Thursday, February 23, 2012

Giacomo's, North End, Boston

There are those restaurants that you just have to return to…normally again and again and again. Giacomo’s, North End location, is one of those restaurants for me. In fact, I’ve even written about it here before, and now here I am repeating an entry. That’s just how much I love Giacomo’s- it deserves another entry, a check in years later to assure you that yes-it is still every bit as fantastic as before.

As though by design, I was awarded my favorite seat last night, two chairs placed at the end of the high bar that wraps around the exposed kitchen. The vantage point the perch gives you allows full viewing of the full restaurant, and open access to the kitchen as the chefs and cooks prepare pastas and seafood, taking orders from the staff and pushing out entrees to the hungry patrons. The vibe in Giacomo’s is timeless, the wait staff treats their customers as family, in for a ribbing where needed, a joke and a smile where appropriate, and efficient service over all. I sat back in my seat last night, watched my friend be harassed by our waiter, and enjoyed every minute of the evening.

We started with their special appetizer for the night, a large sphere of Burrata cheese, set atop a small pile of tomatoes, roasted red peppers and basil and drizzled with balsamic vinegar. The Burrata, one of my all-time favorite cheeses was wonderful, with the firm outer casing, breaking through to the creamier inside; the flavors were wonderfully creamy and salty at once. Despite the cold temperatures of winter, Giacomo’s located some fresh, red, flavorful tomatoes for their appetizer. What might be considered a “simple salad” it is the beauty of the fresh, pungent flavors that makes it sing.

Now Giacomo’s gives serious options when it comes to entrees. Beyond the normal preset meals, they also have a list of seafood that can be paired with linguine and then a sauce matched with it of your choice. I knew exactly what I was craving when I walked in last night, and quickly settled on linguine with shrimp and their homemade Fra Diavlo sauce. I was given a platter of pasta. The steaming dish was loaded with thick linguine noodles, well sauced and dotted with shrimp. Fra Diavlo sauce is one of my favorites. The translation (loosely) is “from the fire” so traditionally it is supposed to pack a little heat. However too often I find minimal spice in variations around town, and I’m left thinking that there isn’t much difference between it and a standard Marinara sauce. This does not apply at Giacomo’s. Their sauce is well spiced, full of flavor and basically plate licking good. Paired with tender shrimp and a noodle that can stand up to the full flavors, it is pasta perfection.

Giacomo’s, though a tourist trap, is a piece of Boston tradition for me. It is a place where the wait staff recognizes the repeat offenders, and everyone is treated like family. The food is comforting, classic and hearty. The wine list is short, but incredibly affordable, and all combined- Giacomo’s remains my favorite in the North End.


In and Around Town said...

Great review - this is one of those places I have wanted to try but just never have. Obviously, I should make the trip!

Nicki said...

You're killing me with those tomato descriptions...I would commit some serious felonies for a lush, red tomato right now.

Kristen said...

how have i never been here? i love how you described the place! I definitely thought of it as a local joint more than a tourist trap, and i think its weird i haven't been!!

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