It is my wont to spend New Year’s eve eating a ridiculously good meal at a price I normally couldn’t afford. I don’t like to really eat like that the rest of the year, but New Year’s is special. Plus, New Year’s often has so much hype that I like to plan something unflappably good. For me, an amazing, special meal is always a good experience.
This year, I chose Terramia, a small and cozy Italian restaurant in Boston’s North End that had solidly good reviews but that wasn’t exorbitant. (In my mind, any meal that costs more than $100 per person before drinks and tips is exorbitant.) They had a prix fixe menu of four courses, including prosecco and an amuse bouche.
I know some people don’t like prix fixe menus, but they appeals to me in two ways. One, I know from working in a restaurant that prix fixe meals make things a lot easier on staff, which I feel pretty good about on a holiday that everyone celebrates. Secondly, I like being surprised! There are always things on a prix fixe menu that I wouldn’t choose for myself, but I tend to like almost anything, and I like the idea that the chef has given thought to exciting combinations for me.
In the case of Terramia, many of the courses had a choice, so my date and I swore solemnly that we would not order any of the same things, so as to be able to taste as many options as possible. It made choosing the wine tricky, but the meal was phenomenal.
The Amuse Bouche was a “Crostini Con Funghi,” which meant toasted bread with mushroom spread on top. Although my date Catherine and I both tsked-tsked the size of the amuse (should be small enough to eat in one bite), we both really liked it. The goat cheese and truffle oil in the pistachio pesto didn’t hurt.
For the Antipasti, Catherine had “Anatra” (no idea what that means—but it was smoked duck breast) while I had the “Zuppa Di Funghi E Castagne” (wild mushroom and chestnut soup with truffle oil and goat cheese). I liked Catherine’s duck okay, but the soup changed my life. I’d never had chestnuts in a soup before! The whole thing was smoky and warm and creamy and basically utterly delicious.
For the Primi, Catherine went with the risotto (with rock shrimp and crab meat) and I dove into the homemade fig ravioli. Both quite good. The figs were a surprising sweetness, but they blended well with the pork and mushrooms. (If you’re seeing a mushroom theme here, you’re catching on to why I picked the place.)
For the Secondi, I went straight for the rack of lamb, which had all sorts of traditionally delicious things (caramelized onions, reduction, etc), though no mushrooms. Catherine had the Chilean Sea Bass, which I was pretty jealous of; normally I don’t order seafood at non-seafood restaurants, since it’s so often dry and flavorless. But Catherine’s bass was amazing. Could have been the lobster reduction, but my personal hunch is that it was fresh and cooked to perfection.
For dessert, I was torn. The “Piastra del Formaggio” (cheese plate) sounded perfect, but that was what Catherine was itching for. The only other option was tiramisu, which I’ve never really liked. Too heavy. But we had this deal going not to order the same thing, so I bit my tongue and ordered it. Boy, was I glad I did. I have never, ever, ever eaten such delicious tiramisu! Everything was light and sweet and perfect. It practically floated up to my mouth. A delicious ending to a fantastic meal.