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RW: Erbaluce

Spike Sep 3, 2010 07:36 PM

This is a bit late, but better late than never :-)

One appetizzer was fresh tomato with goat cheese and balsamic vinegar and mint...tasty and the goat cheese was an interesting change instead of the usual mozzarella. The second appetizer was described as a kale with vegetables in lobster broth. I couldn't taste the lobster broth and the soup tasted mostly like.

One entree was veal shortrib on top of vegetables with a very strong wine taste (like not all the alcohol had been burnt off). The veal also had the taste/texture of corned beef which was a bit weird. The other entree was nasello (aka "hake" in Italian...had to look it up after we got back) on top of tomatoes and an orange sauce that I can't remember. The nasello was flavored w/ fennel and the orange sauce was a bit bland.

For dessert, we had cupcakes (can't remember the esoteric description from the menu and it was a bit dry). The other dessert was a chocolate bread pudding with cocoa beans and blackberries on top (?) with a scoop of mocha ice cream topped with caramelized orange peel which was ok but somewhat dry as well.

At the end, we got an amuse bouche of a few chocolate truffles and an interesting italian berry that grows inside a paperlike wrapper. That was the highlight of the meal.

Sorry for the fuzzy pictures...it was very dim. The atmosphere was romantic (aka dim w/ candles). The racks of lamb going by from the regular menu looked good. It's too bad we weren't that impressed w/ the RW menu (my wife said it was the worst one we had this year)-: The chef also had a tendency to describe things with Italian (e.g., sugo instead of "sauce")...the hostess described dishes as they came out for folks that ordered from the RW menu and the chef described dishes for folks who ordered from the regular menu.

69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

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  1. dacoit RE: Spike Sep 4, 2010 10:45 AM

    We had the same meh experience of the food after going for RW last year. Were very exited to try this place that has drawn such raves, and ended up with what amounted to more or less a decent potroast and some mediocre seafood dish. In our case the latter, a barodo (=broth) with seafood, contained something that was well past its prime, which we paid for later. The desserts, on the other hand, were awesome. Still baffled by the seemingly universal adulation of Erbulace.

    1. t
      trueblu RE: Spike Sep 4, 2010 04:55 PM

      As an aside and point of information (in case you want to buy them yourself), the small fruit was probably a physallis or (as said in us) cape gooseberry.

      Sorry to hear about your experience. I've yet to try Erbulace, although the reviews here usually get me desperate to try it out...


      5 Replies
      1. re: trueblu
        Spike RE: trueblu Sep 4, 2010 07:34 PM

        Thanks...we actually found those gooseberries at the local farmers market. Definitely as sweet as we remembered. Tastes a little like honeydew to me...

        1. re: trueblu
          Bob Dobalina RE: trueblu Sep 8, 2010 04:39 AM

          Is gooseberry the same as husk cherry?

          1. re: Bob Dobalina
            Allstonian RE: Bob Dobalina Sep 8, 2010 04:57 AM

            Cape gooseberry is the same as husk cherry, and is related to the tomatillo, but it's not the same as the European gooseberry, which is related to currants. (Real currants, that is, not the ones that are just small raisins...)

            1. re: Bob Dobalina
              MC Slim JB RE: Bob Dobalina Sep 8, 2010 04:58 AM

              There's a species of husk cherry (a/k/a groundcherry) that is referred to as a Cape gooseberry, but it's a different plant, a nightshade, from a different genus than most plants called gooseberries. Or so a quick trip to Wikipedia tells me.


              1. re: MC Slim JB
                Bob Dobalina RE: MC Slim JB Sep 8, 2010 05:55 AM

                Thanks for the clarifications.

          2. CocoDan RE: Spike Sep 6, 2010 11:21 AM

            Still, not one chouwhound has come up with review that entices me to try this place.

            1. lipoff RE: Spike Sep 9, 2010 05:05 PM

              So I just went there the other day, not for RW, but had what sounds like a very similar veal short rib special. Most of it was very good, although some of it was very fatty. No unusual wine taste!

              The restaurant was very pleasant. We had a chicken liver pate bruschetta that was my DC's favourite dish, although I wasn't wowed. The sunflower (Jerusalem artichoke) appetizer was fine, but unremarkable. The white bean spread with the complimentary bread, however, was remarkably good.

              Our inexperienced waitress forgot my apricot soda until she was reminded, and later explained when she brought the coffee soda that she had put too much syrup in so she didn't stir it around, and she'd bring me some more sparkling water later if I wanted. (???) The sodas weren't so great, although both my DCs enjoyed their glasses of wine, which were chosen at the suggestion of the waitress.

              The three of us split the pappardelle as a second course. The kitchen split one order across three plates, each decorated with a different herb. Chef Draghi delivered these himself. I think this was the best dish of the evening --- beautifully presented, with a rich and satisfying porcini sauce. Pappardelle is not my favorite pasta because I think it's hard to cook evenly, and this plate was no exception. But it was still very good.

              We then split the walnut-crusted bavette steak and the veal short rib. Both were examples of nicely cooked pieces of meat with some well-cooked vegetables. The short rib could have been trimmed a little better though.

              The panna cotta for dessert was not memorable, the tomato and saffron sorbet was memorably bad (although I applaud the creativity) but the lemon sorbet made with copious egg whites was among the best lemon sorbets I've had in sharpness, taste and texture. Our final dessert, gianduja truffles inside chocolate shells was terrific. Apparently the gianduja truffles were made by folding in whipped cream and they had a terrific texture along with a deeply rich taste.

              My favorite bite of the meal was after the meal --- very soft chocolate truffles with a strawberry balsamic flavor, and those wonderful gooseberries.

              All in all, not my favorite kind of food, but among my favorite examples of that kind of food!

              2 Replies
              1. re: lipoff
                CocoDan RE: lipoff Sep 10, 2010 06:38 AM

                See my comment above!

                1. re: lipoff
                  dacoit RE: lipoff Sep 17, 2010 07:36 AM

                  It's true - that white bean spread is awesome. Unfortunately it ramped up our already high expectations to set us up for a crash!

                2. StriperGuy RE: Spike Sep 10, 2010 07:02 AM

                  I did a grazing dinner there about a month ago that was good, not great which included a special whelk app, a chicken liver app, and a pasta dish split between two of us. Everything was just fine, nothing mindblowing. The pasta dish, while not at all bad, was fairly pedestrian. My DC said "I can do better at home, easily."

                  The staff was charming, the chef brought out the pasta dish split in two himself and was very nice. I wanted to ooh and aah, and like the vibe, but the night we were there it was mostly empty and somehow just gives off the vibe that it is not firing on all eight cylinders.

                  On a different note picked up a pint of those husk cherries at the Somerville farmer's market last week for $5 and they were amazing. I've had them before and just LOVE the complex flavor. Nothing else is quite like them.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: StriperGuy
                    cambridgedoctpr RE: StriperGuy Sep 10, 2010 10:30 AM

                    ok, Striper; what is your favorite Italian place? What place really hits you though perhaps i should open up a new thread for that question.

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