Best Bets: Fried Artichoke Hearts

Fried artichoke hearts at Boscos Squared.

Photo by Michael Donahue // Buy this photo

Fried artichoke hearts at Boscos Squared.

I associate fried artichoke hearts with Sunday lunches listening to Joyce Cobb sing at Boscos Squared in Overton Square.

That’s because the first time I ever ate fried artichokes was at Boscos on a Sunday while listening to Joyce Cobb.

Fried artichoke hearts at Boscos Squared.

Photo by Michael Donahue

Fried artichoke hearts at Boscos Squared.

After I ordered a plate of the tantalizingly good artichoke hearts and the creamy dip, bartender Shane McCrea said, “They’re very good and very legendary.”

Out-of-towners come to Boscos just for the artichokes, McCrea said.

I asked assistant manager Kat Russell why people like them so much. “Because they’re fried,” she said with a smile. And, she said, “the mixture of spices” they use. “It’s just enough.”

Kitchen manager Louis Pambianchi said he and Boscos came up with the fried artichokes back when Boscos was in Germantown. Everybody has fried mushrooms, he said. “We wanted to do something different. And, as you very well know, it was different.”

He wouldn’t tell me what’s in the coating, but it’s “not even a batter,” he said. “They’re lightly tossed. That’s what keeps it from being heavy.”

The fried artichokes are dusted with parmesan cheese and parsley.

Pambianchi did say the dip has garlic and buttermilk in it, but that’s all he said. I had just eaten a big lunch, but once I began eating the fried artichoke hearts, I couldn’t stop.

“We use canned or jar artichokes,” said Boscos owner Jerry Feinstone. “They’re already pretty soft when we bread and fry them.”

There are no coarse artichoke leaves to put up with, so they’re easy to eat, he said. “All that’s trimmed down to the heart.”

Boscos opened in Germantown 18 years ago. Boscos Squared recently celebrated its 10th birthday.

Amy LaVere is filling in for Joyce Cobb, who is on vacation, but listening to LaVere while eating fried artichoke hearts is equally sublime.

Boscos Squared is at 2120 Madison; 432 2222.

— Michael Donahue: 529-2797; donahue@commercialappeal.com

© 2010 Go Memphis. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Comments » 3

mather writes:

There is a restaurant between Salinas and Monterey in CA which serves nothing but artichokes, including fried ones.

ENTnurse writes:

Marlo's Down Under in Covington has fried artichoke hearts too. There is where I heard of them for the first time and they tasted great, could not stop eating them!

genesis06 writes:

in response to mather:

There is a restaurant between Salinas and Monterey in CA which serves nothing but artichokes, including fried ones.

The Giant Artichoke in Castroville, CA. Best place for very affordable and delicious artichokes. Miss it :(

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