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.
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; firstname.lastname@example.org