After three visits, I would have to say Coppa is becoming one of my favorite restaurants in Boston. The food is nearly always phenomenal (I've had less than a handful of dishes that weren't my thing), and the service has always been great.
I love that you can go with a group (though not a very large one because the restaurant is quite small; I'd say three to six people is good) and share salumi served on a pig-shaped cutting board. (I actually registered for a pig-shaped cutting board to re-create this experience at home.)
On my most recent visit with four other dining companions (Jeff, a friend from work, her boyfriend, and a college friend who happened to be in town for the night), we went with the chef's choice and found ourselves nibbling on five different meats, including mortadella, prosciutto, and duck prosciutto, along with pickles and marinated mushrooms.
I also love that Coppa offers interesting stuzzichini, or Italian bar snacks, that are perfect for sharing. Can you tell I like sharing and sampling a lot? Our group opted to not only share bar snacks and salumi but antipasti and pasta as well. The dishes come out as they're ready so you don't typically have a pile-up of food at the table, but rather the food comes in rounds. I've also ordered in rounds before, adding on more dishes as the night goes on, which we did this time with pizza.
The wood-roasted meatballs with lardo and tomato gravy disappeared in no time. Meatballs are comfort food and everyone loved Coppa's take. The sauce is rich and a sprinkling of Parmesan lends just the right salty notes.
A cauliflower dish featured traditional white cauliflower, along with purple and green varieties, making the dish vibrant and interesting.
The stuffed artichokes may have just been my favorite dish of the whole evening and reminded me that I've been longing to try preparing artichokes this way at home.
My friend really wanted to try the tuna crudo, so we added on an order. The tuna was paired with thinly shaved radish, Sriracha, and sweet cicely (an anise-flavored herb). It was one of the lighter dishes we had, but it made up for its lack of heft in flavor.
We split two pastas among the table. The cavatelli di pollo features house-made pasta with chicken sausage and slow-cooked broccoli and is a definite crowd-pleaser. A pasta with braised lamb that I think was a special that day (or is no longer on the menu) was good overall, but we found it a little oversalted. In general, Coppa's house-made pastas are not to be missed. (The strozzapretti con pesto, which was trophie con pesto when I first had it, is my favorite pasta dish there, likely because it uses Piave, one of my favorite cheeses.)
Finding ourselves with a little space left to fill, we tacked a pizza I'm very familiar with on to our order: the salsiccia. It's a thin-crust pizza loaded with pork sausage, ricotta, fennel, tomato, and mozzarella. It does pack some heat, but the heat is balanced by the other components.
I couldn't talk anyone into the roasted pig's tail this time, but it's a must-try if you're feeling adventurous when you go.
As I said above, the food is nearly always phenomenal, and the restaurant is a great place to go with a small group, especially if everyone in that group is willing to share.
Do you like to share small plates when you go out?