Giacomo’s always fascinated me; while other places went wanting with empty tables, the line here seemed endless. With so many good to excellent restaurants only steps away, why did so many wait so long for this one establishment? Finally on Thanksgiving eve, I had the chance to find out. We were seated immediately and the table already was set up with nice crusty bread, olive oil and water. Why other places don’t get this part right is confounding. When guests sit down, there should be some food in front of them, both at home when entertaining and when dining out. The wines-by-the-glass were limited so we ordered the chardonnay; it was decent and we were thirsty. On to the food: My DC believes that one of the true tests of an Italian kitchen is the friend calamari, so we ordered and shared a large appetizer portion and if it were the SAT’s of cuisine, this would have scored a solid 2300 out of 2400. Light, crispy and perfectly presented with a nice marina sauce for dipping. For a main dish to share we ordered the half lobster with linguine, mussels and clams with the scampi sauce. It came to the table beautifully presented, steaming with piled high mollusks and a plume of garlic wafted through our souls as it was set in front of us. We dismantled the lobster, split the pasta and shellfish and the waiter came by with the freshly grated parmesan to which we said ‘yes!’ The first forkful - with great anticipation - revealed the true flavor of SALT. SALT! Such a rookie mistake, so over-saline and almost inedible. The scampi sauce (one of five sauces they offered) ruined the dish. Not that we did not finish every last morsel, but it failed to impress and was downright disappointing. I have ordered nearly the same meal at several other N. End places and this one was the pits. It left me wanting for a good meal. I always say “that’s why they put it in shakers – so you can add your own.” Too many cooks are desensitized to salt that they keep adding it until they can taste it. Big kitchen mistake. I make better at home, with fresh basil and parsley too, none of which were detected here, just predominantly salt. I might go back and try a red sauce or the house special Giacomo made with lobster bodies and cream. But if I had to wait, I’d go elsewhere, almost anywhere.
355 Hanover St, Boston, MA 02113