Daily Catch Brookline
So, checked the place out this week. Initial impression - OK, but not all that. Wife and I shared a fried calamari appetizer - very respectable, nicely tender, served with a nothing-special marinara dipping sauce.
After our many wonderful experiences with spaghetti alla vongole in Sicily we both went for the Daily Catch's whole-clams version of this. The pasta they used was a thinnish linguine, perfectly cooked and a nicely reasonable (i.e., not humongous) portion, but the clams (cherrystones) were overcooked and chewy.
But the real disappointment was the overwhelming load of garlic in the dish. There should be some, sure, but this was over the top. I know a lot of people like this and have come to expect it, but it is NOT authentic. Reminds me of a line from an interview in the Globe last year with Marcella Hazan:
Q: What is the biggest mistake we [in the US] still make in cooking Italian food?
A. Too much garlic! Too much ruins everything. We say in Italy that what you keep out is as important as what you put in.
For the record, my wife is one of those "no such thing as too much garlic" people, so she loved it (except for the overcooking part). But that doesn't make it right. My quest continues for a local version anywhere near as good as those we ate in Sicily.
Cover story in this week's Brookline TAB about it: http://www.wickedlocal.com/brookline/...
Bottom line: the Fredduras, of North End Daily Catch fame, own the place and have been trying without success to sell it for the past few years. Meanwhile their son, Basil Freddura, just graduated from Johnson & Wales culinary institute and persuaded them to reopen it under his direction.
From the TAB article: "Freddura said he plans to keep the classic Daily Catch menu — known for its black squid-ink pasta — and spice it up with his own inventions, with weekly specials inspired by the seasonal produce and fresh seafood. His second day in business, Freddura was serving a cod croquet with lemon caper sauce and a ricotta ravioli with lobster, roasted tomatoes and spinach in a cream sauce. He’s also considering bring back the family’s black pizza, and wants to experiment with a Sicilian-influenced sushi dish."
Sicilian influenced sushi? With all the historic influences already present in Sicilian cuisine that could be just about anything. Stay tuned!
re: Vin Ordinaire
I went to the opening night party last week and it was great. I got there at about 8:30, and they had plates of black pasta, calamari, clams casino, and shrimp going around for the next hour, not to mention the wine was flowing. And it was all FREE! The black pasta with calamari was perfectly cooked, and although I'm not typically a puttanesca fan, I was a fan of theirs. It certainly helps that we got so much free food and wine, but I will definitely be back and would have even if I had paid for it.