Cinquecento is the Aquitaine Group’s newest addition in the South End, replacing Rocca‘s old spot at 500 Harrison Avenue. The space has a whole new look with wooden floors and tables, brown hues, pillars of wine, dark leather booths, and creative lighting. Walking up the illuminated staircase to the space shuttle-like hostess stand we were already excited…
Bread: Slices of soft, fresh Italian bread was brought to our table in a cloth wrapped basket. I dipped a piece in the EVOO that was poured at the table, and sprinkled a bit of salt from the small wooden bowl. Great bread, and would be perfect for mopping up pasta sauce!
Menu: Antipasti, Zuppa e Insalate, Salumi, Paste, Pesce e Carne, Piatta del Giorno, Contorni. Each menu item is listed in Italian with English descriptions. There were a few apps I wanted to try and couldn’t decide between a pasta or fish for my entree. Luckily my friends wanted to split some starters so I was able to try a few items.
Bruschetta con Burrata e Speck – Burrata, Speck & Pignoli-Currant Marmellata
This may be one of my biggest pet peeves… Based on the Bruschetta description any diner would assume this appetizer would come with a few pieces of bread. I can’t understand how any restaurant can justify selling 1 slice of bread (with toppings) for $6.75. Plates like this should be adjusted based on the number of people in the party. Or reduce the size of the bread/ingredients and give us 2 freakin’ slices on the plate at least! I love burrata, which is why I wanted to try this app, but overall I don’t think it’s worth it (especially if you’re not dining alone!).
Ricotta Fresca – Warm Ricotta, Olive Oil, Grilled Bread
This was the best of the 2 apps we tried. The ricotta was warm and drizzled with EVOO, perfect for spreading on the grilled bread. The cheese/bread ratio was off but thankfully we had enough in the bread basket.
Branzino con Scarola Brasata e Funghi – Sea Bass, Braised Escarole & Wild Mushrooms
I asked to replace the mushrooms with brussels sprouts, and the waitress was honest with me and said the amount of mushrooms in this dish is so small that I wouldn’t receive many brussels sprouts. Instead they gave me a full side of Brussels Sprouts & Pancetta for $2 (rather than the $5.75 it is listed for). The sea bass was great and the sauce it was soaking in was excellent, you could have dipped just about anything in there. The brussels sprouts were also a good choice, with tiny chunks of pancetta and seasoned with some lemon.
Service: Our waitress was great but the timing at the beginning was a bit off. Our appetizer order was taken and the plates were delivered before the bread. We also had not ordered our entrees yet so we still had our menus which made for a cluttered table. Once the bread arrived I was even more overwhelmed but eventually our waitress came over and apologized for not being on top of things. Everything else was cleared and delivered in a timely manner so the slight misstep wasn’t a huge deal.
Restroom: The women’s room has 4 stalls with white titled walls and dark brown wooden doors. A white ceramic trough sink sits underneath 2 large mirrors. There’s also a full length mirror which I always appreciate.
Overall: My girlfriends and I really enjoyed our evening at Cinquecento. We all started with the Minuetto cocktail (Grey Goose Vodka, Elderflower Liqueur, Grapefruit Cordial, Lemon & Prosecco) which was a hit. We split the 2 appetizers and agreed the Ricotta stole the show. Among my entree, the Veal & Prosciutto Saltimbocca, and the Sogliola al Cartoccio (Fluke in Parchment), the majority preferred the latter but everything I tasted was really good. I didn’t love the Grilled Calamari that Angela got with the Endive Salad as her entree, but that’s more of a texture issue for me then the taste of the actual dish.
Prices aren’t cheap but they’re also not too outrageous; Antipasti, Soups and Salads ranges from $6.50 – $13.50, while the Pastas and Entrees are between $14.25 – $28.50 with the Rib Eye taking the top dollar spot. We all agreed we need to return to try different dishes, my choice being the Gnocchi al Sugo di Cinghiale (Gnocchi with Wild Boar, Golden Raisins, Pignoli & Pecorino).
The Perfect Bite: Warm ricotta spread on grilled bread with a sprinkle of salt.