You don’t have to go through the hassle of parking in the North End to get great Italian food. La Morra, located at 48 Boylston St. in Brookline, has been serving up authentic Northern Italian cuisine for almost a decade, and their popularity and name continue to grow.
Owned by husband and wife, Josh and Jen Ziskin, La Morra got its name from the town in the Piedmont region of Italy where Josh Ziskin trained to be a chef. The couple also lived in Piedmont for six months after they were married.
The rustic and warm two-story restaurant offers a full bar, upwards of 140 unique Italian wines by the bottle and 15 wines by the glass. La Morra also has quite a few different menus in addition to their prezzo fisso, a fixed price menu which at $35 for four courses is quite a steal.
A great way to start off any meal at La Morra is with their delicious Cicchetti menu (small Italian bites) along with one of their refreshing specialty cocktails. Some cicchettis to try include their Tuscan meatballs (made with prosciutto, porcini and parmesan), the aranchini (fried risotto balls stuffed with braised beef and smoked mozzarella) and the fried stuffed olives (tempura battered and stuffed with sundried tomatoes).
The a la carte dinner menu at La Morra is divided into three sections typical of an Italian restaurant: antipasti, primi and secondi. The squid salad under antipasti is a light and delicious starter consisting of marinated poached quid, oven dried peppers, cannellini beans and a fresh herb salad with homemade garlic croutons ($10.50).
Another interesting salad to try is the tortino, which is more like a hybrid salad/appetizer. Half the plate consists of fresh arugula dressed in lemon and olive oil and then topped with shaved Parmesan. The other half is the tortino which is similar to a leek and prosciutto quiche that is cooked on top of homemade pizza dough ($10).
Under the primi section of the menu you will find all f La Morra’s delicious homemade pastas which come in either full or half size. With the new fall menu comes the sage cavatelli an in-house made pasta similar to gnocchi and done in a fabulously creamy squash sauce and then topped with toasted pumpkin seeds ($11/20). The rabbit and polenta lasagna is also a bold choice and comes with shaved mushrooms and a thyme gremolata-arguably one of the most delectable dishes I tried ($12/24).
Under secondi you will find all of the entrees with the house specialty being the succulent herb-crusted veal. The veal is always a staple on the menu but its preparation and sides change with the season. This fall the veal is topped with a sweet apple mostarda and served with polenta and a side of roasted pumpkin cooked with chili flake, sage, butter and canola oil ($24).
La Morra also serves up a delicious skate wing dish, a sweet ocean flavored fish similar in taste to scallops. The skate is wood grilled on the bone and comes with Swiss chard braised with olives, anchovies, tomatoes and leeks and also comes with a root vegetable gratin ($19).
Of course you must save room for dessert. Some options include the ever-popular hazelnut torta (a brown butter cake with hazelnut crisps and chocolate mousse), the ginger panna cotta and the apple crocante (a creamy dessert topped with homemade apple butter and oat crumble).
According to Chef Ziskin, La Morra’s continually growing popularity can be attributed three things: “creativity, consistency and authenticity… our goal is to have everyone leave happy.” La Morra is open Monday to Thursday 5:30-10pm, Friday 5:30-10:30pm, Saturday 5-10:30pm and Sunda