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Coppa: Fun Diverse Brunch Today

opinionatedchef Sep 22, 2013 04:17 PM

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. b
    bostonfoodz RE: opinionatedchef Sep 22, 2013 04:43 PM

    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
      Infomaniac RE: bostonfoodz Sep 22, 2013 05:29 PM

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

      1. re: bostonfoodz
        9lives RE: bostonfoodz Sep 22, 2013 05:34 PM

        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
          Infomaniac RE: 9lives Sep 22, 2013 06:20 PM

          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. g
        Gabatta RE: opinionatedchef Sep 22, 2013 05:05 PM

        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. opinionatedchef RE: opinionatedchef Sep 22, 2013 08:11 PM

          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
            bostonfoodz RE: opinionatedchef Sep 23, 2013 03:27 AM

            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
              Chris VR RE: bostonfoodz Sep 23, 2013 04:48 AM

              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
                kewpie RE: Chris VR Sep 25, 2013 10:07 AM

                toro nyc outpost getting rave reviews today!

              2. re: bostonfoodz
                opinionatedchef RE: bostonfoodz Sep 23, 2013 01:42 PM

                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
                kimfair1 RE: opinionatedchef Sep 23, 2013 01:41 PM

                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
                  opinionatedchef RE: kimfair1 Sep 23, 2013 03:39 PM

                  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. opinionatedchef RE: opinionatedchef Sep 22, 2013 11:03 PM

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

                1. m
                  mkfisher RE: opinionatedchef Sep 23, 2013 01:22 PM

                  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
                    opinionatedchef RE: mkfisher Sep 23, 2013 01:37 PM

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

                  2. k
                    kimfair1 RE: opinionatedchef Sep 26, 2013 01:46 PM

                    We ate at Coppa for the first time (I know!) last night before the theater. Wow, everything was just phenomenal. We had a five meat board (proscuitto, beef heart pastrami (swoon!), tongue, coppa, and a salami. We also devoured the meatballs, arancini, burrata, and a proscuitto/arugula pizza. The only slight miss was that I didn't love the consistency of their panna cotta (though I loved the yuzu/husk cherry jam on top!). Can't wait to go back.

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