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Vinoteca di Monica, North End

Steve believes that Monica’s is the best restaurant in the North End right now. It’s a small space and we had a nice table by the windows, perfect for people watching on a warm summer night.

We shared an abundant plate of fried calamari. There was a nice breading and lightly fried, not too greasy. The rings were large and tender, and it came with 2 dipping sauces. The insalata mista was an insult – It was a handful of mesclun mix on a plate. No tomatoes, no cucumbers, nary a nut or a piece of dried fruit in sight. We asked for the dressing on the side and so they didn’t even have to bother with that step of preparation. I could buy a box of this salad mix at Costco for 5 bucks and make 12 of these salads for $7 a pop and make a zillion percent profit. It was obscene.

We had the Tajarin con Piselli e Prosciutto - thin hand cut ribbons of pasta with sautéed prosciutto and fresh sweet peas. The pasta was excellent; the noodles had the perfect toothsome texture and the sauce was delicious.

Our main course was the pork chop with cranberries. The meat was juicy and tender, and I liked the cranberry accompaniment. They were sweet enough that I thought they were cherries. I’m not a fan of sweet potatoes, so the mash didn’t do anything for me. Sadly, broccoli rabe was massively overcooked and oily. I still ate them – I love a bitter green.

I enjoyed my limone martini, it was sweet, tart and refreshing, and Steve seemed to enjoy his wine. Our service was excellent, however they know Steve and his family at the restaurant, so who knows if our service experience is typical.

Food: A-
Service: A
Value: B+ (for the salad)
Overall: A-

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