I read the recent Sunday Globe Magazine article "54 Divine Dishes (In No Particular Order)", and couldn't help thinking, "Chowhound thefts, one after another." But I long ago stopped being surprised at the ability of dedicated amateurs to keep many steps ahead of so-called professionals.
That said, the article has prompted me to revisit several places that previously underwhelmed me. Exhibit A: La Morra for a chichetto of meatballs, wonderful, especially when garnished with surprisingly competent service.
Another one was a visit to Teatro for the antipasto for two. I haven't been a huge fan of the food at this place, and have found the service and bartending to be substandard, but damn!, that antipasto the other night was terrific.
Excellent sopresata and prosciutto, maybe the best caponata I've had in ages, Gorgonzola-stuffed figs, good olives, a couple of fresh, lightly martinated artichoke hearts, slices of excellent cheese, a good white-bean spread, yellow and magenta beets with little goat-cheese smears, a shockingly good marinated roasted red bell pepper, plus excellent bread and EVOO and a bite or two I can't quite recall.
That shoulda been a plenty good meal for two, but we hadn't expected such a feast for $21. We split an order of rigatoni Bolognese, which was terrific, and huge in size, even split. (Who could eat a whole portion, I wondered?) One of the three best versions of this dish I have had in town: Toscano has one, and the other is around the corner from it.
I still love that room, still find the chairs opposite the wall-lining banquettes hard and uncomfortable. Service was really solicitous on a not-so-full weeknight. I even found a wine bargain on the list that we'd enjoyed at Bricco a few days earlier.
Thanks, Chowhounds: I know you beat Ms. Arnett to the punch on these places months or years ago!