Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Food: Strega

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! I hope that you treat yourselves extra special today...

Last night I made a couple of batches of chocolate cake pops to bring into work for my friends. So far, they're a big hit. They were fun to make and I'm really happy with the results. I'm pretty sure these will show up at our wedding in 7 months (from today!!).

Have you all celebrated Valentine's Day already? Or will you be doing something tonight? Brian and I spent our day (Saturday) going to the boat show (dreaming out our future home and our future business) and then went to dinner in the North End.

For those of you who don't know Boston well, the North End is our little Italy. It's become very touristy, but it's a cute little burrow with tons of great restaurants and I love going there now and then. I have a huge list of restaurants that I want to try so every time we have a special dinner planned, I try to choose from that list. This time, I chose Strega.

Strega is the sort of place that everyone has heard of because the owner is an advertising whore. Which I totally get, because if I had a place in Boston, I would be too. This guys face is on billboards over the highway and is pretty vocal in the community, apparently. Last year we dined at Nico, which is owned by the same man. That dinner was one of the best Brian and I have ever shared. Strega seemed like a natural choice for Valentine's Day.

I have to say that it was not the best place I've ever dined. It's not horrible and we enjoyed our dinner (Brian loved his dish) but if asked if I would go there again, I'm not sure I would say yes. The space itself is very cute. Small, but cute. Though we were crammed in and sitting right next to another couple, I didn't feel like I was sharing a table. The waitstaff, for the most part, was attentive and everyone was very nice. It was actually the food that makes me say I wouldn't go back.

Again, it wasn't bad. It just wasn't out of this world. To start, we ordered the calamari. We both love it and have been pretty disappointed with the ones we've tried lately, so we thought Strega would hit it out of the park. It arrived hot and crispy and it smelled delicious. However, it wasn't seasoned at all so it was bland. The red sauce they served it with was good, but it still didn't make up for the blandness of the calamari...Brian missed the hot peppers (which is RI style, but he still wished they included something like that) and I missed some salt. Not a 100% loss, but by no means scrumdiddlyumptious.

The foccacia on the table was also just OK. Again, it wasn't really seasoned. No herbs, no salt...just plain. Luckily the olive oil had some hot pepper flakes and herbs, and it offset the lack of flavor in the bread.

Brian ordered the Fettuccine Strega, which was basically seafood alfredo. He said that it was delicious and that the sauce was light (not too cheesy) and the seafood was very fresh-especially the scallops. I ordered the Bucatini All' Amatriciana. It was pasta sauteed with pancetta and onions and served with tomato sauce. It was just OK. The flavor was fine, and it was seasoned OK, but it wasn't anything special. I could have easily made this (better) at home myself. When it came to the table, I was immediately disappointed because it just looked like a bowl of fat spaghetti...which is what it was. Not bad, but not what I would expect from a place like Strega. I should have gotten the lobster ravioli. At least if that was just average, I would have felt better because I wouldn't really make that at home.

We opted to not get dessert there, but to walk to Mike's Pastry for a to go box.

We had a lovely evening and it is always fun to get dressed up with Brian and to share a bottle of wine over candlelight. And just being there, in love, celebrating Valentine's Day was fantastic. I feel good about crossing another restaurant off of my "to try" list but wish it was a little tastier. But overall, I'd call the night a win.


Melisa Wells said...

SLIGHTLY related...

Charlie Trotter's is closing! I keep forgetting to tell you...

On another note, Happy Valentine's Day! xo

Jean said...

I hate it when a place falls just short of my expectations. I'm glad it didn't ruin the day. Of course, having a handsome, lovable companion helps. :-P