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A Little Bit About a Lot of Things

A lifestyle blog with a focus on my food adventures

Located on Hanover Street in the North End, I was looking forward to making a second trip to Bricco, this time, for restaurant week. In general I think people love or hate restaurant week. The premise is that for $30 you can get a 3 course dinner or lunch for $20. It used to be that previously “unaffordable” restaurants would lower their prices for these prix fixe meals so that the “average” person could come in and sample the cuisine. These days I have had hit or miss experiences, but overall, the meal never ends up being $30 per person, and I usually end up ordering off the regular menu. I had been to Bricco this summer, with a large birthday party for a dear friend of mine, the food was excellent, we had the Alaskan King Crab and the pappardelle pasta-amazing!!-thus my desire to want to go back.

Our reservation was at 7pm, prime time seating, also keeping in mind that tonight was the Lady Gaga concert and the president had been in town. Traffic and parking, which is normally a nightmare, was even worse that usual. I valet park my car for $20 (he compliments me on how lovely I smell) and proceed into the restaurant. You can barely get in the door because people are waiting to be greeted by the host. I elbow my way to the bar where my friend is waiting and we decide to sit right away because otherwise, we may not get a table. Our third is running late, so we sit upstairs at the table for him. The restaurant is bustling, even in the small room we are seated in.

Our waitress comes over and asks us what menu we are going to order from and after looking over the menu, decide that I will pass on restaurant week. Usually I base my decision as to whether or not I will participate is based on what they offer for dessert.

Boston Restaurant Week Menu  •  Winter 2011 served March 6 – 18

antipasti (select one)

  • Zucchini Flowers in Tempura stuffed with truffled ricotta cheese, grilled vegetables
  • Wellfleet Mussels garlic & oil, caper berries, olives and chick pea frittelle
  • Caesar Salad blue sky bibb lettuce & radicchio salad, crispy ricotta polpette
  • Prosciutto di San Daniele and Bufala Mozzarella, vine-ripened tomatoes & arugula pesto
  • Wagyu Beef Carpaccio arugula, pecorino & truffle infused oil
  • Eggplant Bake layered with bufala mozzarella, tomato coulis, eggplant bon bons

secondi (select one)

  • Chitarrine with Lobster Meat arugola & lobster cream
  • Agnolotti al Plin braised veal, beef, and ricotta filling, spinach & truffles cream sauce
  • Gnocchetti alla Sorrentina gnocchi, baked with bufala mozzarella, tomatoes & basil
  • Risotto with Wild Mushrooms, fontina cheese, truffle essence
  • Monkfish Brodetto- clams, mussels, spicy tomato & fish broth, garlic crostone
  • Red Wine Braised Beef- root vegetables, creamy polenta
  • Veal Saltinbocca-breaded cutlets pounded with prosciutto and sage, potato cake, spinach
  • Chicken Supreme-cream of corn and smoked bacon, potato duchess, bitter greens

dolci (select one)

  • Bread Pudding
  • Molten dark chocolate torte

So I order the mussels to start. I apologize for not having pictures, the seating area was quite dim and I didn’t want to bother my fellow patrons by using my flash. The mussels come with garlic & oil, caper berries, olives and chick pea frittelle ($15). There is a nice white wine sauce that is perfect for dipping our bread in….if we had some. Usually bread comes before ordering or at least before appetizers arrive. We had to flag down the waitress to get some. The mussels were tasty-and the chick pea frittelle was best eaten doused in the delicious sauce on the bottom. My two dining companions ordered off the restaurant week menu. They had the buffalo mozzarella salad and the beef carpaccio. The salad was tasty and the carpacio was nothing to write home about. By far, the best appetizer was the mussels.

For dinner I ordered a duetto of pasta-two half portions so you can have the best of both worlds. I chose the Pappardelle al Cinghiale (wild boar braised in red wine with porcini mushrooms) and the Ricotta Pillows dressed with truffle butter, gnudi di ricotta garnish. My dining companions ordered the agnolotti and the veal saltinbocca. The service was a little bit slow. Had we been alone or with other people, we may have minded a bit more. These two friends used to work with me in my restaurant days-we all enjoy good food and good wine-and most importantly good service. I think that once you have been a server at an upscale restaurant you hold other servers to a higher standard than the average person. Bricco is marketed as a higher end restaurant and the servers should be well trained and knowledgeable-service to match the price tag (Do you care if your waitress at TGIFridays is ditzy? You almost expect it don’t you? A high school/college kid serving you your $20 meal.). Our entrees came out, the potato was cold with the veal, which was nothing to write home about anyway. The agnolotti was a step above the veal-the filling was tasty and rich. Again, by far, the best meal was mine-the non restaurant week meal. The pappardelle was thin and well cooked. The boar was tender and flavorful although, I didn’t find any mushrooms in my dish. The ricotta pillows were excellent, very light and delicate but the ricotta garnish was the show stealer-really flavorful…it gave it that push to make the dish great instead of just good.

For dessert my two companions had the bread pudding and the chocolate torte. When we asked the server how the bread pudding was prepared, there was hesitation and the response, “it’s soaked in a liquor, not sure which one…not grand marnier but something like that.” The bread pudding was more bread like than pudding like, the bottom was definitely better than the top part, but it really tasted like it had just been cooked too long. The molton dark chocolate torte was even more of a disappointment-to be considered a molton cake, I feel like there should be some sort of semi liquid consistency to the dish and some aspect of warmth. The cake came out and looked like a dry mini muffin. When cut open with a fork there was no ‘molton’ center but more of what was like a ‘cooked 2 minutes less than it should have’ consistency center. I ordered the tiramisu ($9) with coffee liquor and chocolate sauce. When it arrived it wasn’t like a normal tiramisu-it was wrapped in a white chocolate hard shell that had a freezer burn taste to it. The whipped cream on top was tasteless, the creamy center was the best part but the cake on the bottom was dry as a bone.

We leave at around 9:40pm, really disappointed in our meal. For $150, we really expected a higher quality of food (although the regular menu options were as good as they were the first time I went there) and definitely a higher quality of service. Will we go back? The service really made it a toss up for us….

BRICCO

241 Hanover Street  in the Boston’s North End.
Phone 617-248-6800

Dinner is served daily beginning at 4pm.
Wood oven pizzas are served from 11pm until 2am, Tuesday – Sunday.
Valet parking • $20.

www.bricco.com

Bricco Ristorante & Enoteca on Urbanspoon

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