Before we get into the full swing of our own recipe challenges, we thought we’d kick this thing into gear with our first review. Amy and I originally wrote this for our school’s magazine, the Buzz. Aka…we sound a lot more proper and annoying than we probably will from here on out. Sorry, bear with us!
Amy and I recently returned back to Boston for our junior year at BU. The other night we ventured to Boston’s equivalent of Little Italy–The North End. Almost at the very end of the popular Italian strip Hanover Street, past Mike’s pastry (HOME OF THE BEST CANNOLI, EVER, HANDS DOWN), we stumble by modest, cozy Giacomo’s.
It was 6:00pm sharp, walked right in and sat down, but we happened to get the only available table. The restaurant was packed—but with no parties bigger than five or six people. This isn’t hard to believe, the space is quaint. The crowd varied, ranging from small children and families, to college students, and middle-aged couples. The atmosphere is unpretentious: wooden tables and copper ceiling, and specials written on chalkboards hanging on brick walls. There is a small open kitchen at the back of the restaurant with a small bar space. The restaurant is perfect for small get togethers with close friends, perhaps not ideal for the most romantic date, as it got pretty loud.
As soon as we sat down we were promptly greeted by a friendly waitress bearing water and bread. At 6:05 a line started to form outside. Both of us had separately heard raves about their fried Calamari, so we ordered for an appetizer a small size, which ended up being perfect for two. It did not disappoint! Light and crispy, the flavors blended nicely with the accompanying lemon juice and marinara sauce. As for the main course, the waitress informed us that two of their pasta (ravioli and fusilli) were homemade, as well as their own Giacomo’s sauce, a blend of red and white. While the menu definitely emphasized pasta and seafood combinations, they did have vegetarian selections available.
After looking at all of our options, Amy was persuaded by the Butternut Squash Ravioli with diced asparagus in a prousciutto, mascarpone cheese cream sauce.
I chose one of the featured specials, Gnocchi Filled With Roasted Red Peppers And Goat Cheese, chicken, mushroom, spinach, mascarpone plum tomato.
Amy’s ravioli came out on a steaming plated in a thick cream sauce garnished with diced asparagus. Her first bite she described as melting in her mouth—“It’s the richest, creamiest ravioli I’ve ever had! You can definitely tell it’s homemade.” Perfectly cooked and tender, the mascarpone cream sauce combined with the butternut squash gave it a sweeter taste, but didn’t sit too heavy in the stomach. Portion size wise the dish was perfect for the hungrier student, but could be made into a leftover if desired. The diced asparagus added a nice texture, and the extra cream sauce was perfect for bread dipping. “I’m going to go out on a limb here and say it was the best butternut squash I’ve ever had!” I confess to have sneaked a few ravioli pillows myself, and I wholeheartedly agree.
The gnocchi was beautifully plated. A few sprinkles of parmesan cheese completed the aesthetic appeal. The potato pasta itself was definitely heavier than the ravioli and the plum tomato sauce base also added a fresher, less sweet taste. The chicken also added a density that easily allowed me to make it in to two separate meals. The blend of vegetables, pasta, and poultry created a dynamic taste that never got old. Overall highly recommended.
The meal in its entirety took about 45 minutes. The restaurants reliance on efficiency explains its request for payments in cash only. But don’t fret! There is an ATM directly across the street that I myself had to dash to. After paying we began to exit, and on our way to the door we passed a variety of dishes that looked equally delicious. By the time we had walked out, the line had grown past the restaurant. Being a random Wednesday night, it’s definitely safe to say plan your visit before 6pm if you don’t want to wait, keeping in mind they only open at 5. The line is justified, however. As we can testify, it is mid-range splurge well worth it, and the staff’s expediency to service you as quickly without feeling rush assures that any wait won’t be too painstaking.
The gleaming gold clam on the Giacomo’s façade speaks true—the restaurant resting just past all of the main attractions truly is a precious pearl to discover.