The Aquitaine Group’s fifth restaurant in Boston’s South End, La Motta’s, will open to the public on Tuesday, October 27th in the space formerly occupied by Union Bar and Grille at 1357 Washington Street.
La Motta’s is described as a “Bronx-style” Italian-American restaurant, and their menu will focus on classic red sauce staples like baked clams, mozzarella sticks, meatballs, chicken parm, lasagna, shrimp scampi, and thin crust pizza.
The former home of Union is so completely redesigned you would never know it was the same space. The entrance on Washington Street was moved about 15 feet to the right and the restaurant includes a cozy 12-seat bar, 70-seat dining room and eventually a 30-seat outdoor back alley patio, which conjures images for yours truly from the Walt Disney cartoon, Lady and the Tramp.
1357 Washington St
Boston, Ma 02118
Photo Credit: Frenchie and The Yankee
This past weekend I arranged for a blind croissant tasting to identify which coffee shop in the South End serves the very best. To help me, I enlisted three friends from France who now live here in the US to sample and critique croissants from five South End cafes.
Photo Credit: Frenchie and The Yankee
Cafe Madeleine (above) wins in blind tasting for best croissant in South End
Photo Credit: Frenchie and The Yankee
Croissants were judged on three criteria: size, texture and taste. Each category was weighted differently with taste being the most important. While none of the selected cafes achieved a perfect score; Cafe Madeleine was the clear winner – consistently achieving the highest scores from everyone.
Flour in the South End finished with a respectable second place but the remaining three cafes; Wholy Grain, South End Buttery and Appleton Cafe scored very low, suggesting there is a lot of opportunity to improve.
Thank you to Sergio, David, Mark, Frederic and Olivier for all your help.
I’m a big fan of shopping local and supporting small businesses so I wanted to give a shout out to Wasik’s Cheese Shop in Wellesley, MA. Last week Sergio stopped by this quaint family owned and operated business in Wellesley Square to purchase cheese and meats. The shop owner, Carol Wasik, noticed Sergio shopping and took time to answer his questions and help guide him with his purchases. The cheeses and meats have all been consumed and they were delicious. If I lived in or closer to Wellesley I would be there regularly.
If you shop at Wasik’s, tell Carol that BosGuy loved the food.
So often I hear people complain about poor customer service, but that is never my experience when I shop at a local business like Wasik’s. If you really value small businesses and appreciate quality service, consider supporting more stores like Wasik’s before you head off to your next mega, super, national chain. You might be surprised by how much you enjoy the shopping experience.
Wasik’s Cheese Shop has been serving customers since 1964.
SRV (Serene Republic of Venice) is a soon to open South End, Italian restaurant. To build interest SRV will host two Pop Ups this week to offer you a “sip and a taste” of what is to come.
SRV Chefs will host the first Pop Up at the Central Square restaurant Brick and Mortar on Wednesday, September 30th from 10 pm until Midnight. Guests may sample: nervetti fritti-beef tenderloin, black pepper and parmesan; scallop crudo; baby octopus; cippolini; and baccala montecato-black bread, herbs and garlic. The second Pop Up will take place at the South End restaurant, Toro on Thursday, October 1 from 10 pm until Midnight where guests may sample polpette-pork and veal meatballs; soft boiled quail eggs; and baccala montecato- black bread, herbs and garlic.
The small bites at both Pop Ups are complimentary and will include a cash bar, featuring signature cocktails from SRV.
SRV is now targeting a November opening at 569 Columbus Ave in the South End.
Kitchen is a cute little restaurant in the South End. When it first opened a few years back, chef and owner, Scott Herritt created a menu that paid tribute to mid-20th century cuisine (think Lobster Thermidor). While I salute Herritt’s creativity, I never found the menu appealing and only visited a couple of times.
Last week Boston Restaurant Talk reported that Kitchen has rebranded itself as a local seafood restaurant; focusing on New England seafood. The menu includes items like Portuguese fisherman stew, fried haddock sandwich, lobster casserole, etc… as well as a few non-seafood items like their double bacon cheeseburger and short ribs). You can check out their new menu here.
The South End could use a few more seafood restaurants; right now B&G is really the only option. Bravo Chef Herrit. I will definitely check out your new menu.
Saturday, October 3rd Dinner Lab partners with Bombay Sapphire gin to host a pop-up restaurant for foodies in Boston. Dinner Lab is a members-only supper club that operates in 25+ cities around the US that connects adventurous diners with rising star chefs for an unique dining experience.
The forthcoming dinner in Boston will also showcase creative cocktails with two specialty pre-dinner drinks that Chef Uckan will have designed personally to whet your appetite. To attend you must become a member (membership fee is $175). I have no affiliation with Dinner Lab and have not attended an event previously, but if you have attended or do end up going, please let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment in this post.
Yogurt soup | pulled lamb shoulder | spicy kale root |fresh herbs
Fresh herb & bulgur salad | roasted & spiced pepper |pomegranate seed | molasses glaze
Crispy eggplant | oven roasted vegetable ragout |tomato sauce | crème fraîche
Roasted goat | charred eggplant | pickled red cabbage| pea pureé & poppy seed
Dondurmali Irmik Helvasi
Semolina halva | vanilla ice cream | walnut & pistachio stuffed fig
Prior to arriving in Cuba I kept hearing that the food ranged from bland to bad. And that is exactly how I would describe some of the food we had while visiting, but the good news is there are some really good restaurants. Rather than focusing on the disappointing meals, I thought I’d highlight two of my favorite.
The day we spent walking through Old Havana we had lunch at Paladar Dona Eutimia. The tiny hole-in-a-wall restaurant with a front patio little bigger than a postage stamp actually had a bit of a wait so we put our names in and walked to El Patio Restaurante, (which I would recommend for drinks). After having a cocktail followed by complimentary shots of Cuban rum at El Patio, we were more than ready for our lunch. The good news is that the handsome host / manager took a liking to our table and ended up waiting on us. After he heard our American accents and jovial demeanor more rum seemed to materialize so while I’ll admit I had a good rum buzz going, I can assure you the food was as delicious as it was affordable. The majority of appetizers range in price from $2 – $4 and main plates range from $7 – $12.
Unfortunately my ‘rum buzz’ meant that I was too stimulated to remember to take photographs of our meal. Although as you can see at the start (before all that rum) I remembered to take a picture of the menu (see above). The food was fairly simple – think of it as ‘home style Cuban’ – but it was really delicious. I ended up ordering the Suprema de Pollo Grille (grilled chicken breast) for $7.00. All meals came with large bowls of rice, beans and fried plantains. Needless to say we all left very satisfied.
By contrast the dinner I would like to share was much more chic. El Cocinero is located in the Vedado neighborhood in a space that was formerly a vegetable oil factory. They have a beautiful outdoor dining room patio on the second floor as well as a small indoor dining room (see photo) that has an urban vibe. If you climb to the top of the building’s roof deck, you can get food (although it is not the full dining room menu) and drinks under the night sky in Havana. The night we were there the roof deck was full of foreigners and well-heeled Cubans sipping cocktails, enjoying their food and listening to a great DJ. I didn’t take notes on the price of the plates we ordered but dinner which included starters, main dishes, dessert and (lots of) cocktails came out to $30 per person.
Blog posts from this series:
Post 1: An American in Havana
Post 2: An American in Havana: The Cuban people
Post 3: An American in Havana: The architecture
Post 4: An American in Havana: Old Havana
Post 5: An American in Havana: The food
Post 6: An American in Havana: The cars