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Paolo's Trattoria, Charlestown - review


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Paolo's Trattoria, Charlestown - review

jacinthe | May 24, 2005 10:50 AM

My father was in town over the weekend, and it’s very difficult eating out with him because he wants good tasty food, good service, a nice atmosphere – but he wants to pay next-to-nothing for food, since he’s not one of those who lives to eat, but eats to live. (Which is exactly opposite of my eating philosophy, as I definitely live to eat). In the past, Cambridge One won him over, as did East Coast Grill for their pickles. (We stay away from ethnic food because he can get Very Picky regarding such matters, always believing that the food in Los Angeles, where we’re from, is so much better. Additionally, he’s on a strict diet (for health reasons) which he only goes off of when he travels, so he likes to indulge in American/Italian food then.) I was on the verge of taking him to Miracle of Science, but was looking around on Opentable early Sunday morning for general ideas because I knew I wasn’t going to be in the mood for their great burgers later on that night.

Then I came across Paolo’s Trattoria, on Main Street in Charlestown. And there was NOTHING on it on Chowhound. But, their menu was so tempting (even though the prices aren’t listed online, which gave me momentary pause), the wine list did not look like it was going to be very expensive, and I really didn’t want to have burgers, so Paolo’s it was. Picked up my father, cousin, and friend, at their various places of residence, and were off.

My friend and I split the Fichi salad to start – mixed greens, drizzled with a Marsala vinaigrette and topped with dried figs, goat cheese, and toasted pistachios. It was a great start to the meal, all the flavours coming together very well. It was large enough to serve three comfortably as a starter. My father got the Paolo’s pizza – a large thin-crust pizza with sopresatta, kalamata olives, tomato sauce and cheese. I had a slice, and it was good (even though I’m not a big fan of thin-crust pizzas). The olives were not too salty, which was good. The rest of us ordered pastas – you can order them in half-sizes, and I’d recommend you do so because even a half-plate of pasta was too much for any one of us to finish. I got the bucatini alla carbonara. Bucatini is one of my favourite pasta shapes, and you don’t find it very often here. It wasn’t a creamy sauce, as I’ve usually had or made with carbonara, but the eggs were more curdled, so they were definitely more noticeable in the dish. It also had peas and bacon (and of course cheese!), and even though I generally don’t like peas, I did here because they added a nice dimension texturally and taste-wise to the dish. My friend had the risotto con cappesanti – a risotto Milanese with seared scallops placed atop. This was a fantastic dish, all aromatic saffron, the rice nicely done so there was a bit of bite to it, rather than it just being mushy (always a danger with risotto!). Scallops were great, seared so that they still kept their moist satiny interiors. Finally, my cousin got the tagliatelle alla Bolognese. It was a little creamier, a little brothier, than other Bolognese sauces I’ve had. I only had a small bite, but did enjoy it.

We were stuffed, so mercifully the dessert menu was not tempting at all (although it’s always a letdown after having a large meal, to see a very bleh dessert menu). It was a very pleasant meal, in a charming atmosphere with decent service. My father was satisfied, which was important. And so were the rest of us! It’s has a nice neighborhood feel to it, and by the time we left around 8-ish on Sunday, was about half full.


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