The latest addition to the Statler Hotel is a fast-casual Italian joint paying tribute to the meatball. Sfereco, which means “sphere” in Esperanto, offers a selection of meatballs, pastas, pizzas and sandwiches.
On the inside of Sfereco, guests will find a few tables to sit and bar-style seating along the window. The restaurant is more equipped for takeout and delivery right now, but if you choose to stop inside, take note of the decor.
The walls are bedecked with Italian posters from spaghetti western films, a favorite genre of Refined Hospitality Concepts CEO Robert Hall and executive chef Ryan Carbery.
“Who’s not a fan of Clint Eastwood?” Carbery says. “Robert and I both have a huge affinity to spaghetti westerns. We're very fortunate to be in Texas, where the Western motif is well-received.”
For drinks, Sfereco offers traditional cocktails, such as a negroni ($12) or an old fashioned ($11). They also have frozen bellinis, ideal for the summer heat ($9).
The whipped ricotta cheese makes for an excellent starter ($8). This sharable plate contains thin slices of flatbread and puffy ricotta cheese with toasted pecans and a seasonal jam. Lighter options include the eggplant Parmesan bites, which come with melted mozzarella, tomato sauce and basil ($9).
If you want to try Sfereco’s many meatballs, you can order three meatballs and a choice of sauce for $9. With choices such as piggy spice, the Italian beefcake, burnt ends, chicken-ricotta and the crabby ball, Sfereco is not short on meats.
Non-meat-eaters can order the veggie and grain balls with their choice of sauce, as well.
Sauce options include tomato-garlic basil, bolognese, spicy agro-dolce, basil pesto, veggie ragu and romesco, the latter being Carbery’s favorite.
“Romesco sauce is one of the best sauces I think anybody can do,” Carbery says. “It goes so well with pork.”
For an additional $6, guests can turn their plate of meatballs into a pasta bowl. Pasta options include spaghetti, rigatoni, ditalini, polenta, grain noodles and gluten-free pasta.
Sfereco’s pizza is also customizable. You can even order it in triangular slices or in square cuts. Sfereco offers a variety of meat toppings, cheeses and veggies, but a great combination is the simple tomato and basil sauce with fresh mozzarella cheese, artichoke hearts and dried tomatoes ($20.70).
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For dessert, guests can order house-made spumoni ($5) or seasonal bombolini ($6). You can even get the bombolino topped with spumoni for an additional $3.
Sfereco’s Italian plates make for a good late-night treat, or something to have delivered while you’re still self quarantining. While they offer sandwiches and pasta dishes, customizing your plates is half the fun.
“The best thing about Sfereco is you can kind of pick and choose,” Carbery says. “There’s a lot of variations. You can come up with your own combos, create your own flavors and make it your own.”
Sfereco, 1914 Commerce St. (downtown). Open 11 a.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday; and 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday.