We love Italian cooking, but sometimes it can be too much—in our desire for comfort food, we end up with an overly heavy meal. Of course, when Italian is done right, you get all of the flavor with none of the heft. And that’s exactly what we found at a recent visit to Antique Table.
We liked everything about this neighborhood gem, from the quirky décor to the attentive service and reasonable prices, but it was the freshness of the ingredients and their preparation that really impressed us.
We began by dipping strips of foccacia into oil accented with pesto and red pepper flakes while sipping a citrusy pinot grigio, then moved into an antipasto with a nice mix of cured meats, olives, and fresh mozzarella ($11).
Our entrees were all outstanding, starting with a plate of tender gnocchi in a light, fresh, flavorful tomato and basil sauce ($14). The fettuccini puttanesca also featured a delicious sauce along with an abundance of olives and firm-to-the-bite pasta ($14).
Our third entrée was a special that night, pollo rotelo, a large portion of chicken accompanied by asparagus, sundried tomatoes, and portobello mushrooms ($15). It was served in a cream sauce that looked heavy but wasn’t, and we loved that the same sauce was used for the pasta that came on the side.
For dessert, we splurged on a chocolate soufflé and a slice of turtle cheesecake. The soufflé had a wonderful texture and complex chocolate flavor. The cheesecake was truly sinful, with a buttery crust, not-too-sweet creamy filling, and a layer of gooey chocolate.
Our waitress was friendly and efficient, and she managed not to rush us despite a wait for tables (there are only about 15). With food this good at these prices, it’s no surprise the place is packed. If you’re looking for a quieter meal, you might try a weeknight, and although the Web site specifies reservations for parties of four or more, we were not only allowed to make a reservation for three on Saturday night but greeted quite graciously.
2 Essex Street, Lynn