Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Davide--Grazie and Prego

What differentiates Davide from every other North End restaurant? This is the question that was lingering in our minds. Was it the service? The food? It was not the location. Off the beaten path (i.e. two blocks off Hanover street) and right across the street from the harbor, you could walk by its subterranean entrance and not even know it's there. When we went, which was a non-weekend night, it was not crowded and we had the full attention of the waiter.

We liked the service. It was Italian, almost exaggerated Italian. Every one of our “Thank you's” was met with a prompt “Prego”. When ordering, we were specifically told that we had to order in Italian, as in the language. None of this bothered us, we found it quite entertaining. The d├ęcor could have been ripped right from a godfather movie with a whole collection of faux marble David busts in every corner and very fitting exposed brick walls. The very comfortable booths seem fitting locations for the the planning and scheming of the family. We see why they would come considering the great fresh baked bread and olive oil.

The prices are a bit high at Davide, so come with a full wallet. For our appetizer, we got the Involtini di Melanzane translated as rolled eggplant stuffed with goat cheese and ricotta in plum tomato sauce ($12). We really liked this dish. Think of a strip of fried eggplant delicately cut from the prized portion of an eggplant parmesan then wrapped around melting goat cheese, with a nice big slice of Parmesan cheese on top.
The main course only got better. The Anitra al Porto, pan seared breast of duck in a port wine fig sauce ($28) was sweet and scrumptious. The tender sliced morsels were smothered in a sweet sauce served with a fried triangle of polenta and several roasted asparagus.
Scrooge Mc'Yum
Our second entree was not as memorable as the first. The chicken breast with artichokes in a mustard sauce was just ok ($22). The artichokes were delicious but the chicken was a bit overcooked.
Chicken chicken me like chicken
A little pricey for our normal tastes, we highly recommend you keep your eyes open for any groupons.

Davide Restaurant
326 Commercial Street
Boston, MA‎
(617) 227-5745‎

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Il Panino Express - Satisfying your pizza fix

Meandering down Hanover Street, the scents of hot pasta and sweet canolis wafting through the air, it is impossible not to stop for pizza. We've heard those who live and work in the North End fulfill their pizza cravings at least once a day. It is as though the street itself beckons even the most steely-willed passerby into sampling a fresh, gooey pizza pie.

The Palateers, out with friends for a wine tasting at the Wine Bottega, found their stomachs rumbling with pizza cravings after sipping the final red sample. The merry, wine glass-clinking, pasta twirling atmospheres of the open air restaurants pulled them in for a bite.

Il Panino Express is North End pizza at its simplest. The menu is classic Italian with very reasonable prices for pizza ($10.95-$12.95 for a pie), pasta ($9.95-$10.95), and paninis ($6.95). The service is anything but the over-friendly, Prego repeating of Davide; it’s more of a make-your-order-at-the-counter-and-get-out-of-the-way-for-the-next-customer-type. Be prepared to carry your own hot tray to your table but don’t worry about a tip. Which suited us just fine this night.

Al Funghi - get your mushroom on

For six people, we ordered the Margarita pie ($10.95) with fresh plum tomato, mozzarella and basil and the Al Funghi ($12.95) with plum tomato, mozzarella and practically an entire container of mushrooms. Starving, we devoured the pies, which proved to be just a little too much for the six of us. The pizza was just greasy enough in a melt in your mouth kind of way, although the crust was a little burnt on both pies. We hardly noticed as the pizza disappeared almost as fast as it arrived on our table in true Express form.

Margarita - classic cheese without the frills

Il Panino Express – crisp around the edges but perfect for satisfying your pizza fix in the North End.

Trattoria il Panino Express
227 Hanover St
Boston, MA 02113