Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Terrace @ Aragosta

I hope everyone had wonderful Memorial Day Weekend! Mine was pretty tame and thankfully felt as long as it was. There was some major relaxation happening (spa day! + reading in the park), just a hint of productivity (loads of laundry + a few errands) coupled with some amazing eats (Backyard BBQ, dinner at Citizen Public House) but best of all, here in New England we were finally able to welcome summer weather. I'll have a post up in a few days, but for now enjoy my recap of last weeks patio party....On Wednesday evening I visited one of Boston's newest waterfront dining destinations, Aragosta Bar & Bistro located in The Fairmont Battery Wharf. Aragosta replaces the former hotel restaurant Sensing, completely revitalizing the outdoor space with tables overlooking picturesque Boston Harbor and plush couches surrounding cozy firepits. Deep brown wicker patio furniture combined with rust colored umbrellas and fabrics set the scene as bloggers trickled into a private tasting of Chef David Daniels contemporary Italian cuisine and specialty Italian themed cocktails. Making a lasting first impression is an especially inventive cocktail, starting off sweet and finishing with a punch the Yellow Pepper Limoncello Sour pairs the classic Italian liquor with vodka, agave nectar, lemon juice and fresh chive. Also up for sampling was their well poured Moscow Mule starring Grey Goose Vodka with pureed ginger, freshly squeezed lime juice and club soda. More traditional is the Mule, great for those who can appreciate a strong bite from the fresh ginger. Platters of Hand Crafted Salumi, Caponata, Hot Cherry Peppers & Crusty Bread were waiting for us upon arrival. Along with some loaves of soft and chewy bread accompanied by olives in olive oil. I didn't hesitate to dig right in. Shortly after, the Tartufo Fries cooked in duck fat and truffle oil swept us off our feet. The Lobster & Truffle Crostini with a white bean puree is definitely an appetizer I would recommend, boasting thick chunks of succulent lobster accented by luxurious earthy truffle in every bite. The sweet velvety Lobster Bisque was inviting and comforting, even when sipped on a warm summer evening. Aragosta is Italian for lobster and living up to its namesake it certainly was. The Sautéed Calamari Salad served with baby arugula, San Marzano tomato, balsamic and an olive tapenade would be an excellent start to a summer meal, the variety of flavors in this dish highlighting the cool toothsome squid. The evening only went uphill from here. Our waitress was more than happy to take additional drink orders, so a few of us chose the intriguing Settana Cinque described on the menu as the Italian version of the “French 75”; a cocktail that “hits with remarkable precision”, it combines Aperol liquor shaken with freshly squeezed lemon juice and prosecco.Somehow I missed sampling the Braised Veal & Pancetta Meatballs with soft polenta and arugula, but they sure looked good. Once the appetizer bites were through, plate after plate of small entree portions were delivered. We ooed and aahed our way through the delectable homemade pasta courses and stuffed ourselves even more with a heartier New England seafood dish and a Pork entree after that. I couldn't believe how much food we tasted! Pappardelle Bolognese, Veal Cheek & Ox Tail Ragu, Porcini Powder. The thick coils of pappardelle pasta were exquisite, the flavorful ragu of shredded veal cheek and ox tail accompanied a melty hunk of brie cheese. This felt like a winter time entree to me, probably because I always crave a thick hearty Bolognese when it's cold out. That's not to discourage if you were in the mood, the components still hold up on a warm summer evening. Orecchiette, Broccoli Rabe, Pancetta, Capers, Preserved Lemon. Now this is one that beckons summer on a patio to me, definitely the pasta entree I am craving the most and would order upon my return. Bursting with salty, lemony flavors, those little pockets of perfectly shaped orecchiette delicately cradled the pancetta and capers, the crisp broccoli rabe rounding out the dish. Gnocchi, Slow Cooked Lamb Shoulder, Rosemary Citrus Jus, Asparagus. A thoughtful pairing is gnocchi with lamb and asparagus, as opposed to just plain old gnocchi, this dish steps it up. The dense cushions of potato pasta get coated in a thick creamy cheese sauce and a dusting of breadcrumbs, while the entire dish relishes the potent rosemary citrus jus. Lobster Ravioli, Wilted Pea Greens, Fennel Pollen, Cauliflower , Truffle. (Well, there was Cauliflower accompanying this ravioli at one point.) There's that heavenly lobster and truffle combination again. The lobster filling was good but I'd personally go for the Crostini appetizer or the bisque over this to get my lobster fix. However, the menu should only benefit from this dressed up Italian staple as it is a dish that has lasting mass appeal. Seared Tuna, Roasted Fennel, Marcona Almonds, Golden Raisin Puree. Each piece of sushi grade tuna came perfectly seared on the edges. When paired with bites of the candied marcona almonds, sweet golden raisin puree as well the contrasting bite of fennel, it worked well. PT Farms Pork Chop, Fontina, Pancetta, Algre Dolce Peppers. A well cooked pork chop comes coated in melted fontina cheese, with more of that intensely firm and salty pancetta.Somewhere in between all this I ordered a glass of Prosecco, happily sipping it in the comfy confines of the terrace couches with good company, as the sun went down and the cooler night air set in. The tasting wrapped up with a Marscapone Ice Cream accompanying a golden raisin filled tart dusted with powdered sugar. The ice cream stole the show. Each dish with its own unique flair offered a beautiful presentation using fresh seasonal ingredients. I would also like to note that while this tasting was complimentary, the price points clock in with first courses between $10-15, pasta entrees start at $17 and seafood entrees average around $30.It's not often that the North End sees a new restaurant opening, much less a waterfront destination. Seems the new spots are always popping up in Cambridge, Back Bay, the South End, or Liberty Wharf (everywhere but here, basically) so we deserve this one! I have a strong inclination to return to the terrace already! Sipping cocktails and watching the sunset over the harbor never really gets old. Visit Aragosta just steps from The North End's Hanover Street at Three Battery Wharf.
Aragosta Bar + Bistro on Urbanspoon

22 comments:

  1. Looks like a perfectly relaxing spot!! I had no idea that restaurant changed! It's so beautiful down there, and all your food and drinks look spectacular.

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  2. This place looks incredible. I want to go there NOW and eat orecchiette and sip white wine! (OK, maybe not right now -- but really soon!)

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  3. That whole meal looks incredible from start to finish! Glad to see they also really utilized their harbor side location

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  4. Looks like I missed some good stuff towards the end! And the space looks fantastic once the sun goes down. I'd love to go back there.

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  5. i really like the cover of their menu, haha! i want that meat plate and the gnocchi...mm. and cute sunglasses!

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  6. Everything looks soooo good! And you ladies look lovely, as always ;) I'd definitely want to check out Aragosta soon, great review!

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  7. Aaaaaand I'm drooling! Thank you for the fantastic, mouth watering recap! I will absolutely be checking this place out!

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  8. wow, now i'm ready for lunch :) everything looks great, and i'll have to remember that next time i'm in the area!

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  9. all of this food looks SO good. I want a heaping bowl of pasta and bread now lol ;) Nashville was amazing- i think you'd love it!

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  10. What a lovely place to meet with friends and eat. The food looks wonderful. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

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  11. My palette is so jealous right now! The drinks look so light and summery!

    The sunset over the harbor... now that is a view I could get used to.

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  12. Great write up!! I just ate lunch and reading this is making me hungry again haha. I didn't get to try the fries or the bolognese, but they looked awesome. Hope to see you again soon!

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  13. This looks like such a fantastic spot!

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  14. The food looks great and you're right, waterfront dining is lacking in that area.

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  15. wow the view must have been amazing. I love dining outside especially when there are yummy cocktails around

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  16. Sounds amazing! I was so sad to miss this even just when I knew I had to- even sadder after reading your thoughts! Definitely have to check it out soon!

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  17. That spread looks like a dream... what awesome weather you had for the tasting!

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  18. Should I have read your blog on an empty stomach??????? Yes ... now I've got inspiration and thirst. This looks beautiful!


    hope to hear from you*!
    www.amyflyingakite.com

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  19. First of all - I love the photo of you four - miss you like crazy...
    This place looks great - love the patio and the food!!

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  20. When are we going back for fries?!

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  21. I was there yesterday with my girlfriend. We sat in the patio and enjoyed the great view. Everything went smooth.... A++ :) X3

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