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Nov 6, 2006 06:24 PM

Copia - My favorite new restaurant this fall!

Well, finally got to Copia Saturday night for a late dinner at the bar. The place was hopping, though thankfully not as loud as when it was Meze. Some changes I noticed are cozy banquettes with high tables along the wall dividing the bar and the dining room, and carpet in some areas. I also liked some of the new details, like hooks under the counter for handbags, and brass foot rails for the banquettes. We got there about 9:15 and there was only one seat open at the bar itself, so we waited and about 15 minutes later we were able to both sit down. It was quite a pleasure to see Billy back behind the bar from his stint in Boca Raton, and we ended up having a tasting menu a la Billy - and boy did he choose winners. Nice bread basket with white bean puree, and olive oil for dipping. First up was the Roasted Mushrooms with Fried Duck Egg. Meaty sliced mushrooms topped by a perfect sunny-side duck egg that oozed out rich yolk to 'sauce' the mushrooms with Parmesan cheese and a hint of white truffle oil. I know I just wrote about a duck egg appetizer at Avila, but if you are looking for the best one in Boston, for me, this is it. Next up seems to be a very popular dish already at Copia - the Rosemary Pork Ribs - and I can see why. Tender, flavorful ribs crusted in rosemary, salt, garlic, and olive oil. Very addictive. Billy had the kitchen split our third course - a classic Caesar salad with the perfect amount of lemony dressing and I just LOVE those white anchovies (I think it was Galleygirl that got me into these). E was full, but I had to try one more dish. One of our bar mates was raving about the octopus, so that's what we got. Another winner - one of the best octopus dishes I've had in Boston - a North African stew of tender baby octopus in a deeply flavorful tomato-based broth with generous amounts of cilantro and wonderful spicy heat from harissa. We took a breather before we decided to have desesert. All of our dishes were under Hot Plates. We had no entrees this time, which is just the way I like to eat. We did see lots of good stuff, though, including a seafood paella that seemed to be very popular. Also, our bar mate on my side was polishing off his wood-grilled steak, fried asparagus with parmesan cheese (we saw a lot of this being ordered also), and the bacon au gratin potatoes, and declared that everything was delicious. I drank a wonderful Spanish white Billy had chosen for me, though I forget the name now. Desserts were apple turnovers for E, and a wonderful not-too-sweet pistachio and almond baklava for me. Though we were so full, we just had to try these since it was our first visit. Topped off with a Blanton's bourbon, and this finished off a wonderful meal.

So many things I want to try next time like the make-your-own Meditteranean platter with stuffed grape leaves, baba ghanoush, tzatziki, hummus, shaved zucchini salad, etc., the serrano ham with figs and goat cheese, zucchini and mint fritters with tahini, Portuguese clams and sausage, grilled sardines, braised lamb shank with chickpea stew, moussaka, and whole roasted branzino.

Now I'm hungry and have to heat up my leftover anchovy pizza from Pizzeria Regina ;)


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  1. Rubee, Please tell me that Billy the Bartender late of Boca, is the same Bill who held forth at Prezza for so many years...He made dining at the bar a monthly splurge which I always looked forward to. His recommendations were spot on and his ability to remember names was incredible.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Northender

      Well then, you better get over there and welcome him back!

    2. nice thorough review, rubee. thank you. have printed out menu and will be going soon! as we 'don't do' valet pkg, this will be a challenge. we basically stopped going to Olives for the pkg difficulty; sigh.

      1 Reply
      1. re: opinionatedchef

        We overcome this by taking the Orange or Green Line to North Station and walking over the N. Washington St/Charlestown Bridge; it's only about a ten-minute walk. Easy if the weather's not miserable. Of course, that walk was for Mezze; we stopped going to Olives for other reasons.

      2. There is some relatively inexpensive parking around the corner on Constituion Rd. Make a quick right on Warren, there will be an open lot right in front of you, or make a right and go down 1/2 block to the underground garage. Of course if you are the Boston mindset that refuses to pay for parking, this area is a losing proposition.

        1. Saw Copia the other day and thought about putting it on the list. After Rubee's review, it has been moved up the list.

          Parking: having lived in C-Town for a long time (no longer there), hints for on-street parking. Avoid nights when there is something at the Garden. Avoid very Wednesday night as the Warren Tavern has live bands and this is where the young crowd goes to get their dates for the weekend. Parking on Main Street, about 1 block up from Olives and right near Figs, is public parking. There usually isn't too much of a problem if you stay away during the times mentioned.

          Maybe Copia will start valet parking.

          1. copia has valet parking.We were there last weekend and were quite disappointed after reading the raves. The Ceasar Salad was excellent and all the other dishes were less than mediocre. WE had the octopus- bland- calamari- tasteless batter; pork ribs- overcooked and mushy and tasteless. The grilled sardines were just ok.The service was excellent. Really, really disappointed in the food especially since we are fans of Prezza.

            1 Reply
            1. re: emilief

              Wow - sorry you were disappointed! Especially that the baby octopus appetizer was bland since that was one of the spicier, more nuanced appetizers. When I had it, it was a perfect balance of flavors, including the heat from Harissa (a Tunisian hot pepper paste - which to me is the antithesis of bland). Was it a different appetizer?