a bit of restaurant exploration
Throughout Alex’s stay in Boston, he and I splurged on some good food. One of the first restaurants we visited was Mare, located at 135 Richmond Street. We were after good seafood without the touristy nonsense.
For my appetizer, I had grilled octopus. Octopus is one of my most favorite seafood delicacies. It overcooks easily, much like squid, scallops, or clams. Fortunately, this octopus was perfectly cooked. It was tender, delicate, and flavorful. No chewy, gummy toughness. No stale flavor. Perfect, melt-in-your-mouth tentacles.
It was served with a genovese pesto and potato mousse. The pesto tasted really good with the octopus, as did the potato mousse. I do not think I’ve ever had a potato mousse before, so that was interesting.
For my main course, I had truffle crusted tuna. It was seared rare, which I have come to quite like. I never used to like my cooked fish rare on the inside. For whatever reason, it freaked me out even though I really enjoy sushi. I’ve since gotten over that phobia. The crust on the tuna almost reminded me of popcorn. It had a peppery-salty crunch with a hint of…well, popcorn. It was served with wilted greens, grilled eggplant slices and a red baby pepper stuffed with a kalamata olive tapenade.
It was some of the most well-done seafood I have ever had and definitely recommend it for a special night out, or well, any night out.
Another place at which we dined was Eastern Standard located at 528 Commonwealth Avenue. We did both breakfast and dinner here (on separate days!). Unfortunately, I took no pictures of our dinner (even though it was very good). So, I will only discuss what I had for breakfast.
For breakfast, I had a caramelized onion and goat cheese tart. You already know how much I adore caramelized onions. What you may not know is how much I also love goat cheese. In September when the farmer’s markets were still in full swing, I frequently bought goat cheese from local sellers. So good. I love the richness of goat cheese, and it worked so WELL with the onions. The tart was served with some greens soaked in a lemon vinaigrette of some sort. While the dish was good, I wished I got the french toast instead.
One unfortunately rainy day, we planned to go to the Prudential Center. It ended up not happening because the sky deck was closed for a special function, though the fog was so intense it was probably for the best. We ended up grabbing dinner at a relatively cheap place on Newbury Street.
Cafeteria Boston, located at 279 Newbury St, was an interesting find. The chic decor was juxtaposed with a relatively unpretentious menu of (mostly) American comfort food staples. I say relatively because they make it a point to discern their use of organic greens and grass-fed animals. I’m not against either of these things, but I do find it annoying when it’s bragged about. Alex wanted a burger, and I’d say he got a BURGER. Topped with cheddar, “cafeteria sauce,” and a heaping mound of bleu cheese, this burger was too big to finish (yet so, so good. I had a bite, of course. You know, for purposes of the blog.)
I settled for a Cuban sandwich. It was good, but then again, just a sandwich.
I enjoy Cuban sandwiches quite a lot, and this one was okay. I’ve had better, and wasn’t completely impressed. Their fries were good, however. They were sprinkled with parmesan and parsley, which was a nice touch. On a whim, Cafeteria Boston is good. It’s affordable by Newbury Street’s standards, but there’s better cheap eats around.
One of our final stops was a huge splurge, but it was a combination birthday celebration. Alex turned 22 in March, and I turn 21 in May. So, we went to Troquet. This phenomenal eatery is located at 140 Boylston Street in the heart of the theatre district. This restaurant goes to great lengths to ensure its diners are satisfied – I don’t think I ever actually finished a glass of water before it was being filled. I don’t know if they made their own butter, but it was kept in these baskets from which they dug some out to put on your plate with a warm, crusty dinner roll. They give you one dinner roll at a time, and are always willing to refill your plate. I definitely ate way too many rolls before my actual meal, but it was totally worth it.
For my appetizer, I chose a duo of Hudson Valley foie gras. I have never had foie gras before, and clearly had no idea what I was missing. The foie gras was accompanied by caramelized Seckel pear and an heirloom cranberry chutney. On the far left is the pan seared foie gras (which I preferred, by far), and on the far right is the chilled foie gras. The chilled item was interesting. The texture didn’t agree with me at first, but after a few tastes, I began to enjoy it. It was very, very creamy.
For my entree, I had black sea bass served with rice and clams in a saffron broth. It was a riff on paella, which I’m particularly fond of. The crust on the bass was salty, crunchy, and delicate.
Clams are one of my favorite seafood dishes (seriously. favorite.), and these were quite good. The saffron broth tasted really good with the seafood and clams, as well.
The big finale was the dessert, needless to say.
I got a dark chocolate cake with peanut butter mousse and creme fraiche ice cream. The ice cream was absolutely delicious, but I’ve been sort of obsessed with creme fraiche lately so I’m biased.
The cake was dense, but not to a sickening point. The peanut butter mousse was sweet, but not in an artificial way. It was superb. It was divine. It was indulgence at its best. And embarrassingly, I couldn’t finish it all.
So, that was mostly it. I hope if you are in the area and are looking for a great place to go for a romantic date or whatever suits your fancy, these “reviews” help you out. Eating out (and indulging) is fun, particularly when you rarely –if ever– do.