RW - Beacon Hill Bistro
BarmyFotheringayPhipps and I had a pleasant early dinner there last night. The menu is slightly different from that posted on their website for RW; I think the first courses are the same but they have a couple more entrees than listed, and the dessert is a panna cotta, rather than a selection from their pastry cart.
We started with the Salade Trois Couleurs (me) and the roasted asparagus with fried egg (BFP.) The salad was watercress and red endive, with paper-thin bits of red onion and fresh tarragon leaves, very lightly dressed in a plain vinaigrette, and topped with a whole trout filet poached in white wine. I enjoyed the bitterness and pepperiness of the greens, but thought that the fish was underseasoned, and the intact filet made for an oddly bland centerpiece for the salad. BFP enjoyed the roasted asparagus, although he wished the egg yolk has been left runny enough to make a bit of sauce for the dish. (We might should have swapped - I thought his dish was delicious!)
For our entrees I had the short ribs braised with carrots, on whipped potatoes, and BFP had merguez sausage with frites and a couple of mouthfuls of frisee salad. The short ribs were melt-in-your-mouth tender and rich with flavor, although once again I found them just a hair undersalted. The carrots, which stewed with the beef, were full of its flavor. The base of whipped potatoes were slightly disappointing - they seemed too thin and insubstantial for the rich dish. BFP's merguez sausage and frites almost gave me buyer's remorse, though - the sausage was outstanding and the frites were perfect (and, unlike pretty much every other savory item I tasted in the meal, quite salty enough!)
The panna cotta dessert was a rectangular slab about the size of a business card and perhaps 1/4 inch high, topped with macerated strawberries and sitting in a minted creme anglaise - quite different from other presentations that we've had, but I liked it. (Although the mint was so strong in the sauce that I avoided it so as not to drown the delicate flavor of the panna cotta itself.)
Portions were modest but not unreasonably small. We decided to try the wine pairings, which added another $18 apiece to the bill - I wish I'd made notes, because all three wines were excellent, and generous pours. The red that went with the entrees was especially well-selected (at least for our choices.) Service was friendly and efficient, and it's a really pleasant room.
I was looking forward to taking advantage of RW to try a couple of new places for trial meals, and after reading so many raves here about BHB, we definitely wanted to give it a try. Our modest means keep us from having many dinners out at this price level, but we would definitely add them to our list of places for special nights.