After a few weeks of North End take-out hits and misses (mostly misses; see below for run-down), I was ready and excited to try a North End restaurant. I'd enviously walked up and down Salem Street numerous times as diners sat around tables, nursing large bottles of vino and sampling tantalizing pasta dishes. Finally, on this past Friday night, it was my turn!
We decided to try Taranta-- Skylar had been there before and enjoyed it enough to go back, and Julia was game for anything. Also, I was intrigued by it being Italian meets South American food-- I'm really enjoying fusion cuisine (done right) these days. We headed over pretty late-- around nine -- and were seated at a table up front near the open windows. Sadly, I did not remember my camera!! And the lighting was such that cell phone pictures were out of the question. But the interior was very romantic-- think brick walls and white linen tableclothes with votive candles.
The restaurant definitely had that Hanover St buzz to it-- loud and boisterous dinner conversations, sound from the street pouring through the open front, that warm summer breeze drifting through. The service was also Hanover St service-- friendly but at a very quick pace. Not bad though considering I was quite hungry.
I had quite a hankering for pasta (maybe because I've been smelling it for the past 3 weeks) and so decided to try the Gnocchi with green lamb ragu ($25). Our waitress said it was their signature pasta dish, and I can understand why. Here's the "official" description of it: Cassava root gnocchi with a slow braised "Chicha de Jora" green lamb ragu and shaved parmesan (Spicy).
The gnocchi was lighter than usual and less doughy since it was made from the Cassava root, and whatever "Chicha de Jora" is certainly gave the dish a nice and welcomed kick! All in all it was utterly delicious. Definitely one of the best dishes I've had in Boston-- rivaled the pasta dish from Sorellina (they were both excellent, but in different ways, one being sweet, the other spicy).
Skylar got a perfectly cooked pan-seared tuna ($28) that was delicious and melted in your mouth. Julia's stuffed chicken was delicious as well-- I really enjoyed the slow-roasted tomatoes and POLENTA! My favorite starch.
Funniest (or most disturbing?) part of the evening was when a drunk reveler tried to scale the side of the building, got half way up, and fell, grabbing on to the awning and making it crash down. I guess he was alright though since he got up and ran away! However, the best part about this was that when we were leaving, the Chef (in normal clothes, obviously on his way out) stopped and chatted with us about the incident-- explaining what happened, etc. But as you know, Dish Gal loves chefs, so it was the perfect end to a delicious meal-- chatting it up with the chef in my new 'hood =)