Today, June 22, 2020, marks the next phase of re-opening here in Massachusetts, which includes restaurants hosting diners indoors. The meal you are about to read about took place in early March, but I wanted to wait to share all the details until it was possible for you to go to the restaurant and enjoy these same things yourself!
Let's go back to the start. In January of this year, I made a New Year's resolution to dine at Orfano. It's the newest addition to chef Tiffani Faison's Fenway empire and I had only heard good things.
One of my closest friend has worked in the restaurant industry here in Boston for about 10 years and she really appreciates a great dining out experience, so I asked if she want to come with me for this resolution adventure.
We arrived on a Wednesday evening. The restaurant was about half full, making it easier to spot the incredible decor choices. I loved absolutely everything from the flooring to the light fixtures. It feels like a classic steakhouse, but instead of attracting finance guys, it's home to female CEOs.
The art work echoes that vibe. This restaurant is a beacon for powerful women.
We were seated in a leather booth right next to Orfano's martini cart. Don't mind if I do!
Our server came over to introduce himself and talked us through the drink and food menus. He brought us some skinny breadsticks to nosh on while we were looking things over.
For beverages, my dinner date ordered the Pimm's Cup and I went with the Aperol Spritz.
The Pimm's Cup had a beautiful presentation, garnished with a fresh Marigold flower. I took one sip and was in heaven. The drink was super refreshing. You could easily have three!
Despite it's adorable glass bottle and festive striped straw, the Aperol Spritz tasted like cough syrup. I usually like this cocktail, but this rendition was disappointing.
When it came time to order appetizers, we really went for it - fresh mozzarella cheese, Nonna's garlic bread and the Caesar salad.
When the mozzarella was delivered to the table, the runner had a very ornate pair of scissors in her hand and she snipped the pouch of mozzarella right in front of us. It was swimming in a sea of olive oil. It tasted best when you spread a bit of the cheese and the oil right onto the garlic bread.
We need to talk about this bread. This is what garlic bread is supposed to taste like! Crunchy on the outside, buttery on the inside and packed with garlic flavor.
I also love that they serve it in a branded paper bag.
The Caesar salad, which is one of Orfano's signature dishes, is covered in a mountain of freshly grated parmesan cheese. It's little gem lettuce, garlic croutons and hidden beneath that is a black pepper-crusted avocado.
You can't see the avocado when the plate arrives to the table, but as you dig, it reveals itself.
For the main course, my friend selected the monkfish piccata. It had a strong miso flavor, which said, "Gave it nice depth." When I asked if she would order it again, she fired back, "Definitely!"
I wound up choosing a dish that was new to the menu, black pepper pasta with mushrooms. The pasta was homemade and you could taste it was made by a person who loves what they do.
Every bite of this dish was rich and creamy. It was my favorite thing I ate all night.
With the dinner plates cleared, it was time for dessert. Orfano has a fantastic menu of sweets including Limoncello cannolis, ricotta pie cheesecake and an item called "Royal Chocolate Cake for Two, Kween." Because my friend isn't a big chocolate person (I know!) we agreed to share something called the winter sundae.
The menu describes it as, "Black currant, Prosecco, chocolate, chocolate panko, Oreo panna cotta and double chocolate biscotti."
There were so many great components to this, but unfortunately, the first thing I tasted was the Prosecco gelato, which was way too strong and honestly, gross. The flavor was so overpowering it was hard to enjoy anything else with that taste still in your mouth.
After we'd had a few spoonfuls, our server popped back over to ask how we were liking it. We hesitated, but decided to share our honest opinion about the Prosecco gelato. He explained, "This sundae is modeled after the cocktail called the Kir Royale, which is Champagne and Chambord, a black raspberry liqueur." That's why it's so boozy. Mystery solved!
I will say, the Oreo panna cotta was awesome and tasted like frosting. The biscotti were yummy too and would have been great dunked in hot coffee.
Next time, I will go with someone who will share the chocolate cake with me.
At this point, I got up to use the ladies room. Our server said, "Be sure to check out the mirror." I was intrigued.
Every single bathroom at Orfano is named for a badass woman - Roxanne Gay, Lena Waite, Lady Gaga. Obviously I had to use the Gaga one.
And he wasn't kidding about the mirror! Look at this stunner.
The bathroom also had hand soap that smelled divine. Whoever made all these decisions, I salute you.
As we were getting ready to ask for the check, I was startled by a very familiar voice. A famous voice. I slowly turned my head and it was Kevin O'Leary, a.k.a. Mr. Wonderful from Shark Tank! I was completely stunned and I am positive my jaw was on the floor. The host seated him and his friends three booths behind us and I kept craning my neck to see if I could get a better look at him. I have zero chill.
We were still starstruck when our server brought over the check, accompanied by two pieces of rainbow cake. I liked these teeny squares way more than the sundae! I could have eaten several more.
There are so many additional things on the Orfano menu (dinner, dessert and drinks) that I am dying to try. I loved the atmosphere of the restaurant. It feels like a place you come with your best girlfriends to celebrate something momentous - a promotion, a new apartment, a move to a new city.
As of today, Orfano is open. They've added an outdoor patio to make socially distant dining easier. You can call (617)916-9600 to make a reservation. If you prefer to grab the food and eat at home, they're also offering takeout. Follow @orfano_boston on Instagram for real-time updates!