Well, finally got to Copia Saturday night for a late dinner at the bar. The place was hopping, though thankfully not as loud as when it was Meze. Some changes I noticed are cozy banquettes with high tables along the wall dividing the bar and the dining room, and carpet in some areas. I also liked some of the new details, like hooks under the counter for handbags, and brass foot rails for the banquettes. We got there about 9:15 and there was only one seat open at the bar itself, so we waited and about 15 minutes later we were able to both sit down. It was quite a pleasure to see Billy back behind the bar from his stint in Boca Raton, and we ended up having a tasting menu a la Billy - and boy did he choose winners. Nice bread basket with white bean puree, and olive oil for dipping. First up was the Roasted Mushrooms with Fried Duck Egg. Meaty sliced mushrooms topped by a perfect sunny-side duck egg that oozed out rich yolk to 'sauce' the mushrooms with Parmesan cheese and a hint of white truffle oil. I know I just wrote about a duck egg appetizer at Avila, but if you are looking for the best one in Boston, for me, this is it. Next up seems to be a very popular dish already at Copia - the Rosemary Pork Ribs - and I can see why. Tender, flavorful ribs crusted in rosemary, salt, garlic, and olive oil. Very addictive. Billy had the kitchen split our third course - a classic Caesar salad with the perfect amount of lemony dressing and I just LOVE those white anchovies (I think it was Galleygirl that got me into these). E was full, but I had to try one more dish. One of our bar mates was raving about the octopus, so that's what we got. Another winner - one of the best octopus dishes I've had in Boston - a North African stew of tender baby octopus in a deeply flavorful tomato-based broth with generous amounts of cilantro and wonderful spicy heat from harissa. We took a breather before we decided to have desesert. All of our dishes were under Hot Plates. We had no entrees this time, which is just the way I like to eat. We did see lots of good stuff, though, including a seafood paella that seemed to be very popular. Also, our bar mate on my side was polishing off his wood-grilled steak, fried asparagus with parmesan cheese (we saw a lot of this being ordered also), and the bacon au gratin potatoes, and declared that everything was delicious. I drank a wonderful Spanish white Billy had chosen for me, though I forget the name now. Desserts were apple turnovers for E, and a wonderful not-too-sweet pistachio and almond baklava for me. Though we were so full, we just had to try these since it was our first visit. Topped off with a Blanton's bourbon, and this finished off a wonderful meal.
So many things I want to try next time like the make-your-own Meditteranean platter with stuffed grape leaves, baba ghanoush, tzatziki, hummus, shaved zucchini salad, etc., the serrano ham with figs and goat cheese, zucchini and mint fritters with tahini, Portuguese clams and sausage, grilled sardines, braised lamb shank with chickpea stew, moussaka, and whole roasted branzino.
Now I'm hungry and have to heat up my leftover anchovy pizza from Pizzeria Regina ;)