My girlfriend wanted to take me out for my birthday so she told me some of the ideas she had in mind. After taking some decent rec's from a couple friends, as well as what seems like some fairly positive rec's on these boards, we chose Artu's North End location.
First the positive's:
I think the only negative things I've heard/read are about the service and some troubles sticking to a "reservation". Well, we made a reservation from 7:30 on a Saturday night....we walked in about 5 minutes early and they sat us right away. We were immediately greeted by your classic Italian mother-like waitress who was an absolute sweetheart. It was a busy night, she was clearly rushing around - but she was fantastic!
We started off with a nice bottle of pinot grigio and an order of the spicy calamari -- both were fantastic. Specifically regarding the calamari - not too much breading, not fried to the point of being unrecognizable - tossed with some hot peppers, olive oil and fresh garlic -- quite simple, but a very nice start.
Now the negative's:
My girlfriend ordered the shrimp scampi and linguine...what she got was a plate full of linguine with literally 4 small shrimp tossed in with too much olive oil. Now, we weren't expecting Vinny Testa's type of plates that are weighing in at roughly 20lbs a plate, but 4 small shrimp?? C'mon. The dish as a whole was extremely amature...and tasteless.
I ordered the veal braciolettine - I'm already biased because of my great aunt's home-made braciole, but that's irrelevent here. Actually, it wasn't that bad....except for the obvious canned mushrooms that were mixed in. I thought that was a little...cheap, I guess you could say. But the meat was cooked well and had a decent taste, so I will give them that. In addition to that and honestly one of the biggest disappointments I've had at a restaurant, especially one in the "authentic Italian" North End, I ordered a side of fusilli with red sauce. After the first bite I say out loud: "spaghettio's" ... my girlfriend asked what I meant and I said that it tasted EXACTLY like spaghettio's. She tried for herself, and she immediately agreed "oh my god it's definitely spaghettio's!"
That right there was the nail in the coffin. We've all had medicore meals, but in a whole this was just a bad meal and an extremely disappointing experience - especially since the previous year we had a fantastic dinner at the neighboring Fiore.
I hate to be so negative, and like most things I'm sure this will be debated. But I felt so strongly about my experience at Artu that I really wanted to post this and share with you all.
Go and try for yourself if you wish, I just really hope you DON'T experience the same as we did.