- Joanie Nov 19, 2001 07:52 AM
Even tho my brother thought it might be too "fabulous" for us, he took me to Mantra for what may be my last b-day dinner (sigh). It was a lot of fun. I always like people watching and this certainly provides plenty of that. The room is impressive, huge place since it used to be a bank. You walk in and there are red couches straight ahead and a big bar on the right, a main dining room with some tables set off to the left by a mesh curtain and a function room in the back that was open. And there's that silly hookah room stuck in the middle plus a bar downstairs. Anyway, the food wasn't quite as good as the scene but it started great with a venison amuse bouche (did I spell that right?) and a little samosa. The venison was great as was my brother's scallop appetizer. My crabcake, more like crab cylinder, was pretty good with interesting spices as befitting a French/Indian cuisine. I got sea bass w/ rock shrimp and they were kind enough to throw on a potato cake when I asked for rice or some starch. They served snow peas with it, but they were these tiny squares of cut up snow peas that hardly counted. I hate paying >$30 and you don't get both a starch and veggie. My brother got tuna and we split a trio of choc. desserts (sorbet, choc. orange mouse and a little tarte). They bring sorbet before the main course and tiny candies at the end of the meal. The service was excellent, the waitress was very sweet. They explain everything that's on the plate. Apps. were $12 and $14, dessert was expensive. I don't think they had a green salad on the menu.
Now about those bathrooms. You've probably read about the ice cubes in the men's room urinals which I can't comment on and forgot to ask my brother about. But those one way mirros in the stalls of the ladies rooms are freaky. You can watch what everyone's doing while they primp before they go back out to the floorshow, they check themselves in the mirror while you're sitting there. Very odd and unnecessary. The girls were spraying their hair, sharing lipstick, fixing their snakeskin pants, etc. Very amusing. Coincidentally, there was an article in the Globe the next day about dress codes at the Ladder District places and they made it sound like Mantra was super strict, but we saw quite a few jeans in there. Even a couple of schleppy jeans, but I wouldn't wear them. Stopped at the Jer-nee bar for a drink (the restaurant got slammed in the Tab this week) and that place was jumping. I guess those streets are the new hot spot these days.
Just to put my 2 cents in, I really enjoyed my meal at Mantra. Granted, I went when it just opened, so the servers were still trying really hard and it was not crowded. I had a steamed sea bass, that I thought had great flavor. I like food that doesn't have too many sauces over them, just the ingredients used in a purer form...I liked the asian/indian flavors. I forget what aromatics were used to steam it, but I enjoyed it. Overall, I thought the food was great and the portions were adequate. Yes, prices high, but I felt that they proved for an appropriate value...