I went to my last Restaurant Week dinner on Friday night with friends at Rocca in the South End. I arrived wicked early and ended up spending plenty of time in the bar, where my roommate and I spent about an hour discussing how there were too many shades of gold going on in the decor. The drinks, however, were much better than the clashing golds - the Scandalo al Sole is like a margarita with the sharp bite of ginger beer, and the Vino Francesca is a rose wine infused with sage, lemon, and honey, which all blend together to form a very unique flavor.
What grabbed me about the Rocca RW menu online was the farinata appetizer. I love farinata (and the similar socca), crispy pancakes made with chickpea flour that are popular in southern France and all of Italy, especially in Liguria (Rocca is focused on Ligurian cuisine). This version was delicious - thicker than I expected, but crispy on both sides and slightly creamy in the middle. And while I'm not a big mushroom fan, the mushrooms incorporated into the batter were tender and flavorful. The farinata was paired with spicy arugula tossed in a bright and lemony vinaigrette for a very well-rounded taste. Yum!
For my main meal, I really wanted beef, so the options were hanger steak or short ribs. Since I had also been craving tender and slow-cooked meat, I had to go with the ribs. They were just what I wanted - rich and tender and meaty and delicious. The dish was served with polenta, brussel sprouts, and a horseradish gremolata. The polenta was perfect - creamy with butter and just a bit of cheese. The gremolata was tasty, but there wasn't much horseradish flavor there. The brussel sprouts were a big loss for the dish; they were undercooked and rather forgettable. Overall, though, the dish was very satisfying and filling (and warm, perfect for a night with 50+ mph winds).
As with the rest of the menu, dessert included some unique and fresh ingredients that sounded delicious. I opted for the pine nut custard tart with fresh figs. The tart was very good, especially the custard. It was served with whip cream that I thought must have included some egg whites; it was too stiff to have been only cream. I really enjoyed the tart, but it was very rich - I could have used a smaller slice.
As a note, I've read a lot of complaints about the temperature of food in the second floor dining room after its trip from the basement kitchen. I had no issue with this and was quite happy with the temperature of my dishes.
Overall, the food at Rocca was very good. I would gladly go again, especially to try the handmade pasta. It is, unfortunately, very out of the way for me, but the free parking at the restaurant is a big help (so at least I can go with friends with cars).