RW 07: Taranta
Had a really lovely evening at Taranta last night. Initially we were offered a table overlooking the street, but were worried it would get too chilly so opted for one along the wall instead. (Was that the chef/owner who greeted us? He wore a black chef’s jacket.)
Charming waiter and atmosphere, bread a bit chewy, and serving only the Restaurant Week menu. (After a bit of disappointing service at Sorellina last week, I actually think I prefer this: like it or not, it’s only logical that a waiter would aim for better service at a table where he’ll be getting a bigger check. Serving only the RW menu eliminates this.)
All wines were 7.07, except for the red and whites of the day. The red of the day was a Malbec, which my friend ordered and enjoyed; I had a Montepulciano.
We both started with the pan roasted mussels with braised pancetta and shallots, in a delicious sauce (enter the chewy bread—perfect for sopping it up!). The cucumber soup at the next table over also looked quite nice. One mussel was unopened, but in a giant bowl of them, who can complain?
My only quibble with the service was that they cleared plates before we were both finished, my biggest restaurant pet peeve. Wait for EVERYONE to put their forks down, please! Also, the waiter or kitchen must have timed it wrong, because they brought over our mains while I was still sopping up some of that broth with my bread.
Next, I had the gnocchi (handmade?) with braised lamb ragu and parmesan. Again, fabulous sauce, a bit of kick to it, really nice mix of flavors. Friend had the tilapia, which I had a bite of, with fried garbanzos. She seemed to enjoy it a lot, and we were definitely more-than-satisfied with the portion sizes.
For dessert, she was the clear winner with the limoncello sorbet. I found my mango cheesecake to be cloyingly sweet and should have just waited it out for a cannoli down the street.
All in all, a wonderful dinner, and I’d definitely recommend Taranta for RW.
I was there last night too. We had a great second-floor table and enjoyed the view.
The cucumber soup with shrimp and quinoa was a perfectly refreshing summer soup, and the gnocchi with lamb ragu was perfectly cooked and just spicy enough. I liked the mango mousse, but then I have a pretty high sugar-tolerance threshold.
It was my first time at Taranta - definitely worth braving the North End morass.
I am with you both on your review of Taranta and even more on the pet peeve. I've even been at ***** restaurants (4 Seasons in NYC, etc.) where they clear plates while people are still eating. It makes me so mad! Not only does it make the eater hurry up, it makes everyone else (or maybe just me) uncomfortable.
Taranta's regular menu is quite varied. I hear you can also do private cooking dinners with the chef, and can make homemade mozzarella. The chef is quite tall, dark, and good looking :). No, I'm not married to him. But I hear he did a demo for the Food Network--not sure how that worked out, but I'd watch his show!
Hit up Taranta last night and was quite pleased overall with the experience. Service was prompt and attentive once the waitress actually came over to take our orders. I managed to protect my plate from being cleared during the first course when my DC was already done with her soup, but other than that, things ran smoothly. My mussels were absolutely fabulous to the point that I mopped up every last bit of broth. My lord. Especially loved the texture and taste of the shallots. The gnocchi were light and fluffy, but a little chewy and the lamb ragu was slightly spicy and delicious. Also quite filling. Mango mousse was quite sweet, but I liked it, though not as much as the limoncello sorbet - man, that stuff is addictive.
A high point of my RW experiences for sure. Great job, Taranta!