Thursday, March 10, 2011

Bricco, North End, Boston

It's that time of year again!  Restaurant Week has come to Boston!  I have written about Restaurant Week several times over the years, with mixed experiences.  This year I have several reservations at a variety of places around town, I'm interested to see how the experiences differ from spot to spot.

Last night I joined two friends at Bricco in the North End.  Bricco is part of the De Pasquale family of restaurants, similar to Mare.  It presents itself as sophisticated twists on classic Italian dishes.  The menu for Restaurant Week was large with several options for the first and second courses.  I was impressed at the diversity of the dishes, it seemed that every diners craving could be met within that menu.  I was in a seafood mood, so I elected their mussels for my first course, and the monk fish entree for my second course.    The mussels were described as being in a garlic and oil broth with caper berries, olives and a chickpea fritelle.  My dish was tasty, but oddly not what was described. The mussels were served in a wine and garlic broth, without caper berries, with tomatoes rather than olives, and missing the chickpea fritelle.  Overall they had nice flavor, however several of the shells were broken,  a few mussels were over cooked, and there was a little sand present, but overall they were tasty.  I was a little sad that they weren't exactly as described, I was intrigued by the chickpea fritelle.

The monk fish was very delicious.  Monk fish is a very rich fish, almost meaty in consistency, and with deep flavor.  It had been paired with a spicy tomato sauce and accented with mussels and clams.  The acidity and the spice of the sauce worked really well with the dense fish.  The clams and mussels had nicely picked up the flavor of the sauce as well, but were again over cooked to a chewy state.  Also the menu described it being served with a garlic crostone (basically garlic toast) which was also oddly missing from my plate.

Dessert was a choice between bread pudding, and chocolate molten cake, I, being the chocoholic that I am went with the chocolate cake.  It did not disappoint.  Rich, chocolaty, was everything I wanted and in a perfect portion.

The dinner definitely had highs and lows.  The monk fish and dessert were delicious, the shellfish were only ok.  The really troubling part of dinner was the timing of it.  We had a 7pm reservation and were seated around 7:10 or so based on our own arrivals.  We had an extremely pleasant waitress who was friendly and helpful however, it took an extremely long time for our first course to come, and an equally long time for our second.  The table next to us was having their appetizer when we ordered, and they were gone before we got our second course.  Believe me when I say those two love birds were not rushing through dinner. I didn't mind too terribly as I was glad to be catching up with friends, but it did seem awkward.  

To use a word to described Bricco I'd use "acceptable".  It wasn't bad, but it wasn't great either.  If you're looking for Italian Fare, it's a fine choice, though I can think of far better alternatives in Boston.   


Kristen said...

I've heard lots of mixed reviews about Bricco over the years. I think you summed them up quite well! Last time I was in, I paid $19 for just a mediocre zucchini flower appetizer! (I guess I'm still not over it) but had an amazing Wild Boar Pappardelle entree.

Emily @ A Cambridge Story said...

Interesting. Bricco is always a place I think I need to try. But maybe not so much. Hopefully the rest of your restaurant week experiences end up being a little more impressive!

In and Around Town said...

Good review, with so many great options in the North End, I like to know what really should move to the top of the "to-try" list and what shouldn't.

Unknown said...

This is why I'm not a big fan of restaurant week. I think restaurants get lazy and just try to churn out standard fare to suit the masses at a fixed price. I've never had a bad meal or experience at Bricco.

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