There's an anniversary in town, and it just so happens to be for one of the chic-est Italian restaurants! Stella, located on Washington Street in the South End, is celebrating their 5 year anniversary this year! They celebrated last night with a lovely cocktail party, and throughout the evening I wondered -why don't I come here more often?
Dinner at Stella is always delicious. They were the restaurant to introduce me to Arancini, those lovely little fried risotto balls of goodness, and in my estimation- they are still some of the best in town. I was more than delighted to see them as one of the passed appetizers last night, though their version is so soft and gooey (you try finding a better word!) that they were slightly difficult to eat standing. They are served in a wonderful Pomodoro sauce-that is just perfectly savory and bursting with flavor.
Other appetizers served last night included a delicious lobster salad served on crostini that I'm not seeing on their regular menu, however a version of their marinated beets and goat cheese appetizer that they served to us on endive leaves is there- and it was delicious. The creamy tang of the goat cheese was perfect with the strong flavored hearty beets. Now as I believe I've stated in the past, I am not a fan of beets at all, but paired with the goat cheese, this was a very tasty appetizer. Other standouts last evening: the fried artichokes were delicious with their crispy shell giving way to the soft, marinated artichoke heart-absolutely lovely, and their fried shrimp were light and well cooked without too much batter so that the flavor of the shrimp shown through. Really tasty. There were some sliders that were passed-which I can only assume were delicious however as soon as the wait staff left the kitchen with a tray they were swarmed and their offering taken within 30 seconds. I failed in my attempts to secure the treat.
Though a full dinner was not served last night, I can attest that their pasta's are delicious. I have especially enjoyed their Orechiette served with sausage and tomato sauce. I love the almost nutty flavor that Orechiette pasta takes on, and it is such a wonderful vehicle for sauce where the liquid gets trapped in its shape. The sausage served has wonderful flavor, and brings that fatty essence to contrast the acidity of the pasta. It is a simple dish for sure- but beautifully executed at Stella.
I must say-there were a couple of misses last evening as well- the crab cakes had an odd fishy taste to them that was rather disappointing, and the "spicy" chicken skewers were peppery, but not spicy.
Over all, Stella is a fun, delicious spot to get a wonderful dinner in a relaxing atmosphere. And even better- their cafe, adjacent to the main restaurant is open from 6 to 6 offering tasty treats to go! I am remiss for not having Stella as one of my regular spots- I am sure to return soon- and much more frequently!
Happy Anniversary Stella! To many more!