I can't believe it took us so long to make it to O'Cantinho in Inman Sq. Their homey, hearty food is just what we needed on a cold night. The potato kale soup was thick with the starch of potatoes that fell apart after long cooking. Even without cream it was smooth and rich. The kale was cut very thin and not cooked much, providing a nice green counterpoint to the earthiness of potatoes. The chicken giblets in piri piri sauce was the highlight of our meal -- very tender little bites covered in thick, garlicky, dark gravy.
For entrees we got sardines with black eye pea salad and a salt cod cake sandwich with fried potatoes. Sardines were fat and delicious. Turned out they were canned, but so much better than the canned sardines you can get at a supermarket. Buttery tender black eye peas were dressed with a tangy vinagrete, parsley, and onions -- very yummy. The cod cakes were the only disappointing dish of the night. They tasted eggy, like a thin omlette with pureed salt cod. But what great potatoes... these are not french fries type of potatoes that get mealy inside. These are boiling potatoes that are cut into thin circles and deep fried until tender and lightly crisp. They are perfectly seasoned and quite addictive. The best part was dunking these potatoes into the piri piri sauce that came with chicken giblets.
The whole meal with 2 appetizers, 2 entrees, a coffee, a tea, and a coconut cupcake for dessert came to $25.
When my husband (he is a grad student) pulled out his research notebook over coffee our waitress asked if he was a restaurant critic. She must have not noticed the scary looking equations in that notebook. She wanted to make sure we were comfortable and had everything we needed. So, next time you are in a restaurant and want great service, just pull out a notebook :) But I don't think it's necessary at O'Cantinho since the service was excellent all along.