With some of the pub Giulia has gotten lately, we decided to head over on Friday night around 7:30 to check it out. The dining room was fully booked for the evening, but we were able to get 2 seats at the bar. Our bartender was formerly at Catalyst, so we were pretty familiar with his work. The first thing we noticed was the age of the crowd. I told my wife that it felt like we were down in Florida visiting my Dad where the median age is 75. That's a little bit of an exaggeration for sure, but it was definitely a much older crowd than we're used to.
There were 6 or so beers on draft including McChouffe, O'Hara's Stout and Maine BC Peeper. This selection was a pleasant surprise. I know very little about wine, so all I can really say is that my wife enjoyed her glass of montepulciano.
We started with the burrata di puglia with charred peppers, golden raisins, and pine nuts as well as bruschetta with roasted cauliflower, capers, and golden raisins. My wife preferred the burrata. I liked the bruschetta more.
We then ordered the bucatini all’amatriciana and the orecchiette cacio e pepe. As has been mentioned, the portion size on the cacio e pepe was quite small, but the bartender made sure to note this when the order was placed. The bucatini was perfectly acceptable, but not nearly as good as the version they serve down Mass Ave. at L'Impasto. The cacio e pepe was quite good, and there was a nice balance between the cheese and pepper. Though, I still prefer the dish with spaghetti.
One note on the aforementioned bartender/glass of montepulciano that soured the meal. When pouring my wifes wine, the bottle ran out 2/3 way through. No big deal, he'll open a new one (and even made note that "I owe you a bump"). So we go back to conversation, and 5 minutes later the bartender is opening the bottle for a sparkling wine and making a cocktail for someone else, but he still hasn't come back with the wine. We know his work, so we figured they just had to open a bottle/get something from downstairs etc. 5 more minutes pass, and I decide to say something. He genuinely seem annoyed that I reminded him, but maybe I was just reading his reaction wrong. He eventually made it back over to fill the remaining 1/3 of a glass (with a bottle that was already half gone, so I guess he wasn't waiting on anything). Point being, once you start pouring a glass of wine, you should finish before you move onto another customer.
All in all it was ok, but we won't be back. It felt a little pricey for what you got. To me at least, the food at L'Impasto is quite a bit better. That being said, the place seems to be doing quite well and probably doesn't need our business.
EDIT: Totally agree with what Bob Dobalina had to say. There was just something that rubbed us the wrong way too. Hard to pin down, but something was off.
We had an excellent meal at Giulia a few weeks ago on a Monday. We had our toddler in tow, and were there before 6 (as is our SOP with her). It was empty when we arrived, but full by the time we left around 7:15p or so. Food, service and atmosphere were all excellent. This is a great addition to the neighborhood and this side of the river. While I wouldn't put it in the value category, we will be back somewhat regularly. The portions were appropriate for how we like to eat. One app, 2 pastas and 1 entree fed 2 adults and one toddler (who ate everything) very well. There was also excellent Iggy's bread to start, and the Iggy's owners were choosing down at the island table by the kitchen. As far as the food, we tried:
- burrata di puglia with charred peppers, golden raisins, and pine nuts: Great flavor combo and perfect burrata (assumed it was made in house).
- spelt fusilli with roasted mushrooms: My wife wanted to try the spelt and it stood up to the (excellent) pappardelle
- pappardelle with wild boar: this one knocked our heads back. I almost ordered more as my daughter bogarted this one.
- wild striped bass with manila clam risotto: Perfectly cooked fish.
The pastas are as good as anywhere in Boston, and all made at the island table before opening. We are looking forward to trying all of them. I was drinking straight liquor as it was 2 days before the birth of another child, but the wine list looked pretty nice. We also will be back to eat at the large bar when it's just the two of us at some point in the distant future. There is no kids menu per se, but the food was tasty enough for a 2.5 year old to eat all of it.
I've been twice in the past week. The first time we had the 5 course tasting, which was really just amazing: pastas and bay scallops were standouts, but everything was great and very creative. Went back for a light bite at the bar and ended up eating much more than intended, couldn't help ourselves. This deserves a fuller report, but for now I'll just say that it's absolutely a new top tier place, a very pleasant surprise, and we'll be back often.
Photo is from the final savory course of the tasting.
I went for an early dinner last week and was seriously disappointed. The service was bizarre -- we were rushed through the meal by just about everyone -- server, busser, manager -- even though it was a Wednesday at 6:00 and the restaurant was nearly empty. The server came to 'check' on us every two bites, and tried to clear everything before we were finished. She also asked us if we wanted anything else to drink about ten times, even though it was clear we did not. We ended up spending more than $100, but the server seemed annoyed that we weren't there to booze or have a 4-course meal.
Also, the food was fine but nothing special. We split several appetizers, pastas, and sides, and nothing stood out as great. A week later, I can barely remember what we ate.
I won't be back.
I went on Thursday night with a friend who had gone the previous week-end and couldn't wait to go back. We split the escarole salad as well; she had the wild boar pappardelle and raved about it, and I had the orecchiette, which I thought was perfect, although the portion was a bit skimpy for the price. For dessert, she had the special olive oil cake, which was very good, not dry as olive oil cake can be, and I had the panna cotta with poached quince, which was pure heaven. I did everything but lick the bowl. The chef came by to check on us while we were eating, and the waiter was very well-informed and chatty (he was hired from the Four Seasons, as he wanted to be somewhere "less corporate"). We liked the vibe. However, we also had a problem with the bar bill, which my friend pointed out and they just comped her second glass of wine. I'm certainly going back.
I went on Friday night - it was full when we got there at around 9:30 - got two seats at the bar.
Started with the escarole hearts with radicchio, white beans, and orange anchovy vinaigrette* 10 - Really enjoyed the salad - good mix of bitter, tangy, salty - there were white anchovies on the salad that tasted a little fishy, and not in a good way, but we were none the worse for wear.
Then the tiny clams ‘in brodetto’ with pancetta, ceci, and spinach* 16 - small portion, maybe 8-9 truly tiny clams - good flavor, lots of broth, the pancetta was meaty.
Finally, we split the orecchiette ‘cacio e pepe’ (assorted peppercorns and grana-style cheeses)* 14 We were splitting everything - like Italian tapas - but we were warned that the portion size was small. It looked small, because of how the orecchiette spooned together, but it was fine. The pasta was more like shells than what I have had as orecchiette - they were thinner than orecchiette too. Could have used more black pepper, and I am not fully convinced that orecchiette is right pasta. But it was a good dish.
There were several offerings of wine by the glass, slanted to Italian naturally - I started with a Roman Coke, which had an amaro, some rum, lime - it was excellent.
Certainly had a much better experience in the space than at the prior incarnation, Rafiki.
Something about the place just sort of rubbed me the wrong way in total - ordered one thing and got a different thing. The fishy anchovies. The small portion of clams. A minor billing mistake on the bar tab (which I did not mention). Just a funny vibe. Not sure what the antennae were picking up. Probably nothing.
Went last night and it was full.
I enjoyed the house made sausage with white beans, spinach, and roasted peppers for my entree and a bruschetta with kale, garlic, and ricotta cheese for an appetizer.
I wanted a pasta dish for my entree but the menu is designed so that the pasta dishes are the second course of the meal.
I only had wine but the bartenders were measuring the cocktails and using fresh juices which is always a good sign.