good review of Metro
- Peter Moskos
I was a bit apprehensive after reading mostly negative reviews of Metro here. But, having worked in new restaurants, I also believe it's worth waiting a month or two to let a place get its kinks worked out. Granted, if their doors are open and they charge full price, all complaints are justified. But it doesnt make much sense to damn an establishment too early.
I went on a rainy Sunday night after Thanksgiving. The place wasnt busy. I also agree with others that it is easy to imagine the place too loud on a busy night; there are few soft surfaces to be seen anyway. But I thought the décor was beautiful. There is some incredible tile work. It's a class act. Granted, the place looks new and could perhaps benefit from a few years of wear and tear. But thats better than a place striving for a fake old look from day one. I also think the décor should be a bit darker (perhaps to compensate for the fact that nicotine-stained walls will never develop), and the lights a bit brighter.
Others have commented on the tables. They are a little tight for the feet, but there is a real plus side: those are the most stable tables I have ever seen in a restaurant! Its nice to have a table that can support a lot of weight and not wobble or lean. I like them.
On to the important issue: food. We had a salad, oysters, and lamb. Thats not a lot to judge the kitchen on, but everything was excellent. That salad of mixed greens was fresh and well balanced. I liked the light citrus is the dressing. Pine nuts and goat cheese went very well with it.
I had a variety of oysters, and it was nice to compare the differences. I dont know oysters that well, so I enjoyed tasting the subtle nuances. I got one of each of four they had that night. $1.75 each seems quite reasonable. It would have been nice to know which was which on my plate. Still, at some level I didnt really care. I was happy to slurp them all. And the vinegar sauce served with the oysters was delicious enough just to dip bread in (both breads--light and dark--were excellent).
The lamb was really outstanding. Slow cooked and very tender. Not at all mushy. A nice blend of spices brought out the natural meatiness of the lamb, but wasnt overpowering. That excellent sauce was partially soaked up by a small amount of cous-cous served on the plate. Delicious. Any good dish is worth commenting about, but I always feel lamb deserves special attention because its still somewhat rare as too many people still consider it an exotic meat.
We didnt eat desert, but enjoyed two of their fruit brandies. The plumb brandy (something I associate with cheap booze and bad hangovers) was outstanding. The raspberry brandy had only the slightest hint of raspberry. I wouldnt have known it was raspberry if I wasnt told. But that may be for the better, as who wants perfumy brandy anyway?
They also have Leffe beer on tap. Which is truly one of the worlds great beers. Not at all easy to find draft.
Service was both friendly and professional. No problems there.
Overall, the prices seem par for the course. Personally, I cant afford going too often, but if you can, it seems like the ideal warm spot to become a regular. And even I can feel like I'm splurging if I sit at the long bar and down an appetizer with a cool Leffe or two.
I did not have the same pleasurable experience. Sure, the decor is cute (albeit somewhat ruined by the big mall window overlooking the alley), but the "cozy" booths are way too small for anyone over 5 feet tall. I was extremely uncomfortable. And I found the food to be mediocre at best. I started out with a salmon sausage which was small, unadorned, and not very flavorful. I then had the pot-au-feu, which I felt was overpriced and, again, totally lacking in flavor. The wine list is good (it's about time someone in Boston put together an all-French list, and this one happily also includes varietal names so those who instantly recoil from French wines can still order something they like), but the stemware is totally inappropriate for the high-priced wines, and the waitstaff is shockingly ignorant about the wines. Even apart from the bad wine experience (the waiter brought 3 incorrect wines before finally bringing the one I had ordered), I was unimpressed by the service.
I believe in second chances, so I will check it out again (and order the lamb this time), but my expectations are not very high.