Restaurant Week. We have a love/hate relationship. I feel like a restaurant’s RW menu is very telling of its understanding of the value of customer growth and retention. If you find only cheap items, then you’re truly getting what you pay for. Whereas other restaurants pull out all of the stops or simply let you choose from their entire menu for the same fixed price. I always think the latter is wiser as it leads to a better diner return rate. Restaurant week should be about dazzling diners in the hopes that we’ll be back with our wallets full from the savings you offered us the last time.
Sadly, I’m compelled to think restaurants take the low road and jazz up some cheap cut of meat to make a nice margin on your meal. Alas, the charm of restaurant week and knowing the restaurant will be buzzing with activity has enough pull to get me to round up friends and get my wine and dine on.
Kim and Kate, my willing dining mates
‘Sup you beautiful, dippable bread morsel.
Bruschetta con Burrata e Speck
Grilled Bread, Burrata, Smoked Prosciutto & Pignoli-Currant Marmellata
Insalata di Cavoletti
Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Pancetta & Ricotta Salata
Polpette e Polenta (Restaurant Week Menu)
Veal and prosciutto meatballs with soft mascarpone polenta
Tagliatelle alla Bolognese
Veal, Pork, Pancetta & Parmigiano
Pollo e Farrotto (Restaurant Week Menu)
Roasted chicken breast with charred onions, farro risotto and rosemary jus
Panna Cotta di Ciacolatto (Restaurant Week Menu)
Chocolate panna cotta with toasted hazelnuts and amarena cherries
Torta di Ricotta e Ananas (Restaurant Week Menu)
Ricotta cheesecake with grappa soaked pineapples
Overall, I really enjoyed the meal. Kate, who ordered from the Restaurant Week menu, went so far as to say this may be her favorite Aquitaine group restaurant. Bravo, Cinquecento.
As for the food — burrata, it’s everywhere and I’m ok with that. Simple bruschetta topped with this gooey, milky cheese that was studded with oh so sweet current and punctuated with the salty speck made for a very nice first appetizer. I also stole a bite of Kate’s meatballs which were good and had a lot of flavor potential. They just needed a little extra sprinkle of salt, which was disappointing and surprising considering the addition of the prosciutto. The table also split a shaved brussel salad. Vegetables that include pancetta (think bacon) and ricotta salata are ok in my book.
Kim and I both ordered the tagliatelle bolognese. For starters, bolognese pulls on my heart strings. Always. I feel pangs of guilt if I leave a bolognese on the menu without ordering it. Why? Because I’m a fat kid at heart and rich meat sauce covering ribbons of pasta is my idea of heaven on earth. There I said it. The bolognese did not disappoint. Give or take a mouthful or two taken by Kate, I cleaned my plate. Still, my two top bolognese are from Sportello (Waterfront Boston) and Frank (East Village New York).
Kate ordered the chicken with farro risotto. I’m never one to order chicken in a restaurant. I fall into the snotty group of people who “don’t order what I can cook at home”. Well, that chicken was damn good. It was so moist and flavorful. Definitely NOT what I make at home.
We rounded off the meal with a chocolate panna cotta and ricotta cheesecake. Both were ok dishes, not great but that clearly didn’t stop me from picking at the cheesecake until it was all gone.
Our server left something to be desired unfortunately, but she definitely got an A for effort and somewhat awkward enthusiasm. If nothing else, hop over and grab a seat at their beautiful bar. Their small plates are delicious and anyone who has the gusto to decorate their space with pillars of Aperol and Campari deserves a visit or two.
500 Harrison Street
Boston, MA 02118