Photos and Words by Amanda DeJesus
Bar Mezzana is the place to be right now: it’s on Boston Eater’s “Hottest Restaurants in Boston” for November 2016, as well as Boston Magazine’s “Best New Restaurants in Boston” for 2016. And let me tell you: it deserves it.
Bar Mezzana is located in the South End and offers a warm, inviting atmosphere. Wine is the highlight here: it’s present in the decor, and is showcased all over the room. You can tell that the management takes care in their hospitality. The hostess was able to seat us an hour before our reservation time, our waitress went above and beyond, and the attendants were pleasant and swift.
Our waitress first brought us a warm plate of two types of bread: a caramelized onion focaccia and a ciabatta, along with some excellent olive oil. While we munched on the bread, we set out to narrow down the menu. This was a difficult task because everything sounded incredible. The menu is divided into sections: prosciutto, crudo, crostini, antipasti, pasta, and secondi “entrees”. We decided to order one thing from each section, with double crudo instead of prosciutto (allergies).
The crudo arrived first: we got their famed yellowtail crudo, which is served with grapefruit oil and fresno chili. This was probably the best thing I ate all night. The yellowtail was impeccably fresh, the flavors balanced perfectly, and it just seemed to melt on my tongue. We also ordered a salmon crudo, topped with a green chili salsa verde. Again, it was delightful, and the salsa verde added the tiniest kick.
For crostini we chose the fig, salami, and gorgonzola dolce. The first thing that I noticed was the quality of the bread, which they had grilled. I love grilled bread: the extra flavor from the char and the soft interior makes it better than normal toast. And here, paired with the salty salami, sweet figs, and tangy gorgonzola, it was perfect.
Our antipasti was a very fresh cucumber salad with cornily, dill, and sesame. I loved how the cucumber was cut in two different shapes: thin slices and a brunoise, because it changed up the texture. The flavors were delicate but refreshing.
For entrees, we shared the sweet potato cappelletti (with chestnut, sage, and honey) and the “chicken under a brick” with brussels sprouts, bacon, and creamed kale. The cappelletti was rich, but not overpowering as sweeter pastas can be. The filling was soft and the pasta itself was al dente. Crispy bacon on top added a fun textural element. And as for the chicken, I usually prefer red meat, but this dish knocked it out of the park. The skin on the chicken was crispy, the chicken moist and tender, and the brussels sprouts and creamed kale were perfect accompaniments. Dried currants and croutons mixed in added sweet and crunchy notes. We couldn’t finish the entrees, but they were excellent as leftovers as well.
My mom managed to convince me to get dessert, even though I was completely stuffed, so we shared a pear crostata with ginger gelato. The gelato was phenomenal: it used fresh ginger, which was delicate but warm. The crostata’s crust was crisp and coated in turbinado sugar (my favorite) and filled with spiced pears. Everything paired together beautifully.
I left entirely satisfied and 100% full. The combination of the fantastic food, wonderful wine, and outstanding hospitality lands Bar Mezzana as one of the best meals I’ve had in Boston, and I will be happy to return soon, especially for more crudo.
360 Harrison Ave.