Bread Basket and Olive Oil
Arancini di Scamorza e Pomodoro – Fried Risotto and Scamorza Balls, Spicy Tomato Sauce
Passato di Carote – Roasted Carrot Hummus, Salsa Verde, Pickled Cipollini Onions
Spaghetti Carbonara con Riccio di Mare – Imported Spaghetti, Pancetta, Sea Urchin, Pepper, Parmesan
Gemelli – Extruded Pasta, Lobster Brown Butter Sauce, Morels
Margherita Pizza –Tomato, Basil, Mozzarella, Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Part two of an Oringer and Bissonnette afternoon, the tiny Italian Enoteca focused on Charcuterie, Pastas and Pizza opened in 2010, Coppa continued to show the two Chef’s skills as relates to creating a small plates experience worth going out of one’s way for.
Again located in the South End, parking during the afternoon a touch annoying as most roads are reserved for residents only throughout the day, Coppa goes about Italian cuisine in a vein similar to the way Toro approaches Spanish Tapas and with several ‘half-portions’ available at prices that are admittedly precious considering portions there is still no doubt of ingredient quality or craftsmanship as each plate is presented as it is readied with a great deal of finesses and attention to detail.
Offering bread similar to that at Toro, again forgettable although here served with good Olive Oil and well utilized in sopping up sauces, Coppa’s menu is divided into familiar sections and opting for five plates including two half-pastas and a pizza the amount of food was perfect for a duo at a price of just about $90 all-inclusive.
Beginning with three Arancini, the riceballs undersized at $9 for three without much ‘spice’ to the sauce, roasted carrot ‘hummus’ with salsa verde was an equally paltry portion considering the cost of $12 when compared to similar vegetable-based ideas at Yvonne’s, Oleana or Sarma, though the flavor was on-point with a smoky undertone and green salsa competing for top billing with housemade cocktail onions lending a vibrant pop.
Progressing to two pastas, both making up for their size with richness, quality and luxury ingredients, it would be hard to fault either the imported Spaghetti with Pancetta, Uni and oodles of Black Pepper or the handmade Gemelli with Lobster, Morels and Brown Butter as each was cooked to perfect texture as well as temperature with sauce that makes the aforementioned bread not just useful, but necessary.
Unfortunately not dining with a group large enough to justify two pies, the seasonal Softshell Crab and Bone Marrow Pizzas both well regarded, a simple Margherita showed the results of a team dedicated to its craft as the leavened crust presented a robust shell overlying wispy air pockets, the mozzarella not quite Bufala quality though the quality of crushed tomatoes and fresh basil do an admirable job in carrying the bulk of the taste.