I hadn't been to Mamma Maria for a few years, and I believe the chef changed since my last visit, so I was nervous about taking a friend there last week, thinking it might have gone downhill. It had been so good and so popular for so long, that it seemed like it might have been due for a slide. But it was better than ever.
I had requested a window table, and that's what we got. At first I felt guilty that I ended up with the pretty view out to the cobblestone streets and Paul Revere's house, but the view facing the beautiful room might even be better.
The service was perfect. Our constant conversation was never interrupted, but we always had what we wanted when we wanted it, and the server was sweet.
Their champagne cocktail (with grenadine and lime, I believe?) was delicious, and even my DC who doesn't like sweet things loved it. As someone with a nut allergy, I've always appreciated that the pesto they serve with their bread has no pine nuts. As nutty as that sounds, it's so flavorful, and difficult to stop eating.
I started with the buffalo mozzarella, which came with broiled cherry (or baby heirloom?) tomatoes and basil oil. The tomatoes warmed the cheese so that it was like cutting into a poached egg; all the creaminess came oozing out.
I was at first disappointed that they didn't have their pasta with Ben's foraged mushrooms on the menu--my favorite pasta dish on the planet--but the fresh, homemade ravioli filled with spinach and fresh, sweet corn was just about as good, and more seasonally appropriate.
The best surprise was dessert. In the past, I hadn't thought much of it here, so had taken to opting for a Mike's cannoli chaser instead. But the local-peach "tart" sounded so good, and the woman at the next table highly recommended it. It turned out to be more of a turnover than a tart, and when I cut into it, I said to my DC, "Did you hear that?" Other than in Paris, I don't remember having such flaky, many-layered, buttery pastry. With the peaches and basil ice cream, this was a winner. Between this and the chocolate souffle I had two nights later at Troquet, I think the dessert scene in Boston is looking up!