b-day dinner tasting menu
I have not been out to a fine dinning restaurant in some time, I have been spending my hard earned "chowbucks" eating my way around "pesant" foods. I have had some great BBQ, tacos, papusas and the like. But now it is time for my birthday. Who has the best tasting menu in town? Price is no object. No9 Park is out beacuse I went for my anniversary and high end sushi is going to be for my wife's b-day.
I am looking for the higest level of satisfaction for my dollar.
Oleana does a vegetarian tasting that is out of this world. Also, I've not yet tried it, but Neptune Oyster has "Mercy" - chef literally brings you tasting courses until you say mercy. Nothing is served that you can order off the menu. Reasonably priced (for a tasting menu) IIRC.
They go out of their way to build the menu around the wine, instead of the usual vice versa, a notion which instantly sets off all my chow gimmick warning alarms.
But they actually make it work, and shockingly well at that. The cuisine is inspired, and the pairings work better than anywhere else I've been around town.
Personally, I also appreciate that they offer smaller 2- and 4-ounce pours; I'm always a little despondent to get to course 5 or 6 and realize I've ceased to receive detailed information from some significant percentage of my taste buds.
Although Troquet would be unlikely to be mistaken for a "bargain", it's nominally less expensive than Clio, No9, or L'Espalier, so I'd probably say it's the highest dollar-for-dollar value.
Caveats on service and ambience:
Troquet's service is certainly fine and friendly, but things have struck me as a smidge more disorganized than at the above places. Also, the tables are very close together, and the [beautiful, and beautifully situated] room can be a little too loud.
Beware, the 7-course tasting menu is 7 decent-sized courses (none of them were amuse-sized or anything) PLUS cheese plate PLUS dessert. It was definitely too much food for us. There is a 5-course one as well, which sounds a little more tractable.
We went there expecting amazing wine paired with appropriate food, and instead got amazing food paired with appropriate wine. I'm not sure why that felt like a slight disappointment - perhaps it was that we had come here specifically hoping for an awesome wine experience. Also, our waiter was slightly rushed and didn't really know anything about the wine. At one point he was reduced to introducing one glass with "This is... uh, this is the #23, I don't remember what that is." Like I said, the food was great, though.
The best tasting menu I've had in Boston was at L'Espalier.