Bia, Main St., Cohasset Village
I really, really wanted to like this place as it is right near my parents house and there sure isnt a whole lot of good eating on the South Shore. Im willing to give them another chance but found my initial experience quite disappointing.
There are two smallish rooms with hardwood floors, dark red painted walls hung with mirrors, and bare wooden tables. Quite attractive, but as you might guess from this description, on a Saturday night it is hellishly loud, sound reverberating off all the hard surfaces and small spaces. The table we were initially shown to was next to a very large, loud party. When we requested a move we were very graciously accommodated, and someone checked in with us a few minutes later to see that we were happy with the new seating. It was certainly an improvement but still far too noisy tablecloths would help enormously to absorb some sound.
Started with a salad of mixed baby greens with three hour tomatoes and Vermont chevre ($7). Three hour tomatoes turned out to be cherry tomatoes roasted till they were intensely-flavored dime-sized morsels. They and the goat cheese were tasty garnishes, but there was far too much salad in proportion and it was over-dressed with a revoltingly sweet balsamic dressing (maybe honey? it made my teeth hurt). Good idea, inexpert execution.
My rack of lamb with ratatouille and pepper coulis ($27) also had puréed potatoes, sautéed spinach and asparagus. The lamb was cooked medium-rare, as I had specified, but was very nearly stone cold with the resulting congealing of lamb fat that is a hazard of lamb. It was also oddly tough and chewy for a rack of lamb, although very flavorful. The green veggies were well-cooked, the potatoes uninspired and the ratatouille too heavy on peppers for my taste but with a good texture. All lukewarm or cooler.
My mothers hanger steak with lyonnaise potatoes ($22) looked to me to be cooked medium or even medium-well instead of medium-rare. Chewy but tasty, some kind of sauce I cant remember, and seemed to be warmer than mine. Potatoes superb, apparently cooked in goose fat. Came with asparagus and broccoli-rabe.
My fathers was the best choice: tiny veal meatballs (the size of marbles) with tomato sauce and gnocchi ($12 - ??). Meatballs beautifully flavored, sauce quite good, did not taste the gnocchi but they were pronounced pretty good. This was delivered hot, so my guess is that everything else waited for it.
Did not see the wine list but we had a very tasty old vine Zinfandel.
The brightest spot was the service. They had lots of staff on hand, all well-scrubbed twenty-somethings with old-fashioned waiters aprons, and they were very interested in seeing that we had a nice evening all of them were cheerful, warm and solicitous without in any way over-doing it. Water glasses refilled when half empty but not after every sip kind of service, just right in my view. I am sure they would have fixed my cold food problem readily but I simply wasnt willing to disrupt the whole meal for everyone else.
We were told that Bia had just received a license to serve beer and wine at outside tables and that they would be doing tapas for both Saturday and Sunday lunch, outside and in. Might be worth a try, especially outside.