Sel de la Terre, Boston, Wonderful Evening
Four of us finally had the pleasure of sampling this favorite of many CHs.
After having our table changed from one from near the obnoxiously loud kitchen entry/bussing area, we sat for a relaxed multicourse repast in the handsome, comfortable, and very busy room at 6:30 this Saturday in February. After being ignored for the first 5 minutes, the service finally kicked in and was commendable , mostly, for the rest of the evening.It was particularly enjoyable that the room was NOT hugely loud , so conversation was not a challenge.
To begin with, the breads…… They have been frequntly commended on CH and this is as it should be. A large variety of on-site-produced breads, all moist and flavorful. FINALLY, a bread baker who understands the importance of salt content in bread. Favorites were the fig anise, multigrain and seeded rye. The eggplant chevre spread was sublime, in a light pool of unusually excellent olive oil,and studded with chopped walnuts.
Appetizer highlights were the Goat confit and chevre tart, the Truffled mushroom soup, the Chopped romaine salad with cashews, beets, grapes and curry dressing. In a typical restaurant world of same-old-yawn-yawn salads, this was unusual , truly distinct and a real winner. Portion was too small in my opinion, but the flavors and textures made it one of the best salads I have ever had.
The entrees were all excellent though I wish the chef had done more with sauces-
Lamb rack with roasted jerusalem artichokes (what a great glorious vegetable, and native to Massachusetts!); Braised Beef Short Ribs with celeriac/potato puree; Salmon on a bed of black couscous with roasted fennel, and a special of the sweet Red Snapper-like Dorrade (almost never seen here in the U.S.)
A side of sauteed spinach w/ parmesan was unctuous and perfect. The frites are very simply the best I have ever had (except for one unbelievable serving of them at Aquitaine.) Crisp and amazingly light, dusted w/ sea salt and rosemary, and accompanied, upon my request, by a simple perfect aioli. My doggybag of them will make for a great breakfast tomorrow.
Ice creams, sorbets, and Steamed Gingerbread, accompanied by lovely Banyuls, capped off a very memorable evening. Timing on the courses was spot-on; no great lag between app and entrée or entrée and dessert. Service was smooth, efficient, helpful, friendly w/o being cloying. The sommelier was MOST helpful and we loved the french red to which he steered us.
They have an unusual pricing structure- all the apps are $11 and all the entrees are $26 (though a few do have a supplementary charge, as with the lamb rack.)Desserts are $9.
The red wine list is quite large and has many unusual offerings, mostly French.
Except for the ridiculous and annoying lack of street parking (the garage was $28 so we opted for valet- $16.) , the evening’s experience was most accomodating, smooth and delightful. We look forward to returning to this cozy gem. And thanks to all the CHs who have touted it and , in so doing, streered us there.
Wait till summer and the opening of the park across from the Aquarium Parking Garage which is not part of the Greenway project (so it will open on time), as well as the Greenway fountain (if it opens this summer) and the whole area by Sel de la Terre will make for a wonderful time by the waterfront as it will be beautiful in the spring/summer.
Had dinner there a couple of weeks ago and it was once again terrific. We sat in the bar area but had absolutely wonderful, attentive service. I try to avoid eating bread most of the time but it is impossible to resist their bread basket.
We shared a number of appetizers but I remember the goat confit and chevre tart the most -it was wonderful. I shared the roast (statler?) chicken and it was perfectly cooked, crisp skin and moist meat and a dc had the rack of lamb which was perfectly cooked and well trimmed. Most of our party were drinking white wine so at one point we asked the waiter for a recomendation for a glass of red and he brought us a Barbera which was perfect for the food we were eating. Despite it being a very busy Saturday night, the meal was really flawless and enjoyable.
I was pleased to find that, despite a few neagative posts, this place continues to shine - at least on the occasions I have been able to eat there.
Man, I must have gone on a nite when they ran out of good bread. It was all kind of a rustic white with carraway in it, or something like that. No variety that nite, not like the great basket we had at E. Or Henrietta's Table last weekend (which was the best part of the meal).