Saturday night I met my friend, Barbara for dinner at Strega. We decided on 7.00pm as we both know the Waterfront is a little nuts these days and virtually impossible to get a reservation by just doing a walk-in.
I arrived at Strega a little early, around 6.45pm and it was already a scene. Welcome to the new Southie – its crazy! The Waterfront (Seaport, Liberty Wharf, Fan Pier etc) area is buzzing with excitement and fun.
We sat in the lounge area and ordered drinks while we waited for two seats to open up at the bar. I ordered a lovely, sparkly Brut Rose while Barbara opted for an alcohol-free beer as she was driving her new, oh so fabulous Mazda 3.
The atmosphere is rich with the money-crowd, in-crowd, tourist crowd and of course me and Barbara. An amazing people watching scene to behold. It also does seem to be working a little bit of the “Sopranos” feel of slightly over the top, but kind of fun. The restaurant is quite impressive with a higher-end, contemporary decor with huge murals of people like Al Pacino. They do have a lovely outside dining area, which feels a lot more casual.
Let me just say that as much as I may be age appropriate, I do not consider myself a cougar – some may, but I do not – I just don’t have cougar game. I do have to say though that Strega is a plenty with cougar-type females. Now… I do not mean this in any negative way; I mean it in the most positive way for “good on ya ladies!”
After about 15 minutes, we spotted two seats about to open up at the bar, so hovered with intent to nab them before anyone else got a look in.
The bartender very nicely recognized me and welcomed me back. Considering I have only ever been to Strega once before, it made me feel very welcome. She was absolutely crazed all night but made time to check in on everyone (with a constant smile) to make sure they were okay.
Our bartender delivered a basket of bread and olives soaked in garlicky olive oil while we checked out the menu.
I ordered a glass of Fume Blanc and we decided to share the Portobello al Forno. Our appetizer was wonderful – an enormous Portobello loaded with fluffy, creamy (house-made) ricotta cheese with lightly spiced tomato sauce. It was like a mini homemade lasagna without the pasta with some sauce left over so we could wipe up our plates with bread.
I remembered from the last time I was at Strega that even though they don’t put it on the menu, you can order half portions of the pasta dishes, which is exactly what we did with the Risotto don Pietro and the Fettuccini Strega.
I started with the Fettuccini Strega. Plump, juicy diver scallops that were so tasty over a delicious creamy, rich sauce with perfectly made fettuccine.
We then swapped plates so we could try each other’s dish. The Risotto was a little different from the usual, creamy heavy risottos I have had in the past. It was fresher, a little more al dente and very appetizing – the mushrooms were meaty and the spinach added a lovely summer flavor to the dish. Just one thing… there was absolutely no chicken in the dish. We actually didn’t even notice until we had both finished and then realized it.
Half portions are absolutely the way to go for me. I could not imagine having a full portion of these pasta dishes as I would be eating it for the next three days. Also, sharing dishes is the way to go if you are on a bit of a budget. I love that we can do this more and more in the more high-end restaurants.
We sat at the bar a little longer catching up and people watching and just enjoying the scene of the late crowd night crowd coming in. As I am such a lightweight these days, I was back home for 10.00pm. Oh how my Saturday nights have changed.
A lovely evening.