It's been nearly 10 months since my partner and I had the pleasure of eating Marissa's food, and enjoying Rita's hospitality. In the few years that they operated the South End Galleria just around the corner from our house, we established ourselves as regulars, dining there once or twice a week. Their food was always delicious, creative, and sometimes challenging. It was the one place in the neighbrhood where we felt like VIPs, due to the way they warmly greeted and treated us at each visit. And so, when Rita and Marissa closed up shop on Columbus Avenue, and went to Italy last Fall, we sadly mourned the end of one of our favorite SE restaurants.
But alas, as has been mentioned earlier down on this board, they're back - this time at Bricco in the North End. We finally hauled our butts out of our neighborhood for a chance to sample their cuisine again. And, I'm happy to say, we were not disappointed.
Rita greeted us with open arms when she saw us, and sat us at a prime table near the window overlooking Hanover street. Marissa was not far behind, providing one of those amuse bouches we had grown to love while at SEG. This time, it was slivers of marinated mushrooms, artichokes, and leeks sandwhiched between two thin, dried slices of green apple. The whole thing was drizzled with tasty, flavored olive oil.
Our waiter, Cossimo, was a true professional, and endeared us with his story of why he moved to North America from Italy, and why you should never stay in Italy for more than 20 days.
For wine, we chose a Big Fire Pinot Gris ($30), which was delicious. For appetizers, I had the tempura zucchini blossoms (3 on the plate) over a small frisee salad ($14). Delicious! My partner had a 3 part appetizer, consisting of a tomato hollowed out with honeydew gelee inside, prociutto wrapped around a bread stick, and a nice hunk of fresh mozzarrela imported from Naples ($15). Rita says that it's flown in twice weekly. Omygod....that mozzerella was to die for. I had to keep giving my partner some of my precious zucchini blossoms so that I could have more and more of that delicious cheese.
For our entrees, I had the chicken cooked with mozzarella ($22). The dish also had spinach and some sweet potato concoction. It wasn't my favorite dish of Marissa's, but I was still flying high from the appetizers (and the wine), so I didn't care. My partner had the pork filet mignon, cooked with a spicy sauce ($23). He loved it.
By this point, we were full, but couldn't go away without indulging in the SEG's famous bread pudding. I don't know how this dessert continues to improve each time we have it. Served now on its own, rather than in a pot, it is still covered with a warm caramel sauce, and simply makes you roll your eyes in the back of your head with each bite. Yes - It's that good!. Rita also sent out a sample of the Rum cake for us to try. Had we of just had this alone, we would have been very happy, indeed. But having this paired alongside the Bread Pudding - there was no contest. The latter won out.
We ended our evening with fond hugs all around, and the promise to come back soon. The entire dinner cost $105 before tip and taxi back home. (However, next time we'll take our car, as Bricco is one of the few places in the North End which has complementary valet parking).