ruthless compassion (aroraborealis) wrote,
ruthless compassion

The long overdue Restaurant Week review

During Restaurant Week, which was a couple of weeks ago, now, I got to two new-to-me places and two been-there-onces. I'll review in order:

Sunday night, I went to Sandrine's with bbbsg and chillguru. I went to Sandrine's for my company holiday party and loved it, so I was pleased to be going back. Not unexpectedly, the RW dinner was not quite as sublime as ordering off the regular menu, but, then, it had been agreed at the holiday dinner that I had scored the best meal with the rack of lamb, so that would have been a tall order to match. I started with the mushroom soup, which may have been my favorite part of the meal. I love mushrooms, and the soup was mushroomy and creamy, with surprisingly crunchy croutons contrasting with the smoother texture of the soup. Delicious. For my entree, I had duck with cherry sauce, over a spring vegetable risotto. The risotto was fine, but the duck was excellent, and I didn't really have room for the risotto, anyway. And dessert was a milk chocolate creme brulee with white chocolate mousse on top. Yum! I like chocolate, but I'm a chocolate wimp, so this was perfect: a taste of chocolate, but not at all bitter or overwhelming. So tasty! I'll definitely keep Sandrine's on my list of good, solid choices for tasty food.

Tuesday afternoon, I met omegabeth at Harvest, where I had lunch last summer with kjc during the summer restaurant week. Last summer, I was underwhelmed, as I recall, and this time, the entree was also unremarkable: breaded pork chop. But the starter, another mushroom soup, was fantastic, this time with thyme and, if I'm remembering correctly, creme freche (sp?), so that, of course, made me happy. And the dessert was a delicious banana pudding with perfectly toasted walnuts on top. Yum! Along with the pork chop, though, came truffle macaroni and cheese. Now, I'm not normally a mac and cheese person; it just doesn't usually sing to me, but this one was fantastic -- leaps and bounds better than the pork -- which goes to show that I can like a mac and cheese if it's done right. Obviously, I should explore this more, though I'm not sure how far I'll get, since I'm unlikely to feel inspired without external influence on this topic.

Wednesday, I met up with mzkero at Mantra, which is quite an impressive space, but was, unfortunately, the dud of the week, as far as food goes. Fortunately, the company was good. We started with a tomato soup, which was remarkable only in its unremarkableness. For my main course, I had the steak, for which they didn't ask how I wanted it done (which, unfortunately, I didn't notice until after they'd left the table) and was presented to me extremely well done, chewy and not particularly flavorful. That was a big disappointment. Dessert was kulfi ice cream, which was fine, but not outstanding. In addition to lackluster food, the service was pretty awful. Now, I know lots of these restaurants use restaurant week to train up new servers, and I'm totally fine with that. I know that a bargain prix fixe menu is not the time when I'm going to get the absolute most top-notch service, but, really, when I'm served soup as a starter, I expect spoons to be provided without our having to request them. Fortunately, with the ice cream, they noticed that we were lacking spoons before we could ask, but just barely. On the bright side, the decor was striking, and the naan was tasty. But I'm surprised they're still considered a restaurant worth spending gobs of money at.

Finally, on Thursday, moominmolly and I met at Aquitaine in the South End. This was a bit of a shot in the dark as choices go, since our first choice, The Blue Room, wasn't open for lunch. Nevertheless, we and little moominbabytante ventured into the wilds of Boston to check it out. This was the big, exciting discovery of the week. The food was excellent, and the atmosphere was just right. The starter salad could have used a bit more goat cheese, but, then, it's goat cheese, so, duh. I had steak and frites, and the steak was everything the steak at Mantra wasn't: tender, flavorful and delicious. The frites were also very tasty -- just the right amount of salt (which might mean that others would find them excessively salty). For dessert, they served us the wrong thing: they'd listed chocolate mousse, but what we got was, rather, a moussed mocha pudding. As a mousse, it was a failure, but once we had renamed it, it was delicious. We weren't sure who we should tell about the naming problem, though, especially since they probably don't love getting nitpicky corrections from the cheapskates who only come in during restaurant week. I'd happily go back here, though, and they have what looks like an excellent brunch, so any time someone wants to go into Boston for some fancy food, feel free to hit me up. And one of these days, I'll organize a brunch outing here.
Tags: food

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