Local star chefs Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette have teamed up again to bring the same snout-to-tail ethos they worked so well at KO Prime to a new little spot in the South End, and it’s a winner. On a recent Monday evening, I went in with some friends to check it out. Seating is first come, first serve (i.e., no reservations accepted), but they were happy to take my cell number and let us wander the neighborhood, as the small bar inside Coppa was already packed.
After a 45-minute wait happily passed at a bar across the street, were seated in the front window with a great view of the neighborhood goings-on and, despite being right near the door, we never got a cold blast. First up was a bottle of San Jacopo Chianti ($35) from the small but respectable and reasonably priced wine list. There’s also a very interesting-looking classic cocktail list that I look forward to exploring next time.
The dishes are all small plate, so we opted to start with three charcuterie plates. The eponymous coppa ($7) is made right in-house, and was sweet and tender with great marbling, and the prosciutto di parma ($7) was also well executed. To spice things up in the first round, we also got a pig’s ear terrine ($5) that was soft and smoky, and very flavorful.
For the next course, four of the heartier plates were on tap. First, the bucatini all’amatraciana ($12) is a great wide-noodled pasta dish with tender bits of pancetta and some spice from cherry peppers. The pesce al mattone ($11) is a brick-cooked whitefish filet with pistachio and capers. This was the only miss of the night—it came a little dry— but was salvageable with the accompanying lemon sauce. The house ravioli ($12) are filled with calves’ brains and served with a sweet brown butter sauce. Never having tried brains before, I didn’t know what to expect, but it was tender and light, and worked perfectly in the dish. Finally the Blue Ribbon pizza ($15) was superb, with finely chopped braised oxtail covering the perfectly thin crust, matched with horseradish and bone marrow in addition to the tomato and mozzarella. Truly a dish I could eat every day.
Take my advice and get yourself down to Coppa at your soonest opportunity—get there early and arrive hungry.