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Coppa

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I've never been but have read lots of great reviews. I'm thinking about going on a weekend night (probably a Friday). DH and I have no problem getting over there by 5:30 (since waiting seems to be common). What I'm looking for is any additional info I should know about the place...such as...
How early should we really get there?
How big is the patio? And is there a lot of demand for it?
If we don't get the first round of tables, how long might the wait be?
What's the atmosphere like?
Would the place be good for a full dinner (including dessert) or should we expect to go elsewhere to get that?
Etc.

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Coppa
253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

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  1. How early should we really get there?

    -- To avoid a wait, 5:00-5:30pm.

    How big is the patio, and is there a lot of demand for it?

    -- 25 seats originally, though it looks like they've expanded it past what they're supposed to. If the weather is nice, it fills quickly and stays jammed until 9:30p, when they have to stop seating folks there.

    If we don't get the first round of tables, how long might the wait be?
    -- 60 to 75 minutes on weekend nights is not unusual.

    What's the atmosphere like?

    -- Casual, lively, loud, cramped, jostly. It's an overfilled shoebox.

    Would the place be good for a full dinner (including dessert) or should we expect to go elsewhere to get that?

    -- It's a great place for dinner (I love the food), but not dessert. Most nights there isn't any: one flavor of gelato is sporadically offered. There are dozens of places in the South End that serve dessert, but getting seated for only dessert is tricky in prime time on a weekend night (less of an issue after 10 or 11pm). But you could easily get ice cream at Picco or Francesca's, for instance. If you can get by with after-dinner drinks, Coppa has a number of nice options in amari and fortified wines.

    Etc.

    -- Could you be more specific?

    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

    8 Replies
    1. re: MC Slim JB

      Thank you for the comprehensive response!

      1. re: yanz

        Happy to be of service! As at many South End places, lunch is pretty sweet at Coppa: a more limited menu, but it's mostly empty, a peaceful alternative to the nightly throngs.

        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

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        Coppa
        253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

        1. re: MC Slim JB

          My husband and I adore it for lunch. We like to sit at the bar so lunch is the better time for that alternative. At dinner you may have people reaching over you. Be sure to indulge in the house cured meats & charcuterie.

          Photos here:
          http://www.bostonzest.com/2010/05/fri...

          Penny
          http://www.bostonzest.com/

      2. re: MC Slim JB

        How casual is casual? I never really pictured it as being a casual spot - granted I never pictured it as being dressy-dressy like l'espalier or something either.

        1. re: jgg13

          I've been in there in a suit and tie, and in jeans and a t-shirt. Coppa gets a lot of folks from the neighborhood, and I don't think anyone is especially dressing up or down specifically for the restaurant before they go. You wouldn't feel out of place dressed in the height of fashion or in shorts and flip-flops. I'd say it's super-"nobody cares".

          http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

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          Coppa
          253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

          1. re: MC Slim JB

            Ok. I don't often end up over that way very often, and I was wondering if it was the sort of thing where I happened to be schlepping around anyways and there was a free table that I wouldn't feel out of place as opposed to specifically planning on going there. Thanks.

            1. re: jgg13

              it seems to be pretty casual, not the place for a suit and tie. But wearing a suit and tie would not deter me.

              1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                Exactly. In my case, wearing a suit was about being too lazy to change after work.

                http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

      3. I would go as early as possible. I had planned to go two weekends ago and walked by at 6 and it was mostly empty. My friend and I decided to pop into the Franklin for a drink before coppa and less than an hour later there was a 90 minute wait. The bar area was super crowded as well and I didnt feel like we could stand there with a drink without being in the way of the servers (it was two deep at the bar). 530 ish should leave you in good shape though.

        I think it is fun to order many small plates there to share. There is a marinated cauliflower dish that is great. enjoy!

        3 Replies
        1. re: cassoulady

          well, at least this makes me think that I don't need to be there before 5:30 (I was starting to imagine a Babbo-like line down the street...).

            1. re: bizkat

              We were in NY for a night earlier this year and yes, for those that don't have reservations and are hoping for the bar/tables in front. We were ~10th party in line, and we were there ~20 mins before they opened.

              FYI - it was a Sat. night.

        2. update: went tonight and the food was delicious. So glad to have tried it. DH doesn't typically like small plates, but he loved being able to try all the delicious-looking items on the menu.

          What I didn't know what that they were actually open before 5:30 (just not serving dinner yet), so when we got there at 5:30, the patio was already full. Thankfully, a table opened up 20 mins later, so we just had a drink at the bar inside.

          1. Thought I'd tag onto this thread! I went out to Coppa last night with my BF, friend and her husband. It was so good!

            Tomato Salad (special)- this was delic! Marinated heirloom tomatoes with big chunks of blue cheese. The blue cheese was very creamy and super flavorful and the tomatoes were perfect. I just love summer tomatoes..

            Sea Urchin Croissanti - Not my favorite, but it could just be my personal taste. I thought the Sea Urchin was just way too fishy. I like fishy tastes like sardines, but maybe the fact that it was fried sea urchin made it too fishy for me.

            Clam White Pizza - This was good, but a little overwhelming with the caramelized onion taste. Still, I really liked it. I'd suggest getting a pizza if you're trying to keep your bill on the lower side (we're all in our early twenties, so we don't have that much money to spend on eating out). The pizzas are a decent size and only $15, so it helps fill everyone up without spending too much.

            Gnocchi with Lamb Ragu - Table favorite! Omg this was delicious! There was some mint in it was was just perfect. Great lamb taste and the gnocchi was perfect. Loved it!

            Pasta with spicy chicken sausage - Also really yummy but I feel bad because it was overshadowed by how awesome the lamb ragu was. Still- it was spicy and lovely.

            Totally enjoyed it! Definitely plan to go back again. :-)

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            Coppa
            253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

            8 Replies
            1. re: your_outreach

              Gnocchi with Lamb Ragu question. I have a very spoiled husband who adores gnocchi but he wants them to be extremely light - not gummy or pasty. Very few places do them this way. How would you describe the gnocchi themselves?

              I've taken to discouraging him from ordering them except for a few places that have proven to please him.

              Penny
              http://www.bostonzest.com/

              1. re: BostonZest

                Hm, good question. I found the gnocchi to be really great, even on its own, but I guess I would consider it slightly chewy. Then again, I can't imagine gnocchi that isn't a little chewy... you have to chew on something! It definitely wasn't pasty and I didn't find it gummy, but I can't tell what your husband considers extremely light. My suggestion would be to order it for yourself and let him try it! It's super delicious, so you won't be disappointed at all, but then you could also figure out if the gnocchi is to his liking. It's all small plates at Coppa, so it wouldn't be the only thing you eat either! I think it was around $13 or $14, can't remember exactly!

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                Coppa
                253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

                1. re: BostonZest

                  we had the gnocchi as well and while I wouldn't describe them as gummy or pasty, they were on the denser side (rather than super "puffy"). I don't know what you would consider "extremely light" but IMO, the "puffiest" gnocchi (big and puffy, rather than small and dense) I've had were at Davio's, Dante, and Sibling Rivalry (back in the days when they did gnocchi). So if your definition of light is similar to my definition of puffy, then that's your answer...

                  However, I would say that the gnocchi in this dish is second to the lamb ragu (in quantity) - I would almost say that it's a lamb ragu dish with some gnocchi thrown in, so while it may not be his top choice of gnocchi, he may still love the dish (we did).

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                  Davio's
                  75 Arlington Street, Boston, MA 02116

                  Sibling Rivalry
                  525 Tremont St., Boston, MA 02116

                  1. re: yanz

                    FYI - the lamb ragu has now become pork ragu.

                  2. re: BostonZest

                    Penny, your husband and I see eye to eye on gnocchi. The only places I've found them to be reliably pillowy are Sel de la Terre and Grotto. I'd steer clear of them at La Campagna, Taranta, and No. 9. What has his gnocchi research revealed?

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                    Sel de la Terre
                    1245 Worcester Street, Natick, MA 01760

                    1. re: pollystyrene

                      Taranta was one of the ones he didn't like. He was spoiled by Chef David Reynoso at the old Louis Cafe on Newbury. David's were feather light.

                      I'm not a Gnocchi fan or I would fall on the sword and order them as a test. But even the best leave me wanting something else. And eating a big plate of them is not my idea of dining out.

                      But, Coppa may work -- I love lamb.

                      Penny
                      http://www.bostonzest.com/

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                      Coppa
                      253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

                      1. re: BostonZest

                        I thought gnocchi always were heavy & gummy (yuck) until I had them at Lineage. I was utterly charmed by how light and delicate they were there. Only had them once though, so I don't know if they're consistently like that.

                    2. re: BostonZest

                      Key with Gnocchi is they have to be house made, but not just house made, made in the past few hours. Even a morning prep (10:00am) and they will get leaden by dinner.

                      I agree that Grotto nails them.

                      I don't mind the gluey ones myself, but the fluffy ones are transcendent...

                  3. Finally managed to hit it for lunch and tried a few things including the vaunted white clam pizza.
                    Unfortunately, for us, we found it horribly salty in spots, most likely because of the bacon that is also added to it...thought about complaining but figured it was normal if you add bacon to a pizza and we shouldn't have ordered it :-P

                    Our favorite was the duck prosciutto, though we wish we had a bit more bread to put it on. We also tried the octopus salad which was just ok...octopus had a strangish texture from being cold..almost like a mushy texture instead of a slightly al dente; the salad tasted good though.

                    And our highlight of the day was watching Jamie's daughter walk for the first time...very loving parents. Kid hauled *ss walking after a while too :-)

                    Pictures attached...

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                    Coppa
                    253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

                     
                     
                     
                    1. I was curious about recent experiences at Coppa. I've always insisted that it was $ for $ my favorite food in the city. I've especially always been fond of the carbonara. That's why we were so disappointed by the underwhelming dinner we had there on Saturday night (our last visit was in January). The carbonara went from one of the best dishes in Boston, to barely edible. Combining that with the fact that it wasn't very crowded (I do not believe a single seat at the bar was taken when we left around 6:45), I was wondering if Coppa has lost some of its luster? I hope it was just a bad night, but I was curious if anyone else has had a similar experience recently?

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                      Coppa
                      253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: mkfisher

                        I heard randomly it was sold and Oringer isn't involved anymore? Is this possible/true? I haven't been in a month or so and can't speak to recent changes.

                        1. re: ebaba

                          That has to be a nonsense rumor. No way Oringer would walk away from that cash cow, and Bissonnette is exec at both Coppa and Toro. I call shenanigans.

                          http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

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                          Toro
                          1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

                          Coppa
                          253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

                          1. re: ebaba

                            It occurs to me that someone may have noticed that Oringer's day-to-day involvement in his Boston restaurants has tailed off while he gets Earth, his new restaurant in Kennebunkport, off the ground, and has leaped to the wrong conclusion.

                            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                            1. re: MC Slim JB

                              I have to wonder if this person thinks Bissonette is the new owner -- confused by recent press and the fact that you hear his name more than Oringer's whenever Coppa is mentioned? Maybe?

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                              Coppa
                              253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

                              1. re: ebaba

                                I think Coppa represented the first time in Bissonnette's tenure with Origner's empire that he got an ownership stake in the restaurant. Oringer has investors in his other places, but not co-owners, I believe. And while I imagine that Oringer keeps his hand in, Toro and Coppa are very much Bissonnette's creatures these days, especially the latter.

                                http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

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                                Toro
                                1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

                                Coppa
                                253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

                              2. re: MC Slim JB

                                Realizing this post is a little dated....
                                Earth? Really? I've heard nothing that would suggest Earth is Ken's new baby, let alone that it's doing well. I've questioned his association with this yuppie campground (my demographic maybe?) from the beginning. Having not been yet (although I'm in that general hood once a mouth) what can you tell about the food there that would make me want to try it?

                            2. re: mkfisher

                              Had a very nice meal there recently, including the calves brain ravioli pictured below, an interesting arugula salad with terrific Fiddlehead Tomme cheese, and what is probably my favorite Coppa dish of all-time, the trophie con pesto, which was as good as ever. The pizza was a little over-cooked and thus over-crispy, but I know some people prefer it that way.

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                              Coppa
                              253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

                               
                            3. Coppa does take reservations now

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                              Coppa
                              253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

                              1. Finally made it to Coppa, for a lazy, uncrowded late lunch. Everything was very good, the highlight being the orecchiette con trippa ("house made pasta with tripe, beef tongue, pork belly, chick peas and parmesan") in a spicy tomato sauce, which was really delicious and had a wonderful mix of textures. I have to say, though, that everything I tried almost verged on oversalted, and I'm a salt fiend.

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                                Coppa
                                253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

                                8 Replies
                                1. re: Aromatherapy

                                  Funny you mentioned the issue of salt. I was so looking forward to their clam pizza with bacon and was disappointed that it was way too salty...and i'm a salt fiend too.

                                  1. re: nasilemak

                                    I finally made it in recently, too. We pretty much wore out the garde manger, but did have a few dishes from the kitchen . I generally have a lowish tolerance for salt and had no issues. Solid all around, and we took the italian grinder to go for later that night - it was stellar.

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                                    Coppa
                                    253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

                                    1. re: cods

                                      I have to agree with cods that despite Bissonnette's vaunted and justified rep for having a way with animal muscle tissue and organs, some of our favorites here are vegetable dishes: the chewy farro with cukes and radishes, the arrosto di pepe (roasted red pepper and feta salad), the marinated cauliflower. The recent mix of various local apples and burrata is a nice if probably necessarily fleeting addition.

                                      Don't get me wrong: I love me some salumi and charcuterie, and never do a meal here without one of Jamie's pastas or little wood-oven pizzas, but it's nice to get some fresh green things that aren't drenched in animal fat once in a while.

                                      http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                  2. re: Aromatherapy

                                    I couldn't agree more. The salt at Coppa is remarkable. I've been 2x and that's enough. The pizza at Pizzeria Posto is far better, too.

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                                    Coppa
                                    253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

                                    Pizzeria Posto
                                    187 Elm St, Somerville, MA 02144

                                    1. re: scotty27

                                      I agree about the pizza, but I feel Coppa's pizza was better 7 months ago, than now. I've had pizza at Coppa probably 10 times & Posto only once.

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                                      Coppa
                                      253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

                                    2. re: Aromatherapy

                                      Update--I've been back several times since this post and salt has not been an issue. I've become quite a fan. Haven't ordered clam pizza with bacon though! ETA--argh, I thought I was replying to myself.

                                      1. re: Aromatherapy

                                        had a couple items there today (wood oven ribs, bone marrow pizza) and found both to be unusually salty (and i normally like salt). would probably not order those items again.

                                        1. re: barleywino

                                          We were there late last summer and almost everything we ate was oversalted. Love the idea of the food, but have to admit we've been less than thrilled the few times we've been there. We haven't tried the pizza, just a few of the pastas (i think the carbonara? WAY oversalted) and the chicken milanese, which is simple but usually very good. Still...whenever we think of going we remember the salt issue and end up picking somewhere else...

                                    3. Inspired by a thread regarding outdoor lunch spots, we hit the patio at Coppa this afternoon. It was welcome news to me that they now serve the full menu at lunch. We stuck with small plates and appetizers, and all were excellent. There were no issues with over seasoning. Even if JB is going to be busy opening Toro in NYC, the full lunch service will keep us coming back. Now that they serve the full menu during the day, I can't see dealing with the dinner rush here again.