Marco

 


I hadn’t really heard of Marco until a friend recently mentioned that I need to try it ASAP. As Restaurant Week was approaching at that time, I knew this would be the perfect opportunity to try multiple courses for a decent cost.

Bread: Small bites of foccacia bread were served with a bowl of peppers, onions, and capers. The accompaniments were atypical and luckily for Matt (he’s not a fan of peppers & onions) EVOO was also poured into a small dish. The bread was great and served well for dipping in future courses.

Menu: Marco was only offering their Restaurant Week menu which was actually 4 courses instead of the usual 3. They began with 4 options for Antipasti, followed by 3 for Insalate, 7 items for the main course of Piatti Principali, and finally 4 selections for Dolce. I made sure to come hungry!

Food/Presentation:
Gambero Bruschetta: shrimp, grilled foccacia, garlic, white wine, butter, tomatoes & capers
This is not your typical bruschetta! I had been warned by a friend who dined at Marco last week so luckily I knew what I was getting myself into with this dish, otherwise I may have been a bit confused. One piece of bread – submerged in the garlic, scallion, caper, white wine, and butter broth – was surrounded by tomatoes and topped with 3 large shrimp. The bread was thick enough that it wasn’t too soggy and the tomatoes were a great consistency of ripe yet soft due to being marinated in the broth. This was light & refreshing, and so delicious! You better believe I used the leftover foccacia bread to dip in that amazing broth.

Insalata di bietole: roasted beets, herbed goat cheese, frisee, hazelnut vinaigrette
A mound of cubed beets was topped with goat cheese & frisee, and surrounded by a scattering of chopped red onion and hazelnuts. Often beet salads are more greens than actual beets, but this was not the case here. I could have used a bit more cheese, but otherwise I loved everything about this course, especially the plentiful onions & hazelnuts!

Tagliatelle alla Bolognese: house-made tagliatelle, classic bolognese
I couldn’t resist ordering my favorite pasta dish! The tagliagtelle was of course cooked al dente, and was swimming in an almost creamy sauce of ground meat and pieces of tomato. In general I consider myself an over-saucer (I pour on extra gravy like it’s my job) but if I’m being critical I would say this dish was just a bit over sauced. The sauce was delicious, but too much of a good thing isn’t always the best. I did however really enjoy it, and especially appreciated the amount of tomato chunks!

Tiramisu: espresso and rum soaked lady fingers, mascarpone cream
This dessert was equal parts soaked ladyfingers and creamy custard. I have to be careful with dairy and cream in general, so it wasn’t my personal favorite tiramisu due to the amount of custard but it was still good. A perfect little portion to end a really excellent meal.

Bathroom: Past the bar are 2 doors, each a unisex restroom. Not much to say here; the room was quite small, with 2 mirrors on opposite wood-paneled walls, and a wicker basket holding a fan of paper towels.

Service: The service was great and each course was delivered in perfect timing. Our waitress was friendly and informative. I liked the glass bottle of tap water they left on the table for us to pour.

Overall: I very rarely have a 4-course meal but I’m glad we did tonight; everything was really great! The restaurant itself is quite charming, a small spot located on the 2nd floor above Bricco on Hanover Street. Marco has a cute bar that sits maybe 6 people and a dining room featuring hard wood floors, brick walls, wooden tables & chairs, and a faux fireplace setting a casual and rustic atmosphere. Serving family style dinner on Sundays, I would recommend Marco any day of the week!
A bonus: they validate parking in the Parcel 7 Garage for $1 if you’re in & out in less than 3 hours.

The Perfect Bite: There was a perfect bite in each course! But if I must choose one I’ll say dipping bread in that bruschetta broth and topping it with a soaked tomato, oh wow!

oh there you are bread!

oh there you are bread!

www.marcoboston.com

dish EVOO was poured into

dish EVOO was poured into

For more photos & descriptions of what everyone in my party ate, visit my Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/ThePerfectBiteBoston

Church

I had heard mixed reviews for Church but wanted to try it out for myself before writing it off. Being a sister restaurant of Coolidge Corner’s Regal Beagle in Brookline I was expecting a strong culinary showing, but instead experienced a slightly disappointing meal and spotty service.

Bread: None. At least we didn’t receive any. I should have realized then that what was to come was nothing impressive.

Menu: Sliders, From the Garden, Grilled Flatbread, From the Sea, From the Farm, Dessert. There were a good amount of options, and part of certain dishes stood out but there wasn’t one that I was immediately drawn to (besides the rosemary duck fat fries, which I didn’t even order). I also need to mention the cocktail menu; it was broken down into two categories, “Seven Deadly Sins” and “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse”. I commend Church for being creative with their descriptions, but when they omit any mention of the alcohol involved it’s hard to determine what to order!

Food/Presentation:
Margherita Grilled Flatbread: slow roasted tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil
The four of us started with this flatbread as an appetizer. It wasn’t bad but there wasn’t anything particularly memorable about it either. I love any kind of tomato (except maybe sundried) but I didn’t like the way these were prepared.

Warm Baby Spinach Salad: cranberry-thyme vinaigrette, toasted walnuts, molten gorgonzola, and beets
My salad came in a warm skillet, with the ‘molten cheese’ crisped to the bottom of the cast iron pan. It was a little strange that the lettuce was so warm, but it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. The salad was lightly dressed, and a good combination of sweet & savory.

Buffalo Chicken Sliders: buttermilk-blue cheese dressing and celery slaw
Two sliders came topped with slaw; sandwiched between was a pile of fries. Before ordering I assumed the chicken would have been pulled or grilled, so I was pretty disappointed to learn that in between the buns was cubed, slightly fried chicken. The slaw was decent and I liked the sauce, but the square pieces of poultry really threw me off.

Bathroom: The ladies room was actually nice with earth tones, chrome faucets, and bowl sinks which I always find quite pretty.

Service: My friend Alana arrived about 15 minutes before the rest of us and said she waited at least 10 minutes before anyone came over to offer her a drink. Once we arrived and ordered cocktails it took another 15 minutes to receive those. Our waitress was either new, distracted, or just straight up not good at her job. Our salads came before we finished the flatbread, which isn’t a huge deal but I don’t like to be rushed! The rest of the evening was fine, although it did take a while to get the check.

Overall: I think Church is more of a bar / live band scene than a restaurant; I personally would never send anyone there for the food. The cocktails were just ok; I started with Vanity (a vodka & grapefruit concoction) and ended with Death (useless description is above – turned out to be a champagne cocktail). The prices were reasonable at least and the atmosphere was lively and comfortable. The location is so remote (Kilmarnock Street) that I don’t see myself returning any time soon.

Vanity

Vanity

The Perfect Bite: I guess I’ll say the warm spinach, melted gorgonzola, and beets.

 www.churchofboston.com