One of the best parts of relocating to a new city is getting to try all the restaurants! Since moving to Watertown in August I have been having a blast checking out as many new spots as can.
This week I ventured to a local Italian place called Porcini's. Porcini's is right off Arsenal Street at the corner of School Street. Some of you may know this corner for the restaurant across the street, Strip T's.
Porcini's has a big awning out front over their brick building. The entrance to the restaurant was glowing from their holiday lights.
I pulled open the front door and directly in front of me was their Christmas tree! I love holiday flair.
When you first walk into Porcini's you are in the bar area. The bar has about 10 seats.
The dining room is dimly light and very cozy. You feel like you're sitting in someone's home.
We sat on the far wall in a very quiet corner.
The Porcini's menu is huge and absolutely every single item sounds delicious. They go way beyond the usual Italian margheritas and parmesans.
We started our meal with a delicious bottle of Montepulciano red wine.
Our waitress also brought us the house made bread (which was warm!) and the house made sun dried tomato and chickpea dip. She told, "I've been working here 10 years and every night I tell myself I am not going to eat the bread and then I eat four pieces." She was right, it was excellent!
To start we ordered the baked eggplant rollatini. I normally don't like this dish because the eggplant is cut too thickly, but this version was spot on. The eggplant was sliced thinly, breaded, rolled, topped with mozzarella cheese and served over a bed of spinach and a sea of marinara sauce. I could have used a bit more mozzarella, but overall, very tasty.
For dinner my friend ordered the mussels. This is actually an appetizer, but they offered to make it into an entree for her by putting it over a bed of linguini.
It was a very generous portion of mussels and she said, "The sauce isn't white wine, it's actually mustard. It's different and I really love the flavor."
I went with the wheat linguini served with mozzarella cheese, butternut squash, peas and diced tomatoes. I would never have thought to put squash in this dish, but it really worked!
The pasta was yummy, there were a ton of veggies mixed in and of course, I love me some mozzarella balls!
Now, we weren't sure if Porcini's even had dessert, but our waitress asked, "Would you like to see the dessert? I'll bring over the tray." Both of us perked up and answered, "There is a tray?"
Sure enough, 30 seconds later she came back with a tray of six dessert options. Everything from traditional Italian tiramisu and canolis to key lime pie.
My friend, who loves key lime pie, could not resist and placed her order for that. I am normally not a fruit dessert person. In fact, I despise it. Let me tell you, the Porcini's key lime pie converted me.
The pie filling was so light with just the right hint of citrus. It was topped with toasted coconut and served with a side of freshly whipped cream. It was heaven!
Not surprise, I chose the chocolate cake. This mountain of a piece is two layers of dense, fudgey cake sandwiching a layer of white chocolate mousse. My cake also came with freshly whipped cream.
Even with my friend's help, we only made it halfway through this slice. Our waitress insisted I take the other half home, which I did happily.
I would come back to Porcini's just for the dessert! Our chatty waitress informed us of another big reason to keep coming back: they have a secret outdoor patio. The Porcini's patio cannot be seen from the street and only has about 10 tables. She told us not to tell anyone so we'd be sure to always get a seat. Whoops.
She also told us that the chef, Rodney, is completely self taught. He used to work at Uno's and now he butchers all his own meat, prepares all his own fish, makes all his own sauces and grows all his own herbs for the dishes he dreams up at Porcini's. Pretty impressive.
I have been to one other Italian restaurant in Watertown called Grappa. It's right next to the Target at the Watertown Mall. Grappa also has a great waitress who has worked there forever, a cozy dining room, fresh ingredients and an outdoor patio, but what it does not have is those killer desserts.
Visit Porcini's at 68 School Street in Watertown. Tell Cheryl I sent you.