Saturday, June 26, 2010

Terramia Ristorante, North End, Boston

There is nothing really more glorious than those perfect Friday nights in the summer.  With the warm sunshine streaming down, and the people of Boston relishing every moment, it really does seem that the world is our oyster.  After enjoying every little droplet of sunlight last night, John and I finally set out on one of my favorite activities-looking for dinner.  I love wandering around an area of town, especially the North End and reading menus until one pops out as interesting.  Last night, after reading several delicious sounding menus throughout the Prince and Salem Street areas, we finally decided on Terramia, and adorable looking ristorante on Salem Street.

I have to admit I based part of my decision on the fact that the place looked so adorable with its divided windows and seemed just so tucked away and cozy.  The place was pretty full of boisterous weekend celebrants, but we were sat immediately, again into a cozy nook.  We ordered a bottle of wine, and after a quick perusal of the menu, we settled on lobster fritters for our appetizer, and I selected their roasted pork tenderloin, and John chose their fillet entree. 

Our first course arrived quickly, and it looked amazing.  I had anticipated the fritters to be cake-like almost as a donut hole would be, with the lobster contained.  We were served full pieces of fresh lobster meat, encased in fried batter, over a sauce of balsamic and honey and topped with a massive pile of fried onion strings.  As impressive as the dish looked it just didn't deliver.  The batter used with the lobster was too thick and if it was fried appropriately so it was crispy, the lobster was over cooked, otherwise the lobster was cooked well, but the batter was soggy and rather unappetizing. I found the sauce was also too sweet to go with the lobster as well which is a naturally sweet meat.  The onion strings were tasty- very crispy and with just the right amount of salt, but there were far too many of them and they completely overwhelmed the dish. 

Though the appetizer was poorly executed, I held on to my high hopes for the rest of the meal.  My pork was described as being roasted with a spicy honey pistachio crust, sauteed spinach, pureed parsnips and a prune sauce.  Honestly the whole thing was pretty terrible.  The pork was over cooked in places and completely dry, and the crust was not a crust at all but rather a sprinkle of nuts over the top with absolutely no spice to them.  The spinach was rather salty, though the parsnip puree had little to no flavor.  With all of that said, the real assault of the dish was the prune sauce which was far too sweet to lend any flavor other than sugar to the dish. I have a hearty appetite- I left 75% of my dinner behind.

John did not fare much better with his dish. The fillet was served with the same sauteed spinach, "creamed" sweet potatoes, a Gorgonzola sauce, and a red wine reduction. Again, the fillet was over cooked, and the Gorgonzola completely overpowered the flavor of the meat.  Again the potatoes had very little flavor to them, and the red wine reduction was incredibly sweet. 

Unfortunately, after such a divine evening, this was just not the ending we were hoping for. Each thing was a miss, including our server who seemed to want to have very little to do with us, aside from rushing us to finish and leave. Personally, I believe that this is a case of a kitchen trying to put too much into each dish.   Every item on the menu seemed to have far too many components to it, and it seemed to result in none of them being well executed.  This is really a shame, especially in an area that is so cluttered with fantastic dining options.

On to better eating for the rest of the weekend....


Kristen said...

I live in the North End and have yet to visit Terramia. So sorry to hear about the poorly executed dishes and not so great service! Perhaps I will not be visiting them after this review. You should try their sister restaurant, Antico Forno. They specialize in brick oven pizzas (as well as fantastic apps and entrees) and have never let me down.

Boston Food Diary said...

Thank you for the suggestion! I have heard some great things about Antico Forno but just haven't made it there yet! I'll definitely add it to my list

PragmaticMom said...

I love Teramia. I had to go at 5:00 on a Sat. night though to get a seat for a party of 6. They have a sister restaurant off Salem, Antico Forno. The wait is shorter because the space is bigger and the menu is more casual and less expensive. We go there when we get shut out of Teramia. My chefy friends tell me all the chefs in town hang out there after hours.

Boston Food Diary said...

PM- great to hear that you enjoy it! My experience obviously wasn't as positive- what are a few of your favorite dishes at Terramia?

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