Had a gathering of 5 friends for our annual Christmas get-together and chose Bricco to try out. We were very pleased. Luckily we had made reservations because the place was pretty crowded. Seated upstairs where a private party was also being held, but a curtain helped separate us and kept the noise level down. 4 of us had the soup special as an appetizer, which was just right for a cold winter night: rich chicken consomme with tiny meatballs and a parmesan/egg mixture swirled in. The other app was an endive salad which was presented in a pretty arrangement and was very tasty. For main dishes, one person had lamb (cooked med.well as ordered, very good), one had the Kobe beef ($60 m.p. but 3 large pieces of beef which were so tender and flavorful) and another had a special taglietelli with seafood (1/2 good sized lobster tail, mussels, shrimp with a fresh tomato sauce on the pasta.) My other friend and I both chose the pork rack, which was highly redolent of rosemary and had a delicious apple cider reduction drizzled around the plate. The garnish of a chestnut puree stuffed baked gala apple had a nice char to it that gave the apple added sweetness; it went very well with the pork. For dessert we split some bread pudding with caramel pignoli gelato which was just right: dense, not overly sweet, the gelato adding a nice richness to the flavor of the pudding. Oh, and after the dinner plates had been cleared we were served with complimentary glasses of limoncello - both a nice touch and a great flavor!
All of us really enjoyed not only the meal but the fact that service was leisurely and well-timed (as well as helpful & friendly). We were given time to relax and savor each course without feeling rushed. It wasn't slow service, just paced to accomodate our party (another table nearby ate a lot faster - with less talking! - and they were out well before we were.) Especially in the North End on a busy Friday, I appreciate the thoughtfulness of a restaurant that allows you to not only make the most of the food but of the company. Since this was a dinner that is a bit of a splurge for us it adds to the value that we have the time to catch up and converse in comfort. Still, I think the prices weren't outrageous since it came to about $70 per person and we had had 1 drink each (Kobe beef kicked in an extra $30 to make up for her extra-pricey meal!) I'd recommend giving it a try, especially if (like us) you have a mixture of Chowish and non-Chowish eaters - enough menu variety to suit everyone.