Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Taranta

Taranta is a solid choice for a special occasion dinner out in the North End. I find they cater well to large parties as evidenced by Saturday evening where I was dining with a group of women for Kirsten's Bachelorette party and in the past I have celebrated a friends birthday here with a large group! Just because I associate them with hosting large groups, doesn't mean they compromise on the classic intimacy you'd come to expect when dinning out in Boston's Little Italy. I assure you this restaurant would be just as special for a date night or intimate celebration for two. Taranta packs a crowd into three floors where each cozy level over looks Hanover Street. The first level beholds floor to ceiling street front windows, which I love to see open in the warm months. The atmosphere as a whole is enchanting with a combination of exposed brick and exposed granite stone walls. An eclectic mix of colorful dangling glass light fixtures hang from the ceilings and even the circular lights embedded in the steel staircase emitting deep blue, yellow and green lights captivate you from the moment you set foot inside. Opened in July of 2000, Taranta focuses on Southern Italian meets Peruvian Cuisine. The restaurant is owned by Chef Jose Duarte (who is originally from Peru) and his wife Anna. The owners deserve much praise for their commitment to sustainable initiatives in all aspects of work. This restaurant became Green Certified in 2007 and in 2008 received The City of Boston Green Business Award. They use efficient lighting and are recycling and composting 99% of their waste stream; which is very impressive.
When some of us arrived to dinner on Saturday evening 15-20 minutes late, the hostess was still welcoming and completely understanding. She even sat the members of our party who were on time (which I know most restaurants are hesitant to do.) I really appreciated the thoughtfulness and hospitality regarding this.
I spotted a Pisco Sour ($10) featured on the menu and decided to try this one out for size. You might recall I drank a Galliano Sour the night before at The Abbey, so clearly this was the weekend for sour martinis! A grape liquor whose namesake honors to the city of Pisco, this traditional Peruvian cocktail made with lemon, Angostura bitters and a dash of sugar combined with the delicate frothiness of the egg white revealed a complex and lip puckeringly sour taste. 
I drank two. They went down way too easy. I was impressed when our waiter after announcing the specials, gave us his sincere apologies for the wait we experienced early on after we were seated. It took longer than usual for him to grace us with his presence and take drink orders. (I'm hesitant to admit because it didn't seem to matter whatsoever to any of the 12 women engaged in conversation.) But, the fact that he acknowledged our wait with a simple apologetic gesture was thoughtful and, all it took to set the tone for the rest of the meal. He was efficient and attentive from there on out and overall did a fantastic job, managing to get all 12 drinks and entrees correct in a timely fashion without writing anything down! For my entree I chose the Butternut Squash Ravioli with brown sugar, sage and cream sauce with asparagus and shrimp. This dish to me represents fall. The raviolis were well made and the sauce flavorful and comforting, however I was a little disappointed in the asparagus as it was added sparingly and the bites were considerably smaller than I was expecting. The generous addition of plump juicy shrimp was a job well done.I tried a few bites of the Pappardelle con Funghi Porcini ($26) - free form cut pappardelle pasta with wild mushrooms, porcini and truffle oil and it was exquisite. 
We did order three desserts to share - A traditional Tiramisu ($8), the Hazelnut Mousse ($8) with a drizzle of dulce de leche, and Chocolate Souffle Cake ($10). I wasn't about to make anyone wait to dig in, hence, desserts went unphotograped. Sometimes this is for the best. The Tiramisu was excellent, living up to all my expectations. The Chocolate Souffle was disappointing, but I had really high and perhaps unfair expectations after this souffle. The Hazelnut Mousse with its decadent layers was my favorite of the three. The flecks of nuttiness dispersed throughout added a texture similar to a Ferro Rocher candy.
A minor bump in service in the beginning of the evening and the fact that I wanted a little more asparagus in my entree, isn't enough to keep me from recommending a visit to Taranta. I'm confident in this establishment as a whole because the staff is truly wonderful and their business practices demonstrate real integrity. The marriage of Italian and Peruvian cuisine makes for a unique concept to embrace in Little Italy.
Taranta on Urbanspoon

P.S. Earlier that afternoon I was getting pampered with some of the ladies at Christine's Day Spa in Quincy. I received hands down (haha) the best massage I've ever had. I felt so relaxed and spoiled the entire day. And my mani-pedi complete with a salt scrub leg rub was invigorating. I got OPI's All That Razz-Berry on my fingers and toes. We spent the day in bliss on the private third floor lounging around eating decadent cupcakes in plush bathrobes.P.P.S. After dinner we had a fabulous night out on the town.

19 comments:

  1. those ravs looks SOOOO yummy !- i'll have to keep this place in mind next time i'm visiting Boston!!! .. look fabulous!

    PS - come on by - my first GIVE-AWAY is going on - $45 worth of goodiness!!

    *kiss kiss*
    Erika
    ~Tiptoe Butterfly~

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  2. Um, I know that this is a restaurant review and all but can I tell you what I really want to comment on? Your shoes! GORGEOUS!

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  3. That building alone is gorgeous! Umm...and I'm with the poster above, your outfit rocks.

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  4. That ravioli looks too delicious! And I desperately need a massage. You girls look lovely!

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  5. Butternut squash ravioli - my favorite! I still haven't been to Taranta, but now I definitely have a reason to go. Those cupcakes look awesome!

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  6. How very fun! Those cupcakes look like a delight!

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  7. I've never been to Taranta but my friends and I went to Pomodoro for my birthday and it was excellent!! I'll have to try Taranta next time- it looks so yummy! I adore the North End wherever no matter where I eat : )

    -Samantha
    http://sincerelysamantha.com

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  8. Hot shoes! Sounds like a fab time and dinner, that's too bad about the asparagus. When we were at Bistro Niko, the French bistro I was telling you about, I had coquilles st. jacques which came with asparagus, but it sucked because it was only like 2 asparagus stalks, cut into 4. That was supposed to be the "side" and it was lame because there wasn't enough. Boo for not enough asparagus! XX! p.s. they weren't large stalks either!

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  9. i love the look of that place...and it looks like you had some delicious things! add to that the cupcakes and i'm really ready to eat!

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  10. I love your dress!

    Also, I brushed my teeth just before reading this post and it's a good thing because this made me HUNGRY (particularly for ravioli!).

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  11. Ah, the ravioli looks toothsome.
    Yummy! And your painted nails are so pretty. X

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  12. love the razz ma tazz color and that dress is so exciting! what a fun evening! "hands down" hahaha love it.

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  13. I've never been to Taranta, but now I totally want to go! Those cupcakes are adorable and I LOVE your shoes!!

    Sues

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  14. Fantastic review. I am a big fan of Pisco Sour and the ravioli looks tantalizing.

    Great photo of a lovely group of ladies.

    Thanks for the support!

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  15. Those cupcakes are my favorite thing in this post! The frosting looks perfect! Eating them in a spa sounds divine.

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  16. Love your outfit! I also love All that Raspberry- such a great color. :)

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  17. That's two cocktails now with egg whites that I've seen you (through the blog) order. Is it a textural thing? I've never had one, I'm trying one next time I see it on a menu!

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