February 17th, 2010

Da Vinci, Boston

They say that men take their wives/girlfriends out on February 14th and that February 13rd is for the mistresses, so what is February 15th for? According to our sample size of one, it is for a man who is sick of sitting on the couch, watching endless amounts of random winter sports coverage with his Olympics obsessed wife. So, with the promise of a good meal and a crowbar, R finally pried me away from the TV.

We went to Da Vinci, one of the restaurants on my 2010 list. The dining room was virtually empty with only four other couples. The space is a romantic one with high ceilings, dark paint, heavy drapes and chandeliers. Da Vinci offers the kind of prix fixe deal I like; it is not a “special menu” but for $35, you have your pick of appetizer, entree and dessert from their regular menu. Of course, there are offerings that have a supplemental fee, but those are in the minority.

R started with an arugula salad with fried scallops and poached pears. I thought the sweetness of the pears overwhelmed the natural sweetness of the scallops, but R liked the sweet on sweet. I was surprised that the scallops were fried; searing seems a more fitting preparation. However the frying was done well resulting in a light and crispy crust. I enjoyed my mussels as well. The cherry tomato lemon caper broth was nicely balanced and the mussels were tender.

I got the pasta sampler for my meal; it consisted of spinach ravioli, fusilli Bolognese and gnocchi. The ravioli was the best of the bunch, the fusilli was passable and gnocchi had a tapioca like texture. R’s pork chop was wrapped in pancetta and served with sweet potatoes that he really enjoyed (again, too sweet for me). The chop was moist and flavorful. R definitely won the entrée round.

We decided to pay the extra for the two desserts that needed to be pre-ordered (R can’t resist a pre-ordered dessert). His chocolate soufflé was a solid rendition of the classic, with a nice vanilla gelato. My apple crostata was a disaster. The pastry was thin and soggy, and there was a mish mash of apples, kiwis, blueberries and strawberries on it. It was an out of season, flavorless and unharmonious mess. Oh yeah, and it was too sweet.

Needless to say, R had a much higher opinion of the restaurant than I did. I won’t be back.