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Boston Area

Don Ricardo fka Botucatu

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Restaurants & Bars 6

Don Ricardo fka Botucatu

MC Slim JB | Nov 5, 2005 09:03 AM

I'm uncertain why this great little Peruvian/ Brazilian/ Mexican place changed its name -- was it named after the first wife and the second wife finally squawked?-- but the weather's getting cooler, so we're visiting more often.

Maduros, fried ripe plantains, come in a big portion with a turmeric-yellow dipping sauce loaded with fresh garlic and a bit of lemon flavor, like a thin, garlicky Peruvian Hollandaise. A side of homemade hot sauce (with fresh habanero and guero chilis, and I believe something Don Ricardo called an "escabeche" chili) also has loads of flavor, varying heat levels with each bite, a thin pink base, and chopped onions. This is a wonderful accompaniment; we have little bites of it with just about everything.

We avoid Mexican dishes here as a rule, which we think are pitched at gringos, but we're running out of things to try, so we order the very fresh tasting guacamole, a generous portion with homemade tasting tortillas chips: awesome. We also get one Mexican special; the chimichanga of chicken is delicious, probably pan- rather than deep-fried for only a little crispiness and not a lot of grease, also excellent.

A bisteck encebollado is a big, maybe 1/3" steak, quickly cooked and covered with sauteed onions and peppers. The accompanying pinto beans have some subtle sweet spicing (maybe cinnamon and clove?), and there's a heap of excellent white rice.

The hearty and generously-portioned food here really satisfies. I'm afraid that despite arriving famished we can't come close to finishing our two apps and entrees. $60 inclusive, not counting the wine (they have a handful of modest, mostly New World wines that suit nicely -- we went all out with the top-of-the-line, $22 Rioja), plus a few bottled beers.

Very friendly service (Don Ricardo himself spends a lot of time with the patrons), pretty smooth on a very busy night. Though the room is not much to look at, we are very happy to have this little place in the neighborhood.

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