Next time you are in the North End, do yourself a favor - walk past the cheesy patios and flower baskets, walk past the cheesy murals of Rome, and sleek bars, even walk past the "good" restaurants whose chefs are so famous that they pack the diners like sardines, and go to the North Street Grill. Michael Scelfo serves some unbelievably delicious and creative food in this remodeled neighborhood bar and grill.
The tuna tartar with seaweed salad and crispy potato chips was addictive. Potato chips added some crunch reminding me of spicy tuna rolls made with tempura crumbs. Mac 'n cheese was a fun dish with bacon, apples, fennel, and sage (sage particularly was a nice accent), but something was off for me. It's hard to put your finger on it. Maybe a tad underseasoned? Still good, but not really worth the calories.
After this good start, and chowhounds' raves about North Street's fries, we had high expectations, but nothing could prepare us for what was to come. Their rib eye with fries is the most heavenly meat and potatoes dish I've had in a very long time. The rib eye was marinated with rosemary and garlic, done perfectly medium-rare, and oh so tender and juicy. And the fries! Oh, how can I give them justice in words? They were not as thin as Sel de la Terre's, but not as thick as the ubiquitous pre-frozen fries you get in restaurants. Perfectly seasoned and well browned, but not over fried. It was like eating the essence of potatoes and rosemary. A little green bean and fennel salad wrapped in prosciutto was a nice accompaniment. To top it all off, this dish was only $20. At most places, you can't find this quality of steak and fries for $30.
Our other entree was seared striped bass with farro, fava beans and asparagus. Striped bass was crisp and moist, but unfortunately it was a thin tail end, which didn't do the dish justice. The sides were lovely though. Farro was cooked like risotto and topped with nicely grilled asparagus. At $19 -- really quite excellent. But next time, I am getting the steak :)