>> Tuesday, April 26, 2011
In Boston in early April without my better half, I was still determined to have at least one great dining experience. Lady Luck smiled me on this night. I was wandering around the Back Bay and into the Theater District when I noticed a promising sign, literally. Seeing the green and white Erbaluce sign adorning a typically attractive brick building just off Park Square, I walked over to peruse the menu posted outside. Although it was just past ten o'clock, a sign in the window indicated that the establishment closed at eleven. Perfect.
Open for a little over two years, Erbaluce has enjoyed considerable critical acclaim, and based on my visit, I can see why. This enoteca is a foodie's paradise. The menu changes with the seasons and with the freshness of the available ingredients. Many are sourced locally, and other are imported as it makes sense. The chef-owner, Charles Draghi, shows a passion for food and flavour that goes beyond what nearly anyone would expect.
Back to the menu. As is my wont, I laid out my predicament to my server. I was vacillating between two different main courses and had tentatively picked out a seafood appetizer. Furthermore, I knew I wanted red wine that night. My server offered to serve the gnocchi with wild boar ragu as an appetizer, which I quickly agreed to. This dish was so good that I wished I had ordered a full sized version, that is until I received my real main course....
Sated and smiling, I agreed to examine the dessert menu, in honour of my partner, who always has room for dessert. Despite the many enticing options, it was not difficult to choose one. When I was waiting for my dessert, co-owner Joan Johnson came by my table to ask about my meal. We chatted a bit about seafood, how I found their restaurant, and sundry food-related topics.
My dessert was from the Amalfi Coast in the south of Italy, sweetened ricotta and white chocolate wrapped in eggplant, topped by a dark chocolate ganache and accompanied by saffron-marinated oranges. This was actually extremely good, even if you don't generally like eggplant.