I love going out to eat – inspiration from new flavor combinations, a relaxing evening, and (let’s be honest) sometimes it’s so nice to not cook. As you know, I’ve kept a tight budget over the last few years, so I limit how often I go out, but if I could a few times/week, I would!
Over the summer I attended the Susan G. Komen Chefs for the Cure event where guest chef Jose Duarte gave a cooking demonstration. He made paiche, a delicious Amazonian fish, and my boyfriend and I were hooked – we were, someday, going to Chef Duarte’s Peruvian and Southern Italian restaurant in the North End called Taranta.
So, last week, my boyfriend surprised me with dinner for our anniversary – at Taranta! It was one of those meals when everything from start to end was made with care, the playful combination of ingredients made the meal fun, and the Friday night atmosphere was the perfect way to kick off the weekend.
There were a few by-the-glass wine offerings (most were bottles), so I ordered the Pinot Grigio, which is light, enjoyable, and was a good pick for my seafood-centric meal.
We started with the ceviche (above), one of the specials. It’s a bright way to begin the meal – fresh fish, pungent lemon and onions, and subtle cilantro and corn. The plate is topped with a sweet potato chip.
My boyfriend ordered the Costoleta di Maiale con Canna di Zucchero e Rocoto, which is a brined double cut pork chop with a sugar cane and rocoto pepper glaze. The pork is served yucca piatella and a sauté of giant Peruvian corn, spinach and caramelized onions. I think the picture illustrates how impressive this dish is and I enjoyed the yucca quite a bit.
My meal was the Salmone in Crosta di Macadamia – macadamia crusted Atlantic salmon fillet over a herbed risotto cake, Peruvian Asparagus and a Pisco-Sicilian Blood orange sauce. This entree is the ideal fit for me: many unique flavors to explore on their own, but together they complement one another. The salmon was a bit overcooked, but everything else was right on.
For dessert we had coffee and tiramisu – the perfect way to end our night. The tiramisu is incredibly rich and moist without being soggy. We split the dessert, which was a good idea after our very filling meal. I expected the tiramisu to be delicious, but what surprised me was the coffee – it was bold, silky, and served with a tiny pitcher of frothed milk. Delicious and relaxing.
I highly recommend Taranta. Chef Duarte has a focused and creative menu of items to chose from, the fusion of Peruvian and Italian cuisines is seamless, and Taranta’s efforts to use sustainable, humanely-treated, and organic ingredients when possible makes me love this restaurant even more.
Taranta, 210 Hanover Street, Boston, MA