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Jul 14, 2014 06:20 AM

North End Round Up: Parla, Prezza, Neptune

Around 6pm on Friday, L put our names in at Neptune and walked over to meet me at Parla. The space is adorable. We sat at the bar, where service was attentive and sweet.
The food:
Crispy Herb Polenta with truffle aioli - crispy, salty, delish!
Wild Boar Meatballs with house tomato sauce, shaved parm, micro basil - dry. Seasoned correctly, but dry.
Braised Oxtail Arancini - crispy fried rice balls, oxtail, peas - these could have been slightly creamier inside, but the flavors were right on.
Pork Belly - lime rocks, smoked salt, black pepper aioli, nasturtiums - wow! This was just great - perfectly balanced and satisfying.
Cucumber Melon Gazpacho - maine lobster salad, sugar snap peas, lovage, vadovan aioli - my favorite dish of the night. The right balance of sweet and savory.

Neptune still hadn't called us, so we wandered over to Prezza for a glass of wine and the egg raviolo - they still got it! That thing is so good.

At Neptune:
A selection of oysters, of which Beach Blond and Winter Point were highlights.
Hamachi crudo - I felt the slices of fish were oddly large, but the flavors were great.
Neptunes on horseback - everything tastes good here, but the cold pulled pork somehow weirded me out slightly.
Johnnycake - holy god this is amazing. Who knew honey, johnny cake, and smoked fish would work so well together?
Service was awesome, especially given that the patrons waiting to get tables were decidedly angsty.

Navigating the North End on a Friday is a bit scary, but we were able to find seats everywhere with no trouble at all.

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  1. What a night. Sounds amazing. Thanks for the nice write up.

    2 Replies
    1. re: mvi

      I"m going to have to check out the gazpacho at Parla. Thanks!

      I've had the neptunes on piggy backs many times and the pork has always been warm. That was definitely a kitchen mistake.

      thanks for the report and glad you had such a good evening.

    2. Tried Parla on Saturday but they had an hour wait. Ended up at Volle Nolle for an amazing meal of grilled octopus and pork shoulder steak. The best meal I've had in the N End and pasta was not involved.

      4 Replies
      1. re: gregoryswil

        Was the octopus a special, it's one of my favorite seafood choices.

        1. re: treb

          I think its one of their signatures. There's a drawing of an octopus on the wall. Perfectly cooked.

          1. re: gregoryswil

            Thanks, on my list after the summer tourists leave.

          2. re: treb

            i became a big fan of octopus at Olives ~20 yrs ago- grilled , sliced and sauteed w/ garlic, lemon, chickpeas, tomato; maybe it's just because it was new to me then, but i feel like i've never had it better since then. But i keep trying and enjoying it.You've prob had it at all the tapas places in town, but if you get a chance to go to Pinxto Pincho, their pulpo in garlic and wine is my fav now. I know it's almost always imported from Spain, so i usually see it priced pretty high on menus, but the aforementioned is only $9 iirc and v plentiful for a tapas. So tender.

            Parla has this neat reading version:
            <Baby Octopus Salad- miso marinade, yuzu kosho gremolata, pickled cucumbers, squid ink olive oil, thai basil>

            There is a (new to me)food truck whose Japanese Tako fritters i was keen to get but missed recently at Arsenal Mall, and Strip T's has done some perfect Tako fritters but way too exp imo ($9 for 4, and small.Last wk we got their tako arancini and they were great but prob the most expensive arancini i'll ever have, unless someone does a truffle, caviar or foie gras version some day...