October 8, 2006
Finally, for my boyfriend's birthday, I decided it was time to stop putting things off. Taranta had been featured recently on the show "Phantom Gourmet" (local to Boston), and that triggered enough renewed interest with us to make it our restaurant of choice.
Walking in the front door of the Restaurant on the end of Hanover Street, I was pleasantly surprised to see the owner, Jose Duarte, manning the door--- greeting customers warmly as if it were his main job at the busy restaurant. As soon as he seated us, he bustled off to bus some tables and oversee the kitchen. I had seen Jose's profile on the "Phantom Gourmet" episode, but I didn't expect the kind of service (most restaurant owners in the North End are neither seen nor heard).
Jose designed the menu at Taranta to be a blend of both his Italian and Peruvian ties. He uses ingredients unique to Peruvian cooking and his family's recipes to spice up his Italian-based cuisine. The results are phenomenal.
I had the Pasta Pomodoro Della Nonna- a wonderful homemade papparadelle (a fat ribbon pasta) with a sauce that was just amazing. The sauce had so much spice and flavor- it beat all the other everyday Italian sauces I have tried over the years in the North End. The homemade pasta had a great flavor and texture- I don't know what unusual was in this recipe, but its taste and texture with the sauce were perfect.
My boyfriend had the pan-seared tuna; he loved it judging by his cleaned plate (an unusual thing for him with such a large portion). I then offered him a taste of the left over pasta dish on my plate, and he proceeded to devour what I had left of that. Jose's recipes are just that good...
Taranta is quite expensive- on average $30-$40 per entrée which is about $10 higher than the rest of the neighborhood it's in. But I assure you the extra price is well worth it. The service was impeccable, the food fabulous, and we didn't have to wait in a line of tourists to get in. I would definitely return to try some more of the extensive menu.
Go to www.tarantarist.com to make reservations.
From journal Boston: Adventures in the North End