Boca

43 Main StWestport, CT 06880 • (203) 557-0720 • bocawestport.com
 

Tucked away right off of the main drag in an alley adjacent to West Elm, is a bit of a sleeper with big aspirations. A two-story Italian ( I know they call themselves Mediterranean, but it’s mostly Italian), that is probably trendier than it needs to be, with staff that’s trying almost as hard as the décor. But what a view form upstairs! Overlooking the Saugatuck River. You could do worse my friend. Same goes for the food, because Boca is better than most of the Italian options in Westport, which admittedly isn’t saying a whole lot. It seems to be the one cuisine in town that isn’t nailed yet. Tarry Lodge is decent, but that’s really it (granted I hear good things about Filamente Trattoria, so TBD on that one). But if the owners of The Whelk, Kawa Ni & Jesup Hall ever decide to get in the game, count me in as an investor!

Until that happens though, Boca will have to suffice. And suffice is does with killer dishes like the lobster with soft polenta. I also found their mussels with fava beans to be damn skippy.

In the middle I’d peg the fig, goat cheese & honey bruschetta as well as the kale salad with walnuts, green apples and gorgonzola. Both are good, but come off a little too basic and/or simply lacking that wow factor, missing the boat on either texture, contrast or balance.

As for misses, steer clear of the crispy artichokes. They are overly breaded and underly sauced, netting out as unsettling balls of fried batter. We didn’t even finish a third of the dish. Fortunately my glass of red wine will help make up for the cholesterol bomb.

So, with more hits than misses, and the void that it fills in the Italian Westport scene, I’d say it’s a worthy stop. Especially if you’re in the middle of a Main Street shopping spree and you get the grumbles.

il Buco Alimentari e Vineria

53 Great Jones St. New York, NY 10012 • (212) 837-2622 • ilbucovineria.com

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This is a tough review for me to write, because I was treated by a dear friend and fellow foodie. But, if I start letting things like that influence me, then I wouldn’t exactly be a Ferocious Foodie, now would I? So, hopefully he understands, but I’m guessing next time will be my treat. 😉

So, here it goes… Not unlike its sibling Alimentari is a great looker. Quaint and charming. But as we all know, looks aren’t everything. And once again I found myself wondering why so many other reviewers keep touting this franchise. Maybe it’s me?

This is not to say that we are in diametrically opposed camps. I mean, it’s not like the place is terrible by any stretch. But it’s not exactly amazing either.

For starters, we had the crispy artichokes, which are good. Served crispy, just like the description says. But yet something held them back from amazing. Under-seasoned would be my main guess. That, or simply not the freshest, most incredible ingredient to start with, enough that it could stand on its own.

As for the bucatini, this was a bit more obvious. It was blatantly undercooked. Not al dente. More like Undercookede. That said, I very much enjoyed the peppery prep. But because it was so hard and chewy I couldn’t get on board the love train.

Next came the sandwiches of which we split two, the short rib and the porchetta. The short rib was the clear winner. A very solid good with its caramelized onions and tender beefiness. But it pales in comparison to the steak sammy at BLT Steak.

And speaking of paling, the porchetta is so far beneath my Ultimate (Rocket Pig) I wouldn’t even bother. That said, the kale sandwich passed by our table and I found myself wishing we had gotten that instead. Not a very good sign for porchetta, either that or a great sign for kale.

Anyways, the point is still the point and that point is Alimentari is very elementary. Meaning basic. Meaning basically skip it.

2 teeth