Antico Forno - bad food, great pizza
Went to Antico Forno for the first time last night. We had an excellent pizza with sausage, broccoli rabe, cherry tomatoes, and mozz di bufala. Perfect crust, nicely salty, crumbly sausage perfectly cooked, not oily at all.
However, the rest of the food was pretty bad.
We started with bowls of ribollita - terrible. Very bland, underseasoned, only a couple little cubes of bread - it tasted like they used canned soup and chucked some croutons in it. After the pizza, my girlfriend had baked rigatoni with sausage and ricotta, and I had veal scalopini with artichoke hearts, mushrooms, roasted potatos, and green beans. The rigatoni was overcooked and the sauce tasted like spaghettios sauce. The veal underwhelming - bland, underseasoned sauce, underseasoned boring potatos and green beans, canned artichoke hearts, and shiitakes that were clearly just chopped thin and thrown into the sauce and not sauteed first.
I might be back for pizza at Antico Forno (some of the best pizza I've had in Boston), but I have the feeling that is the only item they have on the menu that is any good.
We did go to Finale for dessert. I haven't been for a while, but I was pleasantly surprised. I had the seasonal sampler - bundt cake with creme anglaise and cranberry sorbet, a chocolate mousse tower with whole almonds and chocolate rice krispy thingys, and half a roasted pear with peach sauce. Excellent - bundt cake was moist, mousse very rich, and pear very refreshing. Girlfriend had their chocolate souffle - good, but not amazing. Finale can be a bit overpriced, but I feel my sampler was worth 12 bux.
Actually, I am surprised you weren't happy with the rest of your food at Antico Forno. I've never had a bad meal there. I think their gnocchi dishes is one of the best in Boston. I'd be curious to hear if others have been there recently and if they've detected some change.
Antico Forno was once a favorite of mine, but the last two times I've been there, it seems like it's regressed to be par with most of the other average North End places. Here's a report from last year: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...
Just to make sure that time wasn't an abberation, I went again earlier this fall, and it was pretty much as the OP said. I wish I got the pizza to have salvaged my dinner. The ribollita there was pretty atrocious. I also got a gnocchi special, and that was pretty good, but not worth writing about. Maybe I have to give them one more shot, since my favorite items, besides the pizza, were the roasted meat dishes.
Interesting. That report from last yr that you linked has a review from me, where I was sort of disappointed w my gnocchi. Wow. What a memory I've got, eh? I guess I tend to remember the good over the bad, which I guess isn't the worst thing in the world, right? It's probably 'cause 9 out of 10 gnocchis there have been really delicious, so i forget that one mediocre time....
I'm surprised the piza is considered one of the best pizzas in Boston, especially by proclaimed Italian food connoisseurs. It is good pizza but definitely not Emma's pizza for instance.
I was at Antico Forno 2 weeks ago or so and had an excellent Caprese salad as well as tried out 2 pizzas. They try for the best but it doesnt hit the mark I think. It is definitely not authentic pizza. It is a pizza to settle for once you realize that you cant get better maybe...
Just curious Wax... was Antico Forno the place chosen for your occasion :) ?