CAMBRIDGE (CBS) — Few people have a passion for Italian food like Delio Susi. At his restaurant Sulmona, that passion is on full display.
Opened about a year ago in Kendall Square Cambridge, Sulmona, is named after the medieval town in Northern Italy that Delio’s family is from. According to his wife, Rebecca, everything at this version of Sulmona pays homage to those roots and recipes.
“What we’ve done is we’ve recreated the town of Sulmona and the feeling that you get there when you come in,” she said.
With about 130 seats, the space is big and beautiful. There’s a semi-open kitchen, a long marble bar, and plenty of design elements meant to transport you straight to Sulmona. “The back bar behind me is a model of the aqueducts that are actually in the piazza of Sulmona. We tried to replicate the arches,” said Delio.
Rebecca added, “Also what we were pulling from is the train station in Sulmona, so we’ve got the big tile wall. And Delio couldn’t do without the Vespa that’s hanging in the middle of the dining room, which is a big, exciting thing that we were able to do.”
While the decor tries to recreate a piece of Italy, the food is the genuine article. According to Delio, “classic pizzas, streets foods, everything that’s influenced me in Italy, and especially in Sulmona.”
So there are small plates like handmade Arancini, tender lamb skewers served with grilled lemon, and addictive potato croquettes known as panzerotti — “basically it’s mashed potatoes inside breaded and deep fried, and it’s delicious,” explained Rebecca.
The meat and cheese boards are a thing of beauty, the plates of pasta are about as authentic as you can get, and the pizzas are made with a dough Delio has been developing for decades.
There’s pride in everything coming out of the kitchen because, for Delio, Sulmona is the culmination of a lifelong love for food. “I’ve known I wanted to be a chef since I was a little kid…Cooking has been in my life forever. So this is life for me.”