SRV [South End, Boston, MA]

#11

Done. Thanks for the encouragement.

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#12

I hope you have a fantastic meal. Happy anniversary!

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#13

Echo uni’s thoughts. They are incredibly accomodating of any dietary requests/ restrictions with the Arsenale. Happy anniversary!!!

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#14

Lucky me, a very fun co-worker from out of town called about 5:00 yesterday and said, I know it’s last minute but I just landed at Logan, any chance you’d be up for dinner? And I know she cares about food so I suggested we meet at SRV. Good call. It was a very pleasant evening, we got seated on the patio, and once again the Arsenale tasting menu was spectacular. Lots of new things on offer, notably a bluefish on seasonal veggies including corn and chanterelles with a wonderful tomato brodo – really wonderful, as was everything else, and we ate barely half of either pasta so guess what’s for dinner tonight. My DC commented on how fabulous the service was and she was right, it always is here.

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Chickadee [Seaport, Boston, MA]
(Denise) #15

@GretchenS, we finally made it to SRV and were we ever wowed. Thank you for the stellar recommendation! We also opted for the Arsenale tasting menu, still $45 per person, which everyone at the table must order.

We particularly fell in love with the cicchetti that came our way. In our case: the soft-boiled quail eggs topped with a fleck of anchovy, polpette (beef and pork meatballs), breaded and fried Castlevetrano olives stuffed with pork sausage, and bite-sized toasts topped with Baccala Mantecato (a kind of whipped mousse of salted cod, which the Google tells me is a Venetian specialty).

And can we talk about those polpette? Light, flavorful meatballs that soared to a new height for us. Our one regret is that we didn’t ask for bread to sop up every last drop of the tomato sauce.

Other courses were a salad of Little Gem lettuce and charred cucumber, rectangles of ethereal fried polenta topped with a sauce of Jonah crab and fresh and fried chickpeas, and chicken breast over rye grains. Also two pasta plates: one strozzapreti, one gnocchi.

A very small dessert of citrusy cubes of semifreddo topped with paper thin slices of beet was the only item we would have been happy to skip. Savory is clearly where SRV shines and we’d have been content to leave things at that.

Oh, and an impeccably made Negroni and Aperol spritz did not hurt either. These drinks may be Italian classics but too often they are poorly done.

We’d planned this as a leisurely dinner before the day took a stressful turn and we had to move back our reservation. The staff went above and beyond by speeding things up a bit so we could still enjoy the full menu experience and make it to a concert on time.
Big bonus points!

Even so, we did manage a few photos to share so others can get a picture of what awaits at SRV.

Top to bottom: strozzapreti, Little Gem salad, quail egg chicchetto.

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#16

We ate there last year during our annual visit, and while we liked everything, I was mildly disappointed, because it didn’t remind me of anything I had ever eaten in Venice.

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#17

Denise, that all sounds fabulous, so glad you enjoyed it so much! I am overdue for another visit.

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(Denise) #18

@bcc, I think yours is a thoughtful observation. I was lucky enough to attend a wedding celebration at the fabulous Del Posto in NYC and felt a kinship with the sensibility at SRV. The deft hand with the pastas, particularly. So I should not have been surprised as SRV’s marquee chefs both did turns at Del Posto. When I think of Del Posto, I do think more of modern dishes informed by classic preparations and flavors rather than a special something that’s hard to capture outside of a region of Italy where a given dish originates.

Of our Italian travels we have only been to Venice once, ages ago, and stuck mostly to seafood. All this is a long way of saying that I totally get your point and it’s worth noting. :grinning:

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#19

I have been back to SRV several times without posting because in each case, with various different friends, we had the Arsenale which remains great value at the high end at $45 and which every person I ever share it with really loves. However last night I went on my own, sat at the bar and had a delightful time choosing off the menu. I started with several cichetti – the quail eggs, the baccala on dark bread, the polpetti, the duck liver mousse on toasted dark bread and the Spanish mackeral which was served as a crudo on shatteringly thin crispy wafers of polenta. All were delicious although the mackeral crudo had a bit too much ground black pepper and citrus acidity for my taste. The quail eggs and baccala were my favorites. I then moved on to the Artichoke in Pinzimonio salad which mixed cooked and shaved raw artichokes with a perfectly balanced dressing and some rough croutons make from their wonderful house bread. I finished with the Lamb Neck al latte, which featured 3 cubes of boneless lamb neck with the fat gorgeously crisped, a small and delicious green garlic-potato kugel, and various vegetal elements – it was amazing! My experience was greatly enhanced by the skilled, knowledgeable and altogether delightful bartender, Marsha (sp?). Her wine pairings were spot on and it was a pleasure and an education watching her make cocktails and listening to her discuss the menu with my fellow bar-sitters. Another great night at SRV and one which confirmed that their food is right in my sweet spot.

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(Denise) #20

Thrilled to hear that SRV continues to knock it out of the park.

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#21

We ate at SRV once with friends, and we all liked everything we ate. But it didn’t seem even remotely Venetian.

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#22

Agree but I don’t think they are trying to be Venetian, just to pay homage to that tradition. I can’t think of anywhere else in the area with cichetti, for example, and I love that you get just a couple of bites and then on to a different couple of bites.

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#23

Yeah, anyone I take to SRV invariably becomes a regular afterward. Great food and I still feel a very good value relative to other comparable places.

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#24

La Morra also has a cichetti part of the menu (and overall is an excellent restaurant)

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(Denise) #25

Oh, I haven’t been to La Morra in forever! It was a happy place for us when it first opened. Hope it’s still wonderful.

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#26

Lucky me, I got back to SRV last night with 3 colleagues here on yet another client visit – meaning expense account dinner. (!!!) The Arsenale tasting menu was as fabulous as ever and repeated only one item from when one of those colleagues and I last enjoyed it 2 or 3 months ago. As always it began with 4 chichetti: scallop crudo for my 3 DCs and quail egg for me due to my shellfish allergy. They proclaimed the crudo fabulous; the quail egg is one of my perennial favorites. Then came the polpetti which are the one constant on the tasting menu and thank heavens for that, I think they are the best meatballs in town and the sauce, scooped up with their fabulous bread, is equally divine. We also had the tramezzini (tiny tuna tartare sandwiches) which were a standout and the risi e bisi arancini stuffed with smoked scamorza. Next up: a lovely salad with soft lettuce, radicchio, snap peas and pickled white asparagus with hazelnuts and some other crunchy cheesy thing. Then smoked sea trout with seared fennel and some lovely creamy sauce and pickled mustard seeds – really wonderful – followed by perhaps the most gorgeous plate of all with chicken thigh, mixed greens in a lovely vinaigrette, lots of wonderful green garbanzos and both pickled and braised radishes in various colors. Then everything was cleared, we were given fresh plates and cutlery and serveware and two pastas came out: the lightest most heavenly gnocchi with spring greens pesto and peas, and strozzapretti with oil-poached tuna, roasted tomatoes, garlic and I can’t remember what else but it was delicious. Lastly the tasting menu dessert: an orange and olive oil cake with toasted coconut shards and salted winter citrus sorbetto. Very pretty and my tiny bites were very tasty. My DCs are dessert fiends (I am not) so we got more desserts: the chocolate budino which was gorgeous but they found discordant with its mix of chocolate and lemon; the hibiscus (? with something - not on the online menu) sorbetto and the parsley sorbetto with burnt meringue and something (again, not on online menu) which was the sleeper hit of the evening. Alas for my productivity this morning there were also cocktails, wine and after dinner drinks (we were all Ubering). Another wonderful night. This place really is a gem, its non-resemblance to an actual restaurant in Venice notwithstanding. As always, service was absolutely delightful. The place was humming even on a rainy, cold Monday evening.

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#27

I was just thinking the other day that we hadn’t had one of your fabulous SRV descriptions in a while. Thanks. I visit SRV vicariously through you, for now, but it’s high on my list of places to physically visit.

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#28

Makes me want to run there right now!

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#29

Lordy, another fab meal under your belt. I would like to believe that the hangover was worth it!

The pasta course sounds incredible.

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(Denise) #30

Your wonderful reports are the reason I have been to SRV. :grinning:

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Visiting for the Weekend [Boston, MA]