Dinner in the North End for Italian tonight.
Here's an excerpt and photos from our posting:
"Dinner tonight is in the North End
, famous for Italian food. We have 7:00 reservations at Al Dente
. The North End is quaint with narrow streets and small tratorrias and gelaterias.
Al Dente is a small place seating about 60. It is busy, very loud and cramped. It feels like you are eating at a big Italian family event. Classic white Italian loaf and butter packets arrive with menus. Service is understandable harried but friendly. Our Barolo is delivered to the table and poured into cheap red wine glasses. I kind of expected tumblers but this is typical.
We want to try a few things so we order the lobster ravioli starter and the caprese salad. Both are large portions for starters. Four large lobster and ricotta stuffed ravioli swim in a decadent cream rose sauce with more chunks of lobster and fresh garlic and tomatoes...and Parmesan cheese. Take that Scott Conant, of the school of "it's wrong to serve cheese with seafood". The caprese is almost classic but has the addition of red onion which does not add to the delicateness of this already perfect combo. The tomatoes tonight are average, the fresh mozzarella is thick cut and rounded out by a balsamic syrup reduction and a chiffonade of fresh basil.
For mains I order the shrimp and calamari fra diavolo and Rob orders the gnocchi with sausage. My linguine is perfectly cooked and there is a very nice heat from chili peppers. The calamari is plentiful, the shrimp are not. The portion is huge. I can only eat about 1/3.
Rob's gnocchi is served in a plum tomato sauce with sundried tomatoes, capers, basil, pecorino romano and Parmesan cheese, mushrooms and white wine with addition of plentiful 1 1/2-ince slices of sweet sausage. The richness of the cooked-down tomatoes is multiplied by the sun-dried tomato and cheese. The whole dish is meaty, hearty and substantial. So substantial, that he could manage only half."
Al Dente was great... A real family vibe... Noisy, raucous, in fact, and the food was great, home-cooked Italian-American.
Here's a link to the complete post:
New Post: Boston's history, it's ghosts and the North End. http://happymouth.ca/?p=7479