Inside Strega Waterfront — Photo courtesy of Strega Waterfront
Strega Waterfront's dimly lit interior - complemented by dark woods, rich deep colors and heavy fabrics - may be "his" favorite place before you even order. In owner Nick Verano's style, you'll find the feel of his upscale Italian eatery as masculine as his North End location, only on a larger scale. While their rave-worthy food ensures "she" loves it, too.
The waitstaff at Strega Waterfront adds to the ambiance; everyone working the floor will be sure to stop by to say hello. They are just as old-world Italian boy's club as you can get. Welcoming guests with their boisterous Goodfellas-esque voices, hearty pats on the back and genuine caring, the waitstaff is attentive. You'll find your waiter articulate in menu offerings of both food and drink, and happy to make suggestions.
Portions are hearty, and those with smaller appetites can easily make a meal of the appetizers paired with a salad. But then you'd be missing out on the main course offerings that are so decadent and rich with flavor that you may want to share your starter.
Scallop appetizer — Photo courtesy of Strega Waterfront
Menu highlights include a selection of irresistible appetizers like the shrimp arribiatta, a fra diabolo-style shrimp served in a small cast iron skillet with just enough heat in the red sauce to tantalize your taste buds. You'll have plenty of sauce left for dipping their crisp-crisp-on-the-outside, airy-on-the-inside Italian bread once you've finished the shrimp.
Once you move on to the main course, you may struggle to make a decision, as the menu is stocked with northern Italian specialties that all sound like they belong on your table.
Regulars will eagerly tell you about their menu favorites, including the moist, tender Strega filet mignon, which is served crowned with crabmeat, portobellos and asparagus and topped with a rich peppercorn sauce. One bite is all you need to know why this special preparation of surf 'n' turf is ordered quite often.
If you're looking for a lighter meal, dive into a plate of the seared sea bass. This filet is crisp and clean with light ocean accents and served with fluffy yucca gnocchi and cooked-until-bursting cherry tomatoes in a white wine sauce. The fresh flavors of this dish shine through and invite you to clean your plate.
If you have room, order dessert. The tiramisu consists of layers of airy cake and a not-too-sweet mascarpone with a rich coffee flavor that can stand up against those made in the best Italian bakeries in Boston's North End. Pair it with a rich espresso, cappuccino or after-dinner cocktail, and you have the ideal culmination to your Strega Waterfront experience.
Surf 'n' turf special — Photo courtesy of Strega Waterfront