancini, to Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner, Michael takes pride in serving a slice of Sicily at Brelundi.

“I am proud of Brelundi. I am proud of the Brelundi menus. I am proud of the Brelundi dishes. I am proud of the Brelundi ingredients.”

You can find Brelundi Ristorante at 185 Crescent Street in Waltham. There is also a Brelundi Café at 16 Felton Street in Waltham, and online at brelundi.com.

Watch Phantom Gourmet on Saturdays and Sundays at 10:30 and 11 a.m. on myTV38.

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