Truc, South End, Boston (long)
Restaurants often impress with showy glitter, lusty sensuousness or hearty satisfaction. But Truc did something rare for me; it soothed. At the end of the meal, I left with a glowing sense of calm contentment, a state of mind colored like the pastel blues of the small, charming and tranquil dining room.
Every dish I tasted was elemental and finessed. I doubt that others would like this place as much as I, but this kitchen here cooks to my level. Dishes are often elevated by a single clever touch, precisely applied. This is artful and interesting cooking, without being fussy or aggressively luxurious.
The gazpacho appetizer epitomizes this philosophy. It's a straightforward dish with a few key ingredients. But after a spoonful of the refreshing chilled tomato gazpacho, I was lost for the next few moments in tomato and firm juicy crabmeat, the whole affair bound and elevated by smoky hints of jalapenos. That's what happens when the natural intricacies of the ingredients sing for themselves.
The tasteful craftsmanship is also seen in the pork terrine. It was expertly made, with no sign of any graininess. The clincher was the presence of sweet soft golden raisins punctuated the pork, a superb sweet/salt combination.
With the lamb entree, I asked for rare but it came closer to medium rare. Nevertheless the tender lamb and the perfect cous cous (where each grain was individually articulated) disarmed me entirely. I loved the sharp sweet bits of vegetable that were blended nicely in the cous cous for an easy and natural interplay of textures and flavors.
Sweetness from peaches and a wine dark sauce were used to bring out deliciousness in the pork tenderloin. The chubby crusty bits of spaetzle were also particularly addictive.
A fine trio of lemon desserts (sorbet, shortbread meringue pie) ended the meal with a light but lasting gladness. The meringue, fluffy like a cloud, made me float out the door.
Good restaurants dazzle, amaze or seduce. But once in a while, I come across a place lets me taste contentment. Truc feels like such a place, and I'm likely to keep going back.
I was quite intrigued when I first saw Truc's menu during a stroll through the South End a few weeks ago. Thanks to Louise8 and 9lives for filling me in on this place.