Where: Coppa – 253 Shawmut Avenue Boston, MA 02118
When: November, 2011
I was thrilled when Alyssa suggested we try Coppa in the South End for our next outing as I have heard a lot of good things about this place. We set a date weeks in advance due to our (mostly her) crazy schedules. Then I get sent to New Orleans for a last minute work trip and the only direct flight back has me missing dinner so I booked a crappy connecting flight through Cincinatti. I was determined. My flight was about 20 minutes late so I was one of those people tearing through the airport with my scarf and suitcase flying behind me. I got there 10 minutes late and a little frantic but Alyssa seemed less fussed about my tardiness than I was (did I mention she had been there for 40 minutes total as we could only get a 6:30 reservation? She rocks).
All the running was well worth it – the place is charming and cozy! Like any real Italian place they pack a lot of tables into a small space but you don’t feel cramped or crowded. Its just right. The waitstaff are all casually dressed (Brandeis t-shirt on ours) and very friendly.
Alyssa started with the Aperol Spritz (aperol, prosecco and soda) which she confessed was one of the main reasons she wanted to come here. Aperol was her drink of choice while in Italy and not many places in Boston have it. She let me try it and we both looked at each other and exhaled “refreshing” at each other. I had a glass of the Cortese which was crisp and perfect to cool me down after my mad dash.
Now… food. We split a few things to be able to try as many things as we could. We started with the Funghi Marinati which isn’t just fun to say but fun to eat as well (as you try not to let your fork pop them off your plate on to your neighbor). These mushrooms were marinated and served in Eva’s herbs. Bravo, Eva. I have a special place for mushrooms in my heart and belly as from about 12-16 years old that’s the only thing I would agree to eat when dining out. As a family we would go to these wonderful restaurants from Sao Paulo to Vancouver and I would threaten to starve myself unless the chef sauteed mushrooms and plopped them on some toast for me. I was practically made of mushrooms.
We then got the Prosciutto di Parma, a generous plate of salty prosciutto drizzled with just a drop of olive oil. Eat it on bread, eat it with more oil, eat it alone. No matter how you eat it, its salty goodness.
Here comes the Mele e Burrata. Heirloom apples with Maria’s Burrata and charred lemon. I was a little lukewarm about this one. I couldn’t quite pin it down but it was just a little too tart for me and I’m just not crazy about the flavor combination although I love all the components separately.
And now. Get ready. Arancini! Not only fun to say, as anything ending in “cini” is, but terribly delicious. These are traditional fried risotto balls with fontina cheese. Oh my. Yes. Four more orders please. They were deep fried and crisp on the outside but you cracked it open with your fork to reveal the softest creamiest risotto. I don’t know what sauce they served it with but I did find myself stealing the last piece of bread to sop up the remainder of it once I had polished off my arancini. This was the highlight for me, hands down.
Would I go back? I have to, there are so many things I didn’t get to try! Like the Sea urchin and salami panino with mustard seeds, the house-cured white anchovies, and the fluke crudo. Those are just the small plates, just wait until you see the full menu!