Last night, my uncles treated my sister, cousin and me to a wonderful holiday meal, because he will not be able to share Christmas with us this year. We went to Coda on Columbus Ave in the South End Neighborhood of Boston. The meal that we collectively devoured was one of the best I have experienced in a long while. From the appetizers to the main course to the after dinner spirits, everyone was glowing with satisfaction.
We arrived at this cozy little restaurant in the South End and were seated in a corner booth by the window that was intimate but still allowed us to be a part of the greater restaurant environment and feel the overlying energy (important because we are social diners). The menu was overwhelming at first because there were so many delicious choices available.
We ordered the sweet and spicy citrus calamari and the charcuterie with pickled veggies for our appetizers. The calamari was perfectly cooked (not rubbery and tough) and wasn't greasy or heavily fried. I felt it was closer to a nice sauté. It was served in a sweet and spicy citrus sauce with a citrus aioli, but I don't even think it needed the aioli. It was a very creative take on traditional calamari. The charcuterie contained and assortment of cured meats (prosciutto, a ghost chili infused cured pork, and rendered duck fat spread) with spicy mustard, pickles, pickled carrots and onions, and some crostinis. The charcuterie was divine.
I had an extremely difficult time choosing my entree as there were many amazing sounding choices including: herb-crusted haddock with Quinoa and kale and a squash puree, a fisherman's stew and a chickpea stew with fried eggs. I ended up deciding on the braised lamb shank with mashed sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts.
Let me just say that my knife was unnecessary...
The perfectly cooked and seasoned lamb fell off the bone and melted in my mouth with every bite, and the sweet potatoes and sprouts provided a perfect contrast in flavor and texture. It was a meal that I wished would never end. The portion size was perfect. There were a lot of sweet potatoes and sprouts to supplement about 4-5 oz. of meat (not including the large bone). It was not overly-filling and settled nicely. With dinner we enjoyed a beautiful Qupe Syrah that paired perfectly with the lamb. My uncle and cousin ordered the smoked pork chop served with pork belly, creamy grits, and spaghetti squash. I tried a bite and it tasted out of this world, the fat perfectly blending with the pork, cooked "pre-war" style as my uncle pointed out.
Finally, we finished off with a couple of 12-year scotches, Glenlivet for my uncle and Glenfiddich for me, Prosecco for my sister, and genuine good conversation. The experience was everything I could have asked for, and I will definitely be back. I would recommend Coda to any foodie or civilian alike.