Thursday, July 10, 2008

Stella's Not Stellar Yet

The perfect summer evening. The perfect dinner companions. It ends there. Peter called as I was leaving work and wanted to know if I wanted to have dinner. It was the perfect night to dine outside, so I thought, "let's go to Stella's!" I had never been and always wanted to eat there. Its upscale Italian. Fun yellow awnings adorn the large windows with lots of patio seating. Peter called an got a reservation. Oh Peter, he always knows how to get a reservation. He just made a call. Unfortunately, the outdoor seating is on a first come, first serve basis and is not subject to the reservations holding us a table indoors. On a whim, we agreed to eat inside. In retrospect, this was a mistake, even if we did have to wait a little while for a table. The restaurant was uncomfortably hot and there was hardly any moving air. The waitress, finally realizing how uncomfortable we were, apologized at the end of the meal, explaining that their AC wasn't working so well. It appears that Stella's is THE hot-spot for pregnant women. I counted at least 3.... Who knows how many other women in the place were knocked-up. The entire middle of the restaurant was occupied by a large table of women gathered for a baby shower (equipped with large cake made out of diapers). Who has a baby shower on a Thursday night at 6:30?

The Food 

Warm, stuffy rooms do not promote appetites. That isn't science, that's experience. I guess tough times has fallen upon Stella's as they only provided us with one small piece of bread (Peter and Bryan had been before and noted they used to provide an entire bread basket). P & B insisted we get this fried risotto ball (arancini) for an appetizer. Unfortunately, only 2 of these balls came in an order (again, Peter and Bryan recalled 3 being previously provided) so we had to split them in awkward portions (aka I took one whole ball and P & B fought over the remaining one). I had swordfish for dinner. Jean and I had been talking about it at lunch, so when I saw it on the menu it caught my eye. The piece of fish was very small. And I don't think I've ever said this, but the potato was the best part of the dish. Bryan ordered a pasta dish which was too hot for me to try and Peter ordered pork which made him want to puke (literally). The pork looked more like veal and was pretty much flavorless (I had to try it).

To drink, I had a Sam Adams Summer Ale...hoping it would transport me back to the summer nights I spent outside at AriBar on Boston Harbor. Unfortunately (I seem to be typing that word a lot), the thoughts of enjoyable summer evenings lasted only for a fleeting moment, because then the music began. Halfway through the meal someone decided to turn on unbelievably loud music. It was so loud and inappropriate that almost everyone in the restaurant looked up when they turned it on. It was strange trumpet music and it was so brassy and harsh that it was hard to hear P & B who were sitting very close by.

The highlight of the meal was a near Andrew Keenan Bolger sighting. We decided, however, that the person we saw was far too tall to really be AKB....but this possibility certainly provided a needed excitement to a rather otherwise disappointing meal.

About the reviewer: Adam is editor of Adam's Blog, a unique look at decorating, food, culture, and other random occurrences. Join Adam for the premiere of his second blog season on August 8th (8.8.08).

For another view, check out Boston Chomps.

Stella on Urbanspoon


  1. As Adam said in the parallel posting on his blog, "To be fair, the food was good." I concur.

    I did enjoy my pasta: Orecchiette with spicy Italian sausage.

    ...and of course the Arancini are AMAZING! I'd honestly go to Stella just for those.

  2. So it looks like Boston Chomps agrees with me more than with Adam. I have always enjoyed the food at Stella, but I must say that our last visit wasn't as (to continue the pun) *stellar* as it is normally.

    Check out what Boston Chomps has to say:

  3. ...and I need to get a better camera!