This time we had to try an Italian place that we had been ”warned” about: we had heard things such as ”oh, that is such an expensive place” and ”oh, it is not worth the price that it is…” – and what did we do?  We couldn’t refrain from trying it out and find out the veracity of those critiques all by ourselves! We are talking about IL BOCCALINI on De L’Èglise, in Ville Saint-Laurent. We simply had to test it ourselves…

And, you know what? We shouldn’t have bothered.

With our Portuguese mindset, we were convinced BOCCALINI refered to the mouth: but if it were a Portuguese joint, it would translate as Os Bocais – not As Bocas!  (Podia ter sido pior: podia ter sido Boçal!) Literally: boccalini would be all about… hoses then?  Say it isn’t so, Italianos…! (Admittedly, it cannot be: it must be referring to the jars in which spices are contained – something like that!)

Thus, we half-expected something akin to DANS LA BOUCHE (another resto place we’ll focus on soon enough here…!) or a cross between that and a fine ristorante…!

IL BOCCALINI‘s owner (Fabio) and original Maitre D (and co-owner; Aldo) are somewhat legendary now: the restaurant does double as a conference site for its loyal clientele and catering service too – since circa 1988, no less.

On their menu: pasta (of course) pizza (of course) and… VEAL.

This resto is most definitely some sort of cosa nostra indeed – not in the organized Sicilian complete-with Omertà sense, but in the sense that it is a family-business; with all its charms and pratfalls.  It was a tad alarming to learn that the chef was the Papa – not even the Mama…  Sort of reminded me of my uncle Giuseppe…!  But we caught a glimpse of him heading out of the kitchen to greet a quatuor of regular customers from his age group, and he seemed alert and in a good disposition on that night – so all fears of finding things over or undercooked dissipated immediately.  Even better, we could stay in the restaurant at ease, too, as we no longer expected the kitchen to burn down incessantly. The staff didn’t seem predominantly Italiano though; which seemed a tad odd.  Every single one of them could wish you buon appetito at a drop of a hat though…

When the entrée arrived, we saw the Italiano stratagem very clearly for all it’s worth: the so-called bowl for the soup is as flat as it can be, so one gets less soup! The antipasto was an ordeal to go through; only nice surprise was the slices of melon hiding underneath – nice touch!  One could swear that they actually count the capers disposed in the rectangular plate… When one is done with such an entrée, the bread on the table is so very appreciated.

The main dish was sort of the same deal: we had been enough good sports to trust what the waiter had told us, and so we went all fishy there (well, it was a Friday evening!) with the results being quite fishy indeed…  The catch of the day seemed well-cooked and just fine: but why a side-dish of spinach resting on top of two measly slices of potatoes?  Me, I had the misfortune of falling for the sound of ”stuffed calamari with pasta and parmagiani” – it sounds good, does it not?  Well, I am still unable to identify the nature of the two infinitesimal foreign objects found in my first piece of stuffed calmar; although it looked like two very short toothpicks placed there in order to aid the stuffing process… The waiter could have warned us of their possible presence!  Let’s just say that it is a good thing I do not simply bite into my food without care…!   I took out these two thingies and left them on the little plate for inquiry, but the busboy took away the incriminating evidence before I had a chance to broach the subject with waiter-man there; or to even snap a picture!  Too bad…

Come to think of it, I was equally unsure about the nature of the very stuffing there: it tasted like something form the sea, but it was fishy for other reasons, too – alas.  And the pasta accompanying it wasn’t anything to write home about either – or even blog about, here, really…

Coffee, tea and desserts were somewhat better: but how hard is it to make coffee or tea, really?  An Italian place has to be apt to make the best cappuccinos or espressos anyway – it’s a pre-requisite!  We’ll give to Caesare what rightfully goes to Caesare though: that Tiramisu was something else! In fact, it was exceptional, due to the fact that it was different, too: it was all cake, all the way to its base, which is normally some slightly crispy fixture that holds the entire thing together! For this, we must say… Bravo… Bravissimo – for putting back the *all-cake* texture into the Tiramisu (when it was really never there) … !

If only the entire dinner had been so skillfully handled…!