Monday, April 4, 2011

North End Restaurant Week: Bricco

Last Wednesday night I got together with a couple of my college roommates, Tricia and Corinne, for a little North End Restaurant Week action, as well as some much needed catching up! I chose Bricco because both these ladies had never been and the menu (at least the antipasti and secondi courses) had a plethora of good looking options from which to choose.
Bricco gets a variety of mixed reviews; word of mouth, I've heard everything from absolute adoration to just acceptable, to "it's overrated", "I've had better down the street" and a whole lot of "it's too expensive-s". After having dined here for the first time in December, I was content to express my enjoyment, but wasn't proclaiming it a North End favorite. I definitely didn't understand certain high price points. However, I've always been content visiting the bar and I certainly liked it here enough to give the menu another try. There isn't much to complain about by way of prices when you're paying a prix fix of $33.11 for three courses. (Yes, I'd encourage a restaurant week visit!)
Their cocktail menu is well done, and while I realize this looks like a standard glass of white wine, it is actually a Left Bank ($12) Hendrick's gin, St. Germain, dry white wine, twist.
Delightful and inventive, the sweet elderflower liqueur was balanced out by the dry white wine and potent gin. Tricia enjoyed a sugary sweet cocktail of a different nature, the Limoncello Martini ($15) Pallini limoncello, Ketel one citroen, mionetto prosecco.

For the Antipasti course, of six dishes from which to choose, we somehow all ordered the same thing; the Eggplant Bake layered with bufala mozzarella, tomato coulis and eggplant. After a few bites I was confident we had ordered the best appetizer on that menu. Obviously, I had not tasted all the others, I just had a feeling this was one of the good ones. This was a refined eggplant lasagna if you will, one with about ten times more layers of paper thin al dente pasta that had been baked tender. The spongy texture of the eggplant with its mild flavors benefited from a vibrant burnt orange pool of a flavorful tomato sauce. The golden brown surface layer, bubbly and crisp was topped with olive oil soaked basil leaves. The Secondi course followed with Agnolotti al Plin. Beautiful pillows of flattened pasta with curvy ribboned edges are stuffed with braised veal and beef that mingles with fresh ricotta cheese. This perfect portion sits in a rich velvety truffle cream sauce topped with spinach. It was certainly a pasta filled meal for me, which is just what I was craving. Bricco most definitely knows their pasta. Corinne enjoyed the Veal Saltinbocca, a well prepared thinly pounded cutlet, breaded and bathing in savory juices, highlighted with crispy salty prosciutto and pungent earthy sage. That potato cake was a playful element that not only added to the presentation, but complimented well the veal with its crisp exterior and flaky, buttery layers. A side of spinach also accompanied.
The Dolci course paled in comparison to the former two courses. My thick piece of Bread Pudding was actually quite good, spiced with vanilla and drizzled in a gooey caramel sauce. I happily enjoyed it but I really wish they would have offered more choices from the regular dessert menu. Perhaps the Torroncino Semifreddo or even a traditional tiramisu. I also noticed the bread pudding on the regular menu is served with Banana Gelato, so I felt jipped! Gelato would have perfectly complimented this dessert. Speaking of feeling jipped, the Molten Dark Chocolate Torte was pretty much the definition of the word. Yes, it was a tasty bite of rich chocolate sauce contained in a warm cakey-torte, but that's all it was, a bite. We actually had a good laugh about it as it was placed in front of Corinne. (I almost feel bad saying that, the poor little dessert, but....yes, we laughed at it!) Despite some uninspiring dessert offerings on their Restaurant Week menu, Bricco on the whole has won me over. Good company never hurts to maintain the fondness associated with a meal and an evening in general; but it is also the bustling urban atmosphere of this modern enoteca with a large yet intimate dining room, a sleek wine bar pouring inventive cocktails and a gorgeous open kitchen putting out solid dishes that makes it a North End destination I have come to adore. 
Bricco on Urbanspoon

25 comments:

Emily @ A Cambridge Story said...

I've always wondered about this place (hearing mixed reviews also). Thanks for your insight!

Fun and Fearless in Beantown said...

Bricco is one of my favorite North End spots. I've never tried the bread pudding but it looks AWESOME!

Elizabeth said...

I've never been to Bricco. The interior looks lovely and I'd definitely want to try out the menu.

Melissa said...

I've never been here. It looks delicious and I could use a limoncello martini!

In and Around Town said...

I have heard some mixed reviews, but will have to give this a try. Your food looked delicious!

Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic said...

What Melissa said! ;)

There are so many restaurants in the North End that I still have yet to try!

Meghan@travelwinedine said...

Oh how I love Bricco!

Corinne said...

you called it! you knew your bread pudding was supposed to come with something! i'd do it all over again in a heart beat. mini molten lava laughable cake and all. what a fabulously heartful recap :)

Amber Blue Bird said...

we have a Bricco here in CT, I wonder if its run by the same folks. I ate there once and thought it was overrated but I think its because I compare every Italian place to my favorite one in Little Italy in NY

Jaime @ La vie...J'aime said...

yum I love bricco! i didn't realize the north end has their OWN rest. week! i need to do that. Marco was DELISH. there was so much on the menu i wanted to try too...def need to go back. I recommend!

Michelle Collins said...

Looks like a fantastic meal! Z and I have an Eversave coupon for a restaurant in the North End that I am dying to use. It's been way too long since I've ventured out there!

Megan said...

Ooh... I would have ordered that eggplant too! I really love layered eggplant dishes. I really need to get to the North End!

this free bird said...

That egglant dish with the buffalo mozzarella? WHOA you had me at buffalo mozzarella! holy moly - i need to master that so we can eat it on the deck if i ever get it cleaned up. haha!

xo,
C

We Are Not Martha said...

I've always wanted to try Bricco and now I want to even more!! The meals look delicious... Hopefully they improve on their desserts :)

Sues

Shannon said...

wow, i want to go there soon!! that eggplant appetizer has my mouth watering :)

Bridget said...

Another one I've never been too...I feel like we always end up going to our favorite spots when it comes to the North End, but everything you had looks delicious, especially that appetizer. I also am a sucker for bread pudding. I'm not in love with rest. week but it makes a great excuse to go out with friends!

Juliana said...

Oh! Everything looks yummie...thanks for the review Daisy, and have a great week!

Simply Life said...

I just ate dinner and now I'm hungry again looking at your photos!

Kinsey Michaels said...

oh, how i just LOVE your restaurant reviews Daisy! yum yum. this place looks really glad, and i imagine it's an opportunity for restaurants to step up their game, since restaurant weeks are a perfect opportunity to try a new place or re-visit an old favorite. the cocktails look good (but wow, $15 for a martini is steep!)

ps - i don't know if you follow the BostonBloggers.com blog, but we're having a blogger networking dinner on tues the 12th at fire+ice at 7pm. would love to have you join us for drinks and/or dinner!

Kinsey Michaels said...

*this place looks really good(!)

5 Star Foodie said...

We really enjoyed Bricco on our last visit to Boston, it's an excellent place for sure!

Kelly said...

Looks like a great place, and the food looks fabulous. There are definitely places in Pittsburgh that lots of people call overrated, but are really great. I just say they're missing out!

Tricia said...

what a fabulous meal. cant wait til we have another North End girls night!

carlys27 said...

yay! i have been here! how delish!!

sewfrench.com said...

Any ideas on recreating the eggplant bake? We visited and ordered it a couple of months ago and have been salivating to make it, ever since!
Your review just tells me we need a return trip to Boston!
loritfrench@comcast.net