Happy accidents do happen.
Today's adventure began with a trip to Chinatown for the August Moon festival. After wandering around the hot streets (and realizing I need to come back and do a Chinese bakery taste test marathon), my wife and I decided to amble Newbury Street. After a quick stop at Rockbottom on the way (hey, with their free card you
get a 23 oz. beer for the price of a pint), we hit the street.
As we're going down Newbury, my wife opines that she'd like a glass of wine. (Okay, beer, wine -- stop counting, you people!) and right about that point I spot a sign for the Paittine Wine Cafe. Inside we discover there's no bar, only tables which at this point since I only wanted a glass of wine has got me worried. "We can do this," says the waiter (with a very decided French accent) and he lets of pick a table. The place is small with a little patio out front and a narrow galley of tables, so we opt for air conditioning.
Even before the menus come, the waitress brings a big copper basket of good crusty bread. Already the resolve to have "just a glass of wine" is starting to fail. Maybe an appetizer too. When the menus come, all resistance fails. Piattini is an Italian-style tapas bar, a full page of hot and cold small dishes. Olives and cheese, tuna carpaccio, artichoke ravioli, gnocchi, cheese and crackers, etc. ranging from 6.00 to 12.00 dollars. For $25 you can pick any three as a tasting menu. The wine list heavily favors Italian varieties by the glass and bottle. Being lazy, we opt for the white wine flight -- three smaller glasses of a pinot grigio, soave, and a third I don't remember.
The dishes came promptly. The piattini anitpasto was sopresetta, cheese, chopped tomatoes and capers, marinated artichokes, portabello slices, proscuitto wrapped around mozzarella, roasted pepper, and mesclun dressed with thick, sweet balsamic vinegar. There could have been a little more sweet peppers and proscuitto, but the flavors were excellent. The beef carpaccio was sliced so thin is almost fell apart on the fork and was dressed wtih greens, big shavings of parmesan, and salty capers. The one hot dish we chose was roasted red pepper stuffed with scallops, tomatoes, and basil and pesto cream sauce. The pepper was sweet and the scallops were nicely grilled and fresh. Good enough to ask more more bread and wine to sop up the sauces!
I know the Phoenix gave this place a harsh review last year, but it seems they may have addressed things. I heard mention to another customer that this was a new menu. The service was attentive but not intrusive (and playful once they found out it was our anniversary). Of course we had the place to ourself since it was mid-afternoon, so that may have accounted for some. An excellent stop for a Sunday afternoon.
David "Zeb" cook
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