Saturday, May 14, 2011

Coppa Enoteca

On a quiet strip of Shawmut Avenue in the South End sits the intimate yet lively enoteca opened in 2009 by the duo of highly acclaimed Boston chefs; leader Ken Oringer and protégé Jamie Bissonnette. Bissonnette, known for his nose-to-tail cooking, his palate challenging dishes and his way with charcuterie, takes the reigns as executive chef displaying his prowess by way of Italian inspired small plates at Coppa. On Thursday evening, Elina, Meghan, Michelle, Bianca, Megan and myself were nestled comfortably at the table in front of the long narrow bar. The late evening sun show through the floor to ceiling windows in the background.Prefaced by a refreshing St Germain cocktail at The Franklin Cafe with an epilogue of Miller High Lifes at Delux, Coppa was the boisterous, feel good Thursday night experience highlighted by some really, really good food and wine. The cocktails are inventive, sparking serious intrigue as they maneuver seamlessly around a full liquor license utilizing cordial based ingredients along with fresh juices, vintage spirits and house made syrups and bitters. A Negroni Rosato ($9) combines Rosato vermouth, Aperol, Bols Genever and rhubard bitters for a well rounded Apertivi. It was refreshing with bright and sweet flavors and a wonderfully bitter finish. As we navigated the menu with our good spirited waitress there to guide us every step of the way, we placed our orders in multiple stages, feasting on Stuzzhicini (small italian bar snacks), salumi, offal, cold-antipasti, wood fired pizza and pastas. Wood roasted Meatballs Alforno ($6) are a blissful first bite, coated lightly in red sauce, draped with a strip of lard and sprinkled in parmesan cheese with just a hint of breadcrumb. Next, a Tonno Conserva ($7) presents cured tuna belly with anchovy, squash and parmesan on a slice of toast. It offered and interesting combination of ingredients with bold, unexpected flavors. The Crostini di Fegato ($6) follows in the same fashion, the chicken liver pate with mostarda was pungent and savory.
A Salumi platter ($10) offers the freshest daily selection of thinly sliced house cured meats. From Duck Prosciutto, Rabbit Porchetta, Prosciutto di Parma, Mortadella and more, the perfect slices offering an array of salty flavors and various textures are served on a whimsical pig shaped cutting board. House made pasta dishes include a remarkable Trophie con Pesto ($13) with pine nuts, piave and tender morsels of fingerling potatoes while a loose interpretation of Spaghetti alla Carbonara ($14) delights with smoked bacon, sea urchin and farm egg.Vegetables plates are rather lovely, as well. Seasoned with fresh herbs and tangy olive oil are the Funghi Marinati ($5). Then there was deliciously thick spears of Grilled asparagus ($7). (For some reason, I wasn't a huge fan of the just-barely poached egg, though.)The wine list is also worth mentioning, it offers boutique and artisianal wines from Italy. We first enjoyed a Refosco Bastianich Rosato ($28) and finished off the meal with a sparkling Faive Rose Brut ($30). The Salsiccia ($16) pizza is an absolute standout. While I was expecting to be awestruck by the non traditional offerings, without a doubt I would recommend ordering a pizza at Coppa. Tomato, spicy pork sausage, ricotta, and red onion is a well balanced blend of toppings; lighter on the sauce and generous on the ricotta, highlighted by the prevalent spice of the pork over a crispy wood grilled crust but an overall warm doughy pie. Simply amazing. I would also recommend trying at least one dish from the Offal menu.We tried the Coda de Maiale ($9) a wood oven roasted pigs tail with mostarda glaze. I found it to be exciting and versatile - crispy and salty reminiscent of bacon in one moment and a bite of tender fatty pork in the next. Two of the evenings specials showcased risk-taking combinations, the first a Burtatta and Black Cod Crudo. Almost an awkward pairing is sashimi style fish and the creamy buratta cheese, it seemed to work out okay, but not with flying colors. Same goes for the Chocolate Covered Foie Gras accented with a strawberry glaze. I'd be content if I never ate chocolate covered foie gras again in life; but that's not to say I didn't enjoy tasting it! I happily went back for a few more bites of this wildly adventurous pair. We ended the meal with a gorgeous Formaggio Plate, proving, in the end, that simple dishes truly do shine here at Coppa. My favorites of the evening were the classic dishes done well - the meatballs, the pizza, the pesto pasta, the house cured meat and the cheese plate. If you're offal averse - pigs tails and perhaps chicken liver just aren't your thing, don't bypass this South End enotecca in favor of playing it safe. The menu is versatile and caters to all types of food lovers, even vegetarians as evidenced by a few of our plates. When you combine that with swift, friendly service in a lively energetic atmosphere, it makes for one outstanding neighborhood restaurant.
Coppa on Urbanspoon

24 comments:

Simply Life said...

Looks like a great time! All that food looks incredible!

Melissa said...

The meatballs and pizza look delicious. Glad you had such a fun girls night!

Megan said...

Best ladies' night in a long time! SO glad we finally all got together for this dinner. That pizza really was tasty!

Meghan@travelwinedine said...

Such a fun night! Your drink looked really good; I will be trying it next time!

Elizabeth said...

The pasta carbonara and asparagus look so fantastic.

TheGuru said...

Thanks! That was some kind of food tour. Happens to be a favorite of mine as well. Keep up the good work.

Emily @ A Cambridge Story said...

Looks like a great night! I am finally going to Coppa next week so this is great timing!

We Are Not Martha said...

Everything looks awesome! I went to Coppa when they first opened and we had really bad service but incredible food. Might have to go back since I'm sure they've improved! :)

Sues

Jen said...

Wow - quite the dining experience! My tastebuds are living vicariously through you once again.

The meatballs are so pretty I thought they were dessert!

Mandy said...

Wow, wonderful!
My stomach is rumbling and my mouth is salivating....

5 Star Foodie said...

What a fun meal here! The The Trophie con Pesto looks excellent as well as pizza and I would certainly love to try that pig's tail with mostarda glaze, very cool.

Fun and Fearless in Beantown said...

I had so much fun with you and can't wait to go back to Delux again to close out any night! xo

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

Sounds like a delicious meal! I love how everything is in Italian- so authentic :)

Hatsie said...

Pizza looks delicious!!

In and Around Town said...

that pizza looks so good@

Bridget said...

Looks like a really fun girls night out!! Another place to add to my list haha

this free bird said...

even though it's before noon i could totally eat some meatballs and a pizza. i'm not sure what this says about me.

xo,
c

kfenton917 said...

A few wild pairing of foods at Coppa for sure. I enjoyed reading about them. The cutting board shaped like a pig is a vintage style cutting board I have been searching for in antique/consignment shops. This one in the photo looks new though. The hunt of the treasure continues. I must be getting close.

Anonymous said...

never had tuna belly you didn't say much about it

Laura said...

Looks delicious!! That Pizza looks amazing!!! Mouth is watering....

mr. pineapple man said...

one day im going to go to all of these places on your blog!

Shannon said...

what a great night! i've wondered about that place as i pass it all the time, so i'll have to remember to stop in next time :)

Kelly said...

Wow those were some seriously unique dishes! They looked lovely!

Alicia said...

what a great review! I love your pictures.