To win a seat on Coppa's first Friday night, we knew we'd have to be at the door before it opened. This new restaurant from Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonette has been stalked by bloggers. Daily progress reports have been posted on Chowhound.
Coppa is not a large space- about 40-seats. We were the first ones in line and grabbed stools at the end of the bar nearest the door- a chilly decision. Next time we'll head for the spaces near the kitchen.
By 6:30 pm the place was jammed. Customers waiting for seats were standing in back of us getting drinks passed to them- including cans of Schaefer beer (go figure).
The volume in the room quickly got loud, the good news being that it drowned out the "something-for-everyone-to-hate" music.
Our bartender, Corey was knowledgeable about the food and wine, and had his hands full as the crowd grew in number.
Penny started with a glass of sparkling Pinot Nero. Ed tasted it and ordered the same. A good balance of fruit and dry. It grew even better as it warmed.
Your menu becomes your placemat. That keeps it handy for ordering the next plate and lets you fold it up and take it home– stains and all. Dishes run between $5 and $15. These are small plates- perfect for sharing. And, they were served that way. Despite the waiting crowd, we were not rushed and our meal was well paced. We had:
Buratta is something Ed's been sampling everywhere. While it was served on the chilly side, the soft center was a prize that he quickly found. He rated it very good.
The Brussels Sprouts were tiny, sweet, and perfectly complemented by the salty, spicy notes from the additions. Corey told us they had been working on it, and last night used the wood-burning oven for them.
If cooking fish under a brick can produce a crispy skin that you find yourself wanting as much as the perfectly cooked flesh, we will start experimenting at home. This was a great dish.
Along the way, we ordered more wine. Arneis for Penny and a Nebbiolo/Barbera for Ed. He's a fan of both grapes but had never tried the blend. It was from Neil Rosenthal, one of our favorite importers, and it was a big hit.
The red wine was perfect with the ravioli. Taleggio is a strong flavor that rules in this dish but works well with the tomato.
Our finale was Costolette de maiale. Penny, who never saw a piece of pork she doesn't crave, loved all of it. Ed liked the crispy outer skin but wasn't as wowed as he'd been all evening.
Remember, BostonZest "first looks" are just that- our first impression. It takes any new business time to reach cruising speed. And, we only slow down long enough to tell you about those places where we can't wait for our next visit.
253 Shawmut Avenue, Boston MA
Writers: Penny & Ed Cherubino
Photos: © 2009 Penny Cherubino