Super late to post about RW. BUT Restaurant Week might just be two of my favorite weeks of winter and summer. Why? Um, $38.13 for a three-course meal? Why NOT would be the question. Although the price for dinner did rise significantly (a whooping 6 dollars from RW Summer 2013), I still think it’s worth it, given you choose the right restaurants to go to. There are many mixed opinions on the value and the worth of your forty dollars for each meal you invest in RW (many of them negative), but I still hold that you do not get this opportunity to pay the price of one dish for the full meal very frequently.
The first restaurant I chose for RW Winter was Grotto. I’ve been eyeing it for a while and meant to visit it for the longest time, but nobody ever wanted to go with me! So I used RW as an excuse to drag a friend with me to give it a try. I had heard many good things about it (from people threatening me to others raving about it for days after their visits), so I made the reservation asap.
YUM. First of all, the restaurant itself was so so cozy and just beautiful. We walked in – or more like walked down – and immediately noticed the small but warm setting. I absolutelyloved the place. It was a bitter cold day, and to be greeted with the warmth just made me fall in love right away. You do have to keep your eyes open, though – it’s located half- hidden and not so noticeable.
I ordered the mussels, which were not so memorable. It was the kind of dish you could find in any restaurant, from not only Italian bue also to French, and even Asian. It was alright, but I do wish I could have ordered something else. My friend ordered the soup (Zuppa: Garlic soup, Black truffle, Parmesan, Toasted bread crumbs), and now that was a tasty first course. I stole a few spoonfuls from her, and I can say that I much preferred hers over mine.
Both second courses were pretty solid, but for this one I have to say that I savored every bite of mine. I had read reviews praising the Gnocchi with the tender gnocchi, but I did not expect it to be so good. It was as good as or better than the gnocchi from L’Artusi from New York! The only flaw was that it was a little too salty, but the gorgonzola and the gnocchi covered in the short rib and sauce made a perfect bite. The gnocchi was not too chewy, the meat was extremely tender… I rolled my eyes from the first bite I took.
The Fra Diavolo was also pretty good, but I thought the sauce was too watery. Also, unlike mine, this dish was a little bland. There definitely was the “spicy” element, but it was not enough to make up for the overall lack of seasoning.
The desserts were also both good, but again, I thin I made the slightly better choice. I did love the caramel ice cream with the Banana bread pudding, but I enjoyed my Melting chocolate cake more. Or should I say “Melting” chocolate cake? For it to me a “melting” chocolate cake, my dessert was a little too baked, resulting in what was more of a warm chocoalte cake with ice cream on top. Good thing was that the chocolate & ice cream combination is hard to fail – otherwise, I would have been more disappointed.
I guess it is the downside of Restaurant Week that sometimes, the restaurants get carried away with the busy week trying to feed every RW customer. Still, I think it’s not too professional to change the quality of the dishes just because of special occasions. We customers will visit the restaurants expecting a certain levels from the reviews and acquaintances’ past visits! I understand we may be paying less, but if the restaurants decided to participate in RW, they should put their best food forward. When I notified him of my visit, a friend of mine lamented that my experience was not as good as his.
Grotto offers $38 three-course meals outside of RW regularly, so if you want to give it a try, you definitely should! My first meal there was not flawless, but I do still think that it was a solid meal. Will be going back, hopefully sooner than later.
37 Bowdoin St
Boston, MA 02114