Tuesday, a rainy and unlikely night for Mashuguna shenanigans found me at Angelo’s Taverna. Located on 6th Ave and Washinton angelo’s presents a front that is unlikely to supply a good time. Outdated signs and a slightly dirty appearance would have hidden this experience from me as just another part of 6th Avenue’s scenery had I not been stopped on my way to one of my favorite Wash Park haunts. As we cruised down 6th Ave with thoughts of LaLa’s (a great little pizzeria on Logan) my partner in crime for the evening stopped me and exclaimed “Hey! Angelo’s, I liked that place once” as if describing a questionable and yet satisfying one night stand from long ago. Having only chosen LaLa’s as a result of lacking inspiration I asked if it was worth checking out.
The parking lot, although designated for Angelo’s, was full but we were able to find ample street parking close by, thus beginning and oyster experience that would leave me feeling as though I had simultaneously attended church and a pagan virgin sacrifice. As we entered the tavern we side stepped the hostess and grabbed the only two open seats at the bar. The plan was to shoot a few oysters, have a drink or two and get some pasta to go. A combination of the charm of my partner in crime and the charm of Angelo’s kept me firmly panted in my bar stool for the better part of the evening and my sobriety.
We were promptly greeted by a server who asked if we would like a drink. Having only one selection for bubbles by the glass I didn’t even bother listening as our server told us what it was. We simply ordered two. As I sipped my bubbles, served in a wine glass rather than a flute, something that I find distinctly preferable (huge points), I let the atmosphere sink in. Dark, dusty, loud and vibrantly energetic Angelo’s gave off the sense of a church basement coupled with a pool hall and a small Italian osteria. Perfecto!
A sampling of oysters arrived on the half shell. Served classically and simply. Including kumomoto’s (one of my favorites), the oysters were accompanied by mignonette, cocktail sauce, lemon and horseradish in a simple tin dish of ice. The oysters were fresh, briny and tantalizing. Exactly the way an oyster should be. My only complain is that the shucker (who stood right in front of us) had his head phones in the entire time while trying to talk to us, a small pet peeve of mine.
Next arrived a round of grilled oysters! Served in shell and hot, the oysters were cooked with gorgonzola, bacon and pesto. They’re are few first times still allowed to a Mashuguna such as myself. This however was one. Although I adore oysters from here to the moon an back I am a purist. I have never had a grilled oyster. This was sublime! It was also served with a large slice of garlic bread with which, like little children, we were delighted to run through the inside of our empty oyster shells soaking up every last bit of greasy goodness.
Grilled oysters were followed by caesar salad. Burnt croutons and lousy caesar dressing made this hardly worth mentioning much less writing about. The next dish, our entree, however was exactly what it was suppose to be. Squash Ravioli with bacon and brown butter was not life altering but was completely apropos. Swimming in a greasy brown butter bacon sauce they were rustically house made and delicious. Although it would have been greatly improved by a splash of pasta water, stock or another alternative to cut the fat, the sauce perfectly fit the atmosphere and situation.
Our oyster adventure was complete in a classic Mashuguna style by two rounds of liquid dessert. The first of which was oyster shooters. Mine was a shot of raw house oyster, jalepeno infused tequila and lime. Spicey and alcoholic as all heck it was perfect. My partner went with a sweeter option. Graham cracker stout, vanilla vodka and house oyster. BRAVO! Our evening was capped by an unexpected and unordered round. In a splendid show of hospitality our server brought us a round of fantastic house made lemon cello.
A fantastic evening, Angelo’s provided exactly what it promised, the good and the bad. Although not a place for fine meals of well balanced Italian food Angelo’s was delightfully satisfying. Like a questionable lover the Taverna seemed to satisfy in a home fashion and yet foreign way. Balancing well made sustenance with the pleasures of greasy sin it was the perfect choice for a rainy Tuesday night.