If we went out to dinner every night of the year, perhaps we could eat at all of the restaurants in the Boston area that we want to try. While our waistlines and budget deny us that frequency of dining out, we definitely do love to try new restaurants whenever we get the chance.
Birthdays are the perfect excuse for going out, and last week my husband decided he wanted to give Erbaluce in Boston’s Bay Village a try. While he often chooses a steak dinner for his birthday, this year the heat swayed his decision, and I was secretly glad. (Though I do love a nice steak house martini and lots of veggie sides!)
I had an idea of where Erbaluce was located, but I was kind of surprised to see just how close it was to other places I had frequented, like Legal Seafoods and MJ O’Connor’s in Park Square, where I worked for over two years. I walked past Erbaluce many times and never saw it!
It is absolutely charming, housed in a brick building with overgrown, bright flowers adding to the homey, cozy feeling of the space. Inside is just as cozy, with a small bar and two small dining rooms. It was so quiet and romantic, in fact, that I decided I did not want to take photos inside and risk interrupting anyone else’s meal. I grabbed a glass of Tenuta Santome Prosecco and waited for my husband at the bar. I loved this Prosecco; instead of having really forward pear and apple flavors like some Prosecco tends to have, it reminded me more of Champagne, with a toasty nose and flavors of brioche, vanilla, and lemon curd.
All was well until a big group with a toddler walked in. The staff at Erbaluce was more than accommodating, but it just doesn’t seem like the place for a child. I definitely didn’t expect to have people constantly wandering around the dining room chasing after a little one!
Once we got past our surprise, we settled in to enjoy some fabulous food, wine, and service. The menu featured many options that we both wanted, and in the end we were so happy with our choices. Above is the sunflower appetizer that we shared, too pretty not to photograph. It is literally the head of a sunflower with the seeds removed. It was topped with ricotta, bread crumbs, and a delicious dressing, surrounded by sunflower petals which taste just like carrots. This was a fun way to start the meal and paired nicely with my Sicilian white, Maggio Vini Inzolia “Pithoi”. I want to go to Sicily SO badly!
For dinner I went with the bluefish, always a favorite fish of mine, and here it was cooked perfectly with a beautiful sauce that included mustard. My husband had the boar ragu and pasta. We polished both plates clean.
When it was time for dessert, we thought about going home to enjoy the cake and fruit sent by family, but when we saw a honey panna cotta, we really wanted to give it a try. Erbaluce also surprised us with their signature cherry chocolate mousse and a candle to cap off the celebrations. The panna cotta was silky and lightly sweetened while the mousse was very rich and flavorful. I loved both; next time I would save more space so that I could finish them!
A strong Arabic coffee infused with cardamom finished off the night and somehow didn’t keep me awake. Every morsel and sip of this meal was perfection.
Erbaluce (minus one toddler) is the perfect date night spot, quiet, romantic, with a menu that changes frequently, tons of seasonal specials, and food that is crafted like art. The wine list, all Italian wines, is impressive as well. I can’t wait to return, maybe for our August anniversary.