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Dec 22, 2006 03:15 PM

Tresca, pleasantly surprised

Given the mixed reviews here and in the newspapers and the cost, I approached last night's dinner with some trepidation. I want to report that I was pleasantly surprised and I thought the food was delicious. I went with my family of four. My wife and I split a Pappardelle with wild mushrooms and black truffle shavings as an appetizer, just wonderful! My son had a shrimp appetizer (3 jumbo shrimp on a bean paste), also excellent. My wife and daughter got the 8 oz tenderloin, my son the 18 oz Delmonico and I the Short Ribs on polenta; the steaks were perfectly cooked and delicious. We also had 3 beers and 2 glasses of wine (they only have a beer and wine license). The bill came to $198 before tip, not too bad given the quality. I will definitely return.

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  1. I'm glad to see any kind of post on this place, but I have to admit, I'm a bit wary of any North End place with apps in the teens, pastas in the twenties, and entrees in the thirties. I tihnk you did well to feed four people so (comparatively) cheaply here.

    They post their menu online, but not even a sample wine list. I wonder what percentage of their list is under $100/bottle. I would not be surprised to see another very top-heavy selection here.

    1 Reply
    1. re: MC Slim JB

      I had the same reservations (Delmonico was $37 and the Tenderloins $30) but they were as good as anything I have had at Capital Grille or Abe and Louies and cooked perfectly. The apps were $12 for the Shrimp but it was very large and by splitting the Pasta as an appetizer it was pretty reasonable (I think the full order was $22) and also a very good amount.

    2. I always liked it quite a bit when it was Via Valverde (the same people who ran/cooked at the late, great Trattoria a la Scalinatella). Haven't been to Tresca yet.

      Has anybody been to both Via Valverde AND Tresca? Thoughts? Comparisons?

      2 Replies
      1. re: Bostonbob3

        I have been to both, and I find the food much better at Tresca than it was at VV. The dishes I tried at VV just seemed sloppy. I think as soon as Dan DeCarpis left, the food went down the tubes. Jason Tucker is at Tresca now, and he and Dan were in the kitchen at Scalinatella. I agree that it is a breath of fresh air to not have to deal with Paolo's drama queen routine. Whatever the cause of his departure was, it was a good decision. I just find it odd that he hasn't reappeared somewhere else in the North End.

        1. re: JCPope

          I went to VV twice, both when DeCarpis was chef, so that's the only reference point I have.

          At that point at least, I really enjoyed the cuisine a lot.

      2. I tried VV once only, and thought it was pretty bad, was ridiculously overpriced, and featured Paolo, the Overbearing Long-Winded Maitre'd. Not as good as Scalinatella, but less tacky-looking. Paolo is absent from Tresca, though.

        6 Replies
        1. re: MC Slim JB


          The rumor mill was that he was 86'd by his former B. Bruin investors for giving them the same Diva treatment one too many times....

          1. re: Northender

            Interesting. I was wondering what happened to him, because Paolo wasn't the maitre d', he was one of the owners of Trattoria à Scalinatella, and VV - In fact, I think he named it Via Valverde for something to do with his family. The chef, Dan Decarpis from Scalinatella, worked at Via Valverde, and then went on to Eclano - not sure if he is still there.

            1. re: Rubee

              Interesting. I knew he was a partner in Scalinatella and Via Valverde, but he also was working as host each of several times I visited Scalinatella and as the upstairs dining room host at VV the one time I went there.

              1. re: MC Slim JB

                Yes, you're right. He loved to be involved with the diners - he encouraged people to close the menu and let him suprise them with his choices. I liked Paolo - he was always wonderfully welcoming and gracious to us. You never opened a menu at Scalanitella as Paolo would always choose dishes for everyone in your party. In fact, this was where I first tried boar - a dish that Paolo chose as an appetizer for me one night - a wild boar carpaccio with cherries that I still remember. He also was very knowledgeable about wine, and the wine list at Scalinatella was phenomenal. In fact, he also opened the Wine Bottega, though I'm not sure if he still owns it.

                1. re: Rubee

                  I have a Sicilian-American friend who adored Paolo's attentions, stories, and suggestions. Paolo's schtick, though obviously well-intentioned, grated on me a bit; he had a tendency to jump in at unwelcome moments and stay a bit too long. He seemed to tone this tendency down a bit at VV, which worked better for me. Sometimes you want to go along for the ride, and sometimes you want to drive.

                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                    HA - yes, I have to say that my husband was more in your camp than mine.

        2. I like Paolo. Say what you want about him, but he was ALL about service. In fact when a friend of mine admired the waiters' coats at Via Valverde (sort of a Beatles-looking Nehru jacket sort of thing), Paolo gave him one, gratis.

          1. My one memory of Paolo was calling Trattoria Scalinatella around 5 on a Saturday, and asking if he might have availability for 2 that evening. This was back in the days when TS was very popular and reservations were made days (or maybe even weeks) in advance but I figured it was worth a shot. Maybe there had been cancellations? I'll never forget he scoffed at me "Hrrrhmmph. No." So I never got to eat there.