Everyone I know that had ever been to Meetinghouse was sad when it closed. Their biscuits were the stuff of legends. Thankfully, we're not pining away too much, since 1701 Octavia now houses Quince.
You look at the menu and you're almost overwhelmed -- everything looks so interesting, delicious and super-fresh. I finally settled on:
Tagliatelle tre sughi -- house-made pasta cooked to perfection with three sauces: tomato, pea and chicken livers. The plate arrives with the tre sughi in separate mounds around the pasta -- you can either keep them separate or mix them all together. I've always found it interesting that certain people like to keep foods separate on their plate and others are mixers. I'm sure someone's done a psychology study on this, no?
Venetian-style cuttlefish in ink sauce with Mulino Marino white & yellow polenta -- Cuttlefish is a member of the same fish family that includes squid and octopus. The way it was prepared gave it an appearance and mouth-feel similar to portobello mushroom. The dish had terrific depth of flavor, and the combo of the fish with the slightly crunchy pieces of polenta was exquisite. Another interesting factoid about cuttlefish is that it has three hearts. Very apropos, since I was there tonight with two very dear friends!
Gianduja & espresso torta with hazelnut gelato -- I love hazelnut, and this was very good. But it paled in comparison to one of the other desserts at the table, the Dark chocolate pudding with tuile & bourbon chantilly.
Don't count on being able to order any of these things when you visit, though. This seems like the kind of place that bases their menu on the freshest things they can get on any given day. The atmosphere was lovely and the service gracious, albeit a bit slow -- it took over half an hour to get our first course. Luckily the rolls and breadsticks were good and plentiful. My only other gripes are that the room was quite cold, even though our table was the furthest one from the door, and they're not on Open Table (you must call for reservations, and they accept them up to one month in advance). But the food makes you forget all that. Also on the plus side, we had a celebrity sighting of Leonard Nimoy!
1701 Octavia Street (between Pine and Bush)