Tuesday, January 29, 2019

BISq: Fried Chicken to Ricotta Cavatelli

BISq, located on Cambridge Street near Inman Square, is on my list of Top 50 Restaurants of 2018, and one of my resolutions this year is to dine there more frequently. Besides its delicious cuisine, it is owned and operated by some genuinely nice people, including Servio Garcia (co-owner and general manager) and Executive Chef Alex Sáenz. BISq is a small and homey restaurant, with the dining room up-front and a small bar to the back. There is also a Chef's dining counter in front of the kitchen.

I stopped by for dinner recently, and was pleased to see that the restaurant was packed, which is great especially considering it is winter and commonly a slow season for restaurants. As I walked down Cambridge Street, past a number of other restaurants, they didn't seem as busy. It's clear BISq has a good following, and it is worthy of that attention. If you haven't been to BISq, you really need to check it out. And if you already love BISq, maybe it is time for another visit.

BISq has an intriguing and well curated Wine List, with 15 wines available by the glass, generally as a Half (about $5.50-$7) or Full Glass (about $10-$13). Those wines, which are all European, can be broken down into 2 Sparkling, 2 Rosé, 4 White, 4 Red, 2 Sherry, and 1 Dessert Wine. These are not the usual suspects and wine lovers will found plenty of wine choices to tantalize their palate. In the near future, BISq will be adding Spirits to their drinks program, so you'll be able to find tasty cocktails too.

I began my dinner with a glass of the NV Mirco Mariotti "Set e Mez" Rosato (pictured above), a Sparkling wine, from the Emilia-Romagna region of Northern Italy, which is produced from the indigenous Fortana grape. This wine is made in the méthode ancestrale, with native yeasts, and only about 800 cases are produced. It was delicious, dry and complex, with pleasing red fruit flavors and a touch of earthiness. I selected this wine to pair with Fried Chicken, as bubbles is usually an excellent pairing for that dish. And it definitely worked as well as hoped.

Later in the meal, I opted for a glass of 2016 Winzer Krems "Sandgrube 13", an Austrian Zweigelt. It too was dry and delicious, with lots of bright cherry and strawberry notes, some minerality, and a fairly long and satisfying finish. I chose this wine to pair with a pasta dish, with a rich Bolognese sauce, and it too was an excellent pairing.

The Food Menu at BISq is primarily a collection of creative small plates intended for sharing. The menu lists 14 items, priced from $8-$22 although only one dish is priced over $20. You'll find items such as Acorn Squash, Black Bass Ceviche, Beef Heart Anticuchos, Black Eyed Pea Hummus and Maitake Mushrooms. With advance notice, they can also arrange Whole Animal Dinners, such as Suckling Pig, Lamb, Goat, Duck, Chicken or Fish.

One of their famous specialties is their Fried Chicken ($15) with Thai Bird Chili Salt. You receive four ample-sized pieces of boneless fried chicken, with your choice of dipping sauce, Buttermilk Ranch or Chipotle BBQ. I chose the Chipotle BBQ sauce, which had a pleasant tangy and slightly spicy taste. The fried chicken has a very crisp, crunchy and flavorful coating, covering the moist and tender chicken within. I can easily understand why this chicken is so beloved, and at this price, I think it is a very good value as well.

The Ricotta Cavatelli ($22), made with a veal bolognese, parmesan, and bread crumbs, was a stunner! The tender cavatelli was pillowy soft, but with a sufficient texture so its wasn't mushy, a very well-made pasta. The veal bolognese was meaty, flavorful and spiced well, an excellent base for the cavatelli, enhanced by the cheese and the crunchy texture of the bread crumbs. On a winter's evening, this is perfect comfort food, made to satisfy the belly and soul. It even looks beautiful, the type of dish that immediately draws your attention. Highly recommended!

BISq is consistently excellent, and my most recent experience was just further evidence of why it is one of my favorite restaurants. An intriguing wine list, delicious food and excellent service. So what are you waiting for? Make a reservation to dine at BISq!


Unknown said...

I have been dining at BISq for the past three years. It is my favorite restaurant in the neighborhood. People who work there are very food and wine knowledge and the general manager/ owner Servio Gracia does an amazing job hiring and training his staff. Everyone is pleasant and fun to deal with. I booked my 30th birthday party with them and they went above and beyond on food, drinks, flowers and decoration and service. I will definitely celebrate my next milestone there.

Bruce said...

Servio & Alex have always been consistent with quality & service. They hire the right group of people. Food is amazing, Alex is a fantastic chef, he changes the menu often to bring in different flavors from around the world. Try the new cocktails at the bar, They are delicious.
Good luck guys ! See you on Saturday. ����