Sunday, April 27, 2014

Bostonia Public House

          This week I tried the recently opened Bostonia Public House in the financial district, in the old Kitty O'Shea's  location. I went in with the bf on  a Thursday night and the place was packed; it definitely seemed like a popular after work hangout. Between the crowds and live music we almost left because of the noise, but I'd checked out the menu in advance online and there were a few dishes I really wanted to try. 

          We started with a couple of appetizers - the lump crab cocktail with shaved fennel, grapefruit, and citron hollandaise and the tater tot poutine.The crab cocktail was a great combination of flavors; I've seen scallops and grapefruit plenty of times but never crab. The two worked really well together. The tater tots were a creative interpretation of poutine, which seems to be a growing trend in Boston. My favorite was the bottom layer where the potatoes started to fall apart and had a hash brown like consistency. 


          We each ordered the lobster roll, and agreed the lobster salad didn't even need the bun. I loved the yuzu cream, avocado, and bacon crumbs in place of traditional mayo. The fries that came on the side were also excellent, they were seasoned with both salt and pepper which gave them a hint of spice.

          For dessert we shared an order of berkshire bourbon glazed sweet potato doughnuts. These were warm and soft with a slightly gooey center - definitely a toss up with the lobster roll for my favorite dish.

          I really enjoyed the food at Bostonia Public House, and appreciated the creative interpretation of comfort classics. The noise was a bit too much for me, so if I went back I'd try to find a time when it's less busy. 

Bostonia Public House on Urbanspoon

Saturday, April 26, 2014


          I recently had the chance to try Orta restaurant in Pembroke with a group of other bloggers and food writers. I don't often make it down to the south shore, but Orta was definitely worth the trip!
          Orta Ristorante is named for the Lago d’Orta, a glacial lake in the Alp-strewn region of Piedmont, Italy where Chef-Owner Brett Williams trained in tiny trattorie, tasted his first truffles, and proposed to his wife and partner Cara. The location in Pembroke, just a few miles off the highway is the halfway point for Bostonians headed south to Cape Cod. The space is beautiful with an open kitchen and pizza oven, and a warm cozy feel to the dining room.
          We started with several apps to share including:

Orta Arancini / fresh mozzarella / spicy tomato sauce / parsley
Beef Carpaccio / capers / lemon aioli / parmigiano reggiano / petit croutons / baby greens
P.E.I Mussels / leeks / smoked bacon / roasted garlic thyme butter / grilled focaccia
Yellowfin Tuna Tartare / soy ginger reduction / sesame / wasabi aioli / chive cracker
         All of these were excellent but the mussels were my favorite. I loved the flavor of the broth and smoked bacon.

          Next were a few different kinds of pizza; I tried the duck and sausage. Depsite the large entrée I had coming, I couldn't help but eat a second piece of the duck! The sweetness of the cranberry and balsamic paired perfectly with the duck.

Duck Confit Pizza / aged cheddar / dried cranberries / baby arugula / balsamic
Sausage Pizza with / banana peppers / grilled onions / fresh mozzarella
          Surprisingly, everyone at the table ordered a different entrée. Everyone enjoyed their dish and they all looked amazing, but I was definitely happy with my choice: the braised short ribs with gorgonzola mashed.

Braised Veal Meatloaf / crimini mushrooms / onion / creamy whipped potato
Seared Berkshire Pork Chop ‘Milanese’ / lemon / caper / potato puree / asparagus
Braised Beef Short Rib / gorgonzola whipped potato / aromatic red wine sauce / crisp potato
All Natural Grass Fed Sirloin / gorgonzola butter / au gratin potatoes / crispy leeks

          We shared some desserts, and I was only able to take a bite of each. My favorite was definitely the warm pecan pie with caramel and vanilla gelato. 
Mini Black Bottom Cheesecakes / assorted berries / chocolate drizzle
Warm Pecan Pie / caramel / shortbread crust / vanilla gelato
          I enjoyed my meal at Orta and would definitely go back. It's a short drive from Boston (about 30 minutes) and worth the trip to get out of the city and try someplace new.
Orta Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Uni Sashimi Bar

          The bf and I recently tried the tasting menu at Uni Sashimi Bar. There are a couple of options including 10 courses for $115, 12 for $135, and optional supplements including A5 Wagyu (+$50) and caviar (varies). We went for the larger tasting menu with the A5 supplement plus and additional course (we HAD to try the Japanese fried chicken).

Tomato water martini with caper berry and a frozen tomato lollipop
Hama Hama oyster, green almond, cava foam
Smoked Uni Spoon (Sea Urchin, Maine) Quail Egg Yolk,Osetra Caviar, Chives

Snapper cucumber, jalepenos, ginger, blood orange poured over the top to make ceviche
Striped Japanese jack with black sesame and citrus
Razer clam marcona almond romesco sauce
Lubina (Bass, Spain) Green Charmoula (like a chimichurri), Sultanas, Preserved Lemon Gremolata
Ankimo (Monkfish Liver, Japan) Mezcal Ponzu, Wakame Croquant, Momiji Oroshi 
Tako (Octopus, Japan) Hot Sesame Oil, Soy, Ginger, cilantro
Clam two ways, korean fried belly, sashimi with cucumber
Spicy Tuna & Foie Gras Tataki (Yellowfin, Pacific) Buddha’s Hand, Goat Cheese, Black Walnut
Barbequed Unagi (Fresh Water Eel, Japan) Seasoned Rice, Sesame, Pickled Gobo
(Japanese Fried Chicken) Kim Chee, Chinese Hot Mustard, Sancho Pepper
A5 Japanese Wagyu Sirloin (Miyazaki, Japan) Lichen, Broccoli, Sukiyaki (Supplement)
Flourless chocolate cake

          Each dish was flawless in terms of flavor combinations and presentation. My favorites were the oyster, uni spoon, and of course the A5 (literally the best steak in the world). I also really enjoyed the creativity of the monkfish liver creme brulee. 

          Service was impeccable, and we especially appreciated the wine director's recommended pairings. We went and bought a bottle of the same Malvasia a couple of days later!

Uni on Urbanspoon

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Brunch at Mistral

          Mistral is one of my favorite places for brunch in Boston, and has been consistently for years. Since I go fairly often (and have been for so long) I hadn't thought to take pictures or blog about it until recently. 

          The space is bright and sunny, and the booths include comfy benches and cushions - perfect for a relaxing Sunday brunch. Once you're seated, someone comes by in a matter of minutes to deliver coffee, water, and one of these:

Warm apple cinnamon muffin with butter and apple butter
          The muffins have been one of my favorite things about Mistral since I've started going, and as far as I can tell they've never changed. The pastry selection however does change, but generally includes homemade sticky buns and some type of doughnut (my favorites were always the Boston Creme, which I haven't seen on the menu the last couple of times I've been, but I'm hoping they make a reappearance!)

          I've tried several of the dishes on the menu, but haven't ordered something new since discovering my favorite - the crab omelet. I order this with egg whites, and still can't finish the lightened up version because it's so big! I love pairing this with a glass of Veuve Clicquot, which is indulgent but totally worth it!

Jumbo lump crab omelet with chive, tomato, and Vermont butter
          My bf loves the eggs benedict which always come out perfectly cooked, with an amazing hollandaise. 

          All breakfast entrees come with lyonnaise potatoes, but they'll always substitute something healthy like fresh berries. I enjoy either, depending on how good I'm trying to be.

          But no matter how healthy I'm trying to be, I can never resist sharing a side of bacon. Mistral's is always perfectly crisp, and like the entrees a large portion.

          I love trying new places and have been to tons of great brunch spots over the years. I've never returned to any place as many times as I have to Mistral.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Zume's in Charlestown

          Although I haven't taken any pictures, I wanted to give a quick shout out to one of my new favorite local (to my office in Charlestown) spots. Zume's is a coffee shop located on Main Street in Charlestown with a great atmosphere and tons of healthy food and drink options (and some delicious but not so healthy options!) 
          The coffee menu includes the standards you see at most coffee shops: a variety of brews, espresso drinks, flavored syrups, etc. Some of the things they do differently that I love are the creative combinations like honey almond coffee, and that they offer almond milk in addition to soy as a non-dairy alternative.
          Breakfast is served until noon every day including breakfast sandwiches, lox, bakery items, fruit, and granola. The non-breakfast baked goods like the GIANT cookies and fresh made biscuits are also amazing. Lunch options include salads and sandwiches, but my favorite are the smoothies (especially the health nut with almond milk, hemp seed, banana, and spinach).
         If you're in the neighborhood, Zume's is definitely worth checking out for the coffee or a quick meal or snack!

Zume's Coffee House on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 14, 2014

Row 34

          After much anticipation, I finally made it into Row 34 this weekend! It was everything I hoped it would be. The place was packed shortly after opening at 5PM, but the level of service was above and beyond from the moment we sat down. The manager stopped by our table to greet us while we were still looking over the menu. At our request she went through the entire list of the day's oyster selections including a detailed description of each varietal. She was clearly knowledgeable about the wine, so we asked for the geekiest bottle on the list. She recommended an orange wine (yay, my current obsession), and we were off to an amazing start!

          We tried three kinds of oysters, Island Creek, Moonstone (RI) and third I can't remember but they were described as the most briny on the menu. These came served with a traditional mignonette, house mignonette with cilantro and jalapenos, and cocktail sauce with horse radish. I loved the house mignonette, it was perfect with the oysters and didn't over power the delicate flavor at all.

          We also tried two of the crudo selections, fluke with jalapenos, lime, and pickled peppers and tuna with avocado, black garlic, and lemon. These were my favorite (other than dessert)

          The smoked seafood board was a perfect way to try most of the dishes on the smoked menu. It included: trout pate, smoked scallops, shrimp, and mussel salad. The pate spread over crostini was my favorite. We skipped the other accompaniments and enjoyed the simpler, clean flavors of the seafood on its own.

          Row 34 has two lobster rolls on the menu, and the manager told us a bit of an internal debate over which is the best. I tried the hot buttered version and the bf tried the more traditional creamy version (with mayo and crème fraiche). We both enjoyed ours and came no to closer to helping them solve the debate!

          Before we ordered desserts, the in house beer expert came over with a pairing for us. Since we were so into wine, she wanted us to experience a beer that would pair really well with any of the three desserts on the menu. The foret noir was like a cherry infused stout, and went perfectly with the candy bar.

          The candy far my favorite, and one of the best desserts in Boston. If you don't eat seafood, I would still suggested going to Row 34 for this dish alone! It's their interpretation of a snickers with layers of homemade chocolate, nougat, and caramel topped with peanut brittle. We cleaned our plate in about two seconds.

          I would definitely go back to Row for a full multi course meal, or to just sit at the bar and have some oysters and wine. And of course the candy bar!

Row 34 on Urbanspoon