Tuesday, January 8, 2008

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Thinking of Romance

So tonight I get to spend the night all by myself because my husband has to work overnight. I decided to indulge in a few of my favorite things: I took a nap with my dog, made myself dinner using Nutella, and spent some time with my favorite spy, James Bond (Sean Connery, of course!). Despite this night of self-indulgence I can't get over how much I miss my husband. It's nights like this that I think about wanting to spend a romantic night together and when I think of romance I immediately think of the time we went to Grotto.

We went to Grotto last spring and this restaurant is the epitomy of romance. But before I get there, let me tell you about the mission we went on to get there. I remember passing by it on one of our city walks and it being kind of close to the Government Center MBTA (or T) stop so we get off at that stop and get lost. Not just a little lost, but a lot lost. We ended up running to the Park Street T stop because I definitely know how to get to Grotto from there. Luckily enough we had left the house pretty early that night and still made it on time for our reservation. Now this is a restaurant you definitely have to keep your eyes out for. It's on Bowdoin Street which is right next to the State House. It's sign is pretty well displayed but the restaurant is basement level. Anyway, we get to the restaurant and it is small! It's probably the size of our apartment and if you have been to our apartment or know anything about Boston real estate, then you know how small small is. The restaurant itself has a very rustic feel to it (I love the brick walls) and there is very little lighting (be prepared to pull the table's candle close to your menu). They have this one painting that I couldn't stop staring at because I could have sworn it was Salma Hayek; the painting is actually on their homepage so tell me what you think. They do cram in quite a few tables in the dining area, but if you can, request the table that is located right under the stair case. It's in a corner all to itself and you get a pretty good view of their wine selection and bottles. Surprisingly enough, despite all the people that were there, the noise in the restaurant was low. I think the dim lighting and romantic feeling got everyone in the mood to whisper sweet nothings to each other :)

Now to the good stuff....the food. One thing I really like about this restaurant is that they have seasonal menus and they have a prex-fixe menu year-round. When we went we had the Fontina cheese fondue which was out of this world. The cheese was perfect and it was so creamy; it wasn't as strong as say a blue cheese, but it was still extremely flavorful. It was served with the most tender steak tips and hearty mushrooms. I took advantage and also dipped our bread in the cheese. For the entree, I had the cavatelle pasta. The ricotta cheese in this pasta was a perfect complement to the pancetta. They do serve a lot of pasta so be prepared to have leftovers. Alex (my husband) had one of the seasonal items which was a filet mignon wrapped in prosciutto with roasted potatoes. The steak was cooked medium just how he likes it and he said it was one of the best steaks he has ever had. For dessert we shared the "melting chocolate cake" (lava/molten cake in some circles) and it was so rich. They serve it with vanilla ice cream which makes the dessert so heavenly. Sharing the chocolate at the end of the night definitely made the night more romantic.

Thanks to their prix-fixe menu you feel like you are getting a lot of bang for the buck. I did the prix-fixe menu while Alex ordered an entree at regular price. This worked out for us because I like to share (isn't my husband lucky??) and I definitely wouldn't have been able to eat all three courses by myself. The service was great and the waitress who helped us was extremely attentive. The whole experience was great and surprising. We weren't in search of a romantic night, just a good meal. We got lucky enough to get both.

If you have the time (and energy) I definitely recommend finishing the night off with a nice stroll through Boston Common, the Public Garden, or Beacon Hill.

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