Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Review: Porcini

I know what you're thinking – oh, great, another Italian BYOB review. That's what I'm thinking too. Porcini has been around for quite some time; six years, at the very least, because that's the last time Lauren and I visited it. But now that we're within walking distance and with Lauren's visiting friend Sara offering to take us out, we gave it another go.

Claustrophobes might be advised to stay away, because Porcini is almost as small as its namesake mushroom, and the tables are pretty close together. Aside from a large party of eight-plus, it wasn't too crowded, though, so noise wasn't an issue.

We started with a trio of bruschetta, one topped with the traditional tomato and basil, one with white beans, and one with pesto. Tasty and a fine way to start the meal, but nowhere near a bargain at over $6. Sara had one of the specials, a salad of arugula, pears and blue cheese, which was about what you would expect.

All three of us went for pasta dishes, which make up the bulk of Porcini's menu. I had the linguine rustica, a simple dish of linguine tossed in a pancetta-studded pecorino cream sauce. The sauce achieved my holy grail of Creaminess Without Glopiness, and the smokey, crisp pancetta was a great addition, but the pasta was a little oversauced.

Lauren had the fra diavolo, which was a well-executed version of the shrimp and tomato classic. Sara had the homemade porcini ravioli, full of earthy mushroomy flavor.

Portions are sensibly sized, not huge, which may disappoint some given the $15-18 price range of the pastas, but quality over quantity, that's what I always say.

As for dessert, well, Capo Giro is half a block away, so we were unable to resist its magnetic pull.

Porcini may be "just another Italian BYO", but its quaintly cramped and homey interior plus solid execution on pasta classics makes a worthwhile addition to your rotation.

Porcini on Urbanspoon


applecrumbles said...

Don't you just love doing restaurant review. Such fun. So..where is Porcini? I see the address but not the city and state?

Lauren said...

Porcini is in Philadelphia, PA