After a brief hiatus, longtime Filter Square pizzeria Mama Palma’s reopened as an upgraded version of its former glory.
Now a sleek, sophisticated restaurant with a new name to match, Palma’s Cucina still features the neighborhood’s beloved wood-fired pies in its cozy corner locale — in addition to equally well-executed Italian dishes.
Much to the relief of locals, the former pizzeria’s famed polenta flatbread ($12) is still on offer. Topped with roasted corn and sweet peppers, it defines warm, rustic comfort.
The roasted oysters ($16), plump, buttery and dusted with breadcrumbs, are another perfect starter.
Among the stellar entrées, the lobster cannelloni ($27) wowed with a generous helping of lobster meat, delicate herbed ricotta and perfectly seasoned sauce.
The eggplant rollatini ($18), crafted with thin slices of the meaty vegetable that gave it a noodle-like consistency, was equally delectable.
One of the fish specials the evening we visited was branzino (market price). The definition of simple elegance, the fish was delicate and cooked to perfection with lemon juice and olive oil. Fire-roasted broccoli rabe and Brussels sprouts rounded out the dish in fine fashion.
Desserts at Palma’s Cucina are nothing short of heavenly.
The pear tartlet ($9) is an Italian take on apple pie a la mode, served warm with a large, creamy dollop of mascarpone.
Even better was the limoncello tartufo ($9), an irresistible treat for a summer evening. The smooth, rich ball of vanilla ice cream has a chilly core of citrusy liqueur and is dusted with bright and meringue sprinkles.
Named, in both incarnations, for the chef-owner’s mother, the delightful Palma’s proves that reinvention isn’t always driven by necessity — but it sure is tasty.