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Sep 22, 2013 04:17 PM

Coppa: Fun Diverse Brunch Today

Had a fun brunch at Coppa today. Found out that co-owners Jamie and Ken, are just about to open their Toro NYC. I don't know how much their absence affects their Boston restnts; maybe , for example, Jamie is not often present at Coppa anyway......

We really enjoyed what we sampled on this, our third visit, but there were also a few major errors noted. Oysters in rhubarb mignonette had a really neat unusual element (that i forgot to ask about) but they were tepid and served on salt mounds and not ice. Horrors. Cheesy Grits were waaaay over-cheesed (but My Love had no such complaint) and the very special star anise- tinged bacon was way too salty. And the otherwise delicious pizza was topped with arugula that was inedibly over-salted. Meanwhile the lardo on toast was lovely, and the
Kampachi Crudo, covered with slivered green olives and olive dashi- was as delectable as to require a second order. And perhaps the biggest surprise for me was the jam! I am not a sweet jam/jelly gal but this (house-made, like almost every element at Coppa except the Iggy's bread) jam, made with yuzu and husk cherries, was savory-sweet and addictive.

Service was as friendly as can be.And indeed, aside from the food and good bar program, i would send Boston visitors here w/o hesitation beCAUSE of the consistent and very pleasant welcome offered by all the staff here. All ages, plenty of toddlers, and it feels like a big warm family.

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  1. it is a frequent presentation of oysters to be served on a mound of salt/egg whites. many places do that because they do not have a crushed ice machine and it's a beautiful presentation. a horror is a overstatement. additionally, since you've only been to coppa 3x, you may be out of line staying that Chef Jamie is rarely there. we go to coppa weekly and more often than not, he is present.

    3 Replies
    1. re: bostonfoodz

      A bed of salt doesn't melt like crushed ice, and will keep an oyster level better too.

      1. re: bostonfoodz

        The purpose of salt and ice combined is to lower the freezing point of the ice. ex, Salty Boston Harbor freezes less than a fresh water body of water or the brackish Charles River. Oyster served tepid are not desirable. The point of the salt is to lower the temp. Lack of a crushed ice machine is easily remedied by a small towel and a few whacks.

        I'm not a regular at Coppa, more than 5 trips, less than 50. I really like the place.

        I see Jamie B here on a great many of my visits, I don't track him but I cam't quickly recall a time I've been that he hasn't been there.

        Regardless, a successful restauranteur or any manager has to find the right people that he can delegate to others and maintain the quality that got him to the high level which he enjoys.

        1. re: 9lives

          If I remember, I don't' think this is an ice and salt combination the oysters are served on, just a mound of salt. The two times I've had this the oysters had a nice chill to them. It's a bummer to be served a warm oyster. That's just not right.

          I also won't be dissed if I ordered Cheesy Grits and they came out over cheesed. I'd be more likely to comment if they were under cheesed.

      2. Glad you enjoyed the brunch. I usually go to Coppa for lunch during the week. I was probably in on 5 days this summer and Jamie was there every time.

        If I recall correctly, I have also seen them using prefab oyster shells when observing the prep while sitting at the bar. Meaning they shuck the fresh oyster and transfer the oyster and liquor to a perfect shaped (but artificial?) oyster serving shell), which is then nestled into the salt. I had never seen that before. Maybe the shells weren't artificial, but they were definitely transferring the oyster from the original shell.

        1. me:<maybe , for example, Jamie is not often present at Coppa anyway......>
          you: <you may be out of line staying that Chef Jamie is rarely there>
          Hello?I never said he was rarely there. 'Maybe' is not an affirmative.

          I think Jamie is a really neat guy, so i'm glad to know he's there alot.He seems to do alot in the way of making Boston's chef community a friendly supportive group and that's terrific.

          and while you may like tepid oysters with your tepid beer, any oyster that is not ice cold is a horror for me ( strictly taste- wise, not all anal compulsive health-wise.) I hate those salt mounds. Has to be a bed of ice for me.

          6 Replies
          1. re: opinionatedchef

            oh, so if I say MAYBE infront of any slight, I can stand back and say I was just testing the tepid waters? come on, you're the "opinionatedchef". perhaps you should have more faith in your own sense of how a restaurant runs and stand behind your pithy sobriquet.

            as for oysters, there are fortunately many preparations that do not require ice cold temps. escabeche, crudo, fried rockefeller, etc. the horror of just thinking they should arrive only on ice.

            1. re: bostonfoodz

              Nobody is talking about those preparations, though. The comment here is about oysters in rhubarb mignonette. Are you saying you think it's OK to serve oysters prepared this way at tepid temperatures?

              1. re: Chris VR

                toro nyc outpost getting rave reviews today!

              2. re: bostonfoodz

                oooh, i think i would not want you near that special red button. Btw, 'pithy sobriquet' - i've never heard of that kind of charcoal before; must look into that......

              3. re: opinionatedchef

                The one time I ordered oysters at Strip-T's, they too were served on a salt mound and not ice. They weren't tepid, but they weren't ice cold, either.

                1. re: kimfair1

                  yes, that was where I first saw that technique used. hate it! Maybe I should get tshrts printed up:
                  "Raw Ice
                  Raw Shellfish!
                  (gotta have it Cooooold!!)"

                  Then again, I can easily eat cold pizza as well. :-}

              4. meant to say that the sauce and crust were really exc on that pizza. very impressive.

                1. Can't speak to Coppa, but I highly doubt the Toro NYC will have any effect on the Boston Toro. The Chef de Cuisine at Toro has been with Ken & Toro longer than Jamie B. That place isn't going to change.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: mkfisher

                    yay! that's exactly the specific kind of info that puts one at ease in these expansion situations!