Mantra - new restaurant in Boston
My husband and I went to Mantra (Temple Pl., off Tremont Street, near the Commons) after reading a review of the restaurant in Phoenix magazine.
Let me start by saying this: my experience with "trendy" looking restaurants is that they try too hard to LOOK hip and end up sacrificing on the quality of the food.
Mantra, I'm glad to report, does not seem to fall in that category. If you're looking for a hip restaurant that also delivers great food, this may be the place. They have a "degustation menu" that looked to be a great deal ($$$-wise), but we settled on the a la carte menu instead. We started with the curry soup and the anise-crusted pan seared scallops. Before those were brought, the waiter surprised us with a taste of lamb samosa on one plate and crab & honeydew melon roll on another plate to start. They then laid out 3 different spreads (yoghurt dip, apple and ginger chutney and sweet butter spread) and presented us with 4 bread options (naan, rosemary & garlic foccacia, fig & nut wheat bread and french roll) - delicious!
By the time our appetizers arrived, we were already half full! The scallops were heavenly, although I didn't taste as much of the "anise crust" as I had hoped. The curry soup was light and flavorful. To be honest, the soup was probably my least favorite dish of the evening, but I'm interested to hear what others may think of it...
Before the main course was brought to our table, there was a round of palate-cleansing pear sorbet -- it was fabulous -- the pear taste in the sorbet was surprisingly strong, yet refreshing and pleasing. I had the pan seared sea bass, served with fava beans, rock shrimp and a curry reduction -- I nearly licked the plate clean! My husband chose two more appetizers as his main course -- both of which were delicious.
We didn't have time to taste their desserts, but I would recommend giving Mantra a try on payday. The prices are quite hefty ($30+ for an entree), but the food, service and ambience are worth it!
Let me know what you think, fellow Chowhounds!
There was a little discussion about Mantra further down (I hope I got the link right). I've been a few more times since then and everything has remained consistent and delicious. The last time I tried a couple of items off the bar menu - their shitake samosas, and smoked trout in a flour crepe. Both were wonderful. Beware - the sweet/spicy housemade nuts served at the bar are ADDICTIVE.
Regarding the desserts - I'm not a big dessert eater but I love the ones at Mantra; I read somewhere that the pastry chef is from the Four Seasons in Houston. The only time I've had dessert there is the sampler plate from the 'degustation menu'. I think there were four and I loved them all, although the chocolate dessert was my favorite (and I don't even like chocolate!)