Note: an updated post from 2009 on this restaurant has been written here.
We went to Prezza on Sunday evening as part of Bryan's birthday weekend celebration. We wanted to go on Saturday, but it was impossible to get a reservation at a decent time. Clearly, this place is popular.
I chose this restaurant for several reasons. First, it consistently had very positive reviews from various forums, websites, etc. Second, it was a classy, high-end restaurant - appropriate for a birthday celebration. Third, they make fresh pasta, which is very important for Bryan, since he absolutely LOVES fresh pasta. Finally, it had been recommended to me by a friend who used to live in the North End. This is the same person who had recommended Monica's, now one of our favorite North End restaurants.
Prezza did not disappoint. The waitstaff was very professional and knowledgeable. He recommended an excellent French wine (E. Guigal Hermitage 1990) to go with our meal and also was very attentive.
Since Bryan loves pasta so much, we decided to order 2 appetizers and 4 appetizer portion pastas. For appetizers, we ordered the butternut squash arancini with lobster, brown butter, and sage; and the spicy mussels in tomato fennel stew with chorizo polenta. Both were excellent. The arancini was lightly fried and was paired with a fragrant sauce. The spicy tomato fennel sauce was deeply fragrant and flavorful, and the mussels were fresh and tasty [though still not as good as the mussels we freshly picked from the ocean in Maine and grilled at our campsite right after].
We ordered four pasta dishes to try: the pumpkin ravioli with lobster, marscapone, brown butter, and sage; potato gnocchi with mushroom, rabbit, marscapone, and parmesean; corn raviolini tossed with toasted corn, pancetta, rock shrimp, white wine, and butter; and tagliatalli a la Bolognese.
We both agreed that the corn raviolini was fabulous. The mixture of flavors between the sweet corn, salty pancetta, shrimp, wine, and butter was beautiful. I even said that if we went back again, I would just order a plate of corn raviolinis and a glass of wine and be very content. The gnocchi was also very good. I typically don't like freshly made gnocchi because it is often too mushy and soft. I like my gnocchi with a bit of chewiness. The gnocchi here had excellent texture - just the right amount of bounce ("kwew" in Taiwanese). Bryan also really liked the Bolognese. It was much lighter than the Bolognese we are used to at Basta Pasta, but the flavors were nice and the pasta had good texture. The pumpkin ravioli was good, although the flavor was similar to the arancini that we'd ordered as an appetizer. Although we both liked it, we thought it probably ranked 4th out of the pastas that we had ordered.
Over all, an excellent meal. I would definitely recommend trying this place. They accept reservations on OpenTable and also over the phone. They got a Zagat's food rating of 27, which is pretty high. Next time we go, maybe we'll try some of the meat dishes. Although, I'm really tempted to just order the corn raviolini's and call it a day. 🙂
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