OM - RW
My DC and I decided to give OM a shot at the last minute - we had no problem getting an RW seating for 7 pm at 4 pm that afternoon. Later slots were pretty full.
In terms of time spent, we definitely got our money's worth - did not leave until close to 11.
We checked with the staff to see if we could go off-menu for the apps, which we were, for the price difference of $5/app, which I felt was fair.
We started with two fancy drinks from their mixologist - I had the Rosecena?, which was supposed to be a gin martini, with infusions of cucumber, basil ? and roses. Pretty much tasted like gin to me, but it was tasty. The cucumber slice garnish definitely soaked up a lot of the alcohol by the end of the drink. I did not detect any rose. My DC had a lavendar-infused martini, that again was tasty, but did not have any detectable notes of lavendar.
An amuse bouche of a cream of mushroom soup was thick, served in a little demitasse cup.
We started with a light cornbread for bread basket, with a Japanese soup spoon with a ball of very light butter - nice.
Throughout the evening, we also had a bowl or two of truffled cheese popcorn that was scrumptious.
For apps: We had the cauliflower soup with smoked scallops, the ubiquitous micro-cilantro and some other doodads. It was creamy and delicious - a nice smoky flavor throughout - the consistency of a bisque - We also tried the heralded deconstructed caesar, which was a huge mess, but interesting to eat. I think I prefer my salad constructed, but it made for a novel presentation.
For dinner, we shared two of the RW offerings - sea scallops with some sort of a curry-like sauce that was out of this world (and the scallops were cooked perfectly) - and the braised pork, which was fall-apart with your fork good. Interesting note of horseradish? among the stewed apples gave it a surprising kick.
I just gave a glass of merlot a chance, after the 4 table next to us all opted for Pinot Noir - The merlot is rather pedestrian, but it was well-suited for the variety of foods at the table. DC had a glass of Pinot as well, that was good enough to order a second to go with dessert.
We toyed with the idea of going with the cheeses, but instead opted for the RW offerings - an orange-scented pound cake with some sort of ice cream and little blueberries was surprisingly good (You know, it's pound cake....) and a trio of sorbets that were fine. My cup of coffee had a nice flavor, but brewed weak for my taste.
All in all, ended up dropping considerably more than the RW prices once you tack on the bar bill and the valet fee (parking in Harvard Sq. sucks...and I have good parking karma!).
I honestly would consider going again on a regular evening. The back of the house seems to have some flair - and we were both stuffed by the end of the night, despite the leisurely pacing - I believe some reviewers in the past have commented on the lack of portion size - they are not enormous, but it was of a good size.
The whole place should really smack of pretension (and we were not allowed to sit at a booth that was "reserved for one of the owners" that I am pretty sure went unoccupied the entire evening, but no matter) and the somewhat ham-handed, half-attempts at molecular gastronomy are sort of silly. So as a concept, I don't know if I really dig the place, but the food is actually quite good.
I am sure I would hate it if it were in Boston-proper. As it is, the wait-staff were students who were professional and relaxed with a minimum of snootiness. It was enjoyable mostly. The lounge-y first floor definitely has more going for it for my more-regular business.
8 of us met last night, 3/8, at the bar around 6PM. Fancy drink I wanted to try had chartreuse, muddled basil, kaffir lime, spritzes of bergamot, etc. I'd told 1 of the bartenders I hadn't had chartreuse before & was concerned it might be too sweet. He immediately proffered a small sample. The drink was cold, tart & refreshing straight up, but even after a 2nd spritz, I couldn't taste the bergamot, but no matter. Others enjoyed their various choices that were assembled with dash & aplomb by the cadre of bartenders in black. We all really liked the dark, handsome decor of the lounge with it's black waterfall wall at the entrance & rosy lit stone backwall behind the bar. Little encased bluish lit squares of light marched down to black bartop. Comfortable sofa-like seating spread out behind us filled with other laid-back patrons. Around 6:30, we were led upstairs to our table. Place was full with larger tables like ours, as well as several deuces, etc. Nice subdued amber light. Water was immediately offered and wine & drink orders taken. 4 of us opted for a bottle of Shiraz which we all like & indeed a couple of us ordered a 2nd by the glass. Nice & dry like I like. Took a little too long before dinner orders were taken, but then plates of herbed bread with ball of butter in spoon were delivered. Next the chef's complimentary cup of hot savory, creamy mushroom soup - just what we needed on this blustery cold night to start. Most of us had the creamy corn soup w/smoked scallops, basil foam & cilantro. It was deliciously sweet corn flavored & you could really taste the smokiness of the scallops & the citrus flavor of the fresh cilantro. Half of us got the scallops and half the braised port shank w/white beans, escarole & apple. Altho' I didn't have the scallops, they were pronounced sweet, succulent & perfectly cooked - I wish I'd ordered them. The pork entree, on the other hand had some problems. The white beans & escarole were so salty by themselves, that I solved this by eating them with bites of the undersalted & somewhat dry) pork. The little surprise explosion w/the pork was the wasabi-tasting apple tidbit that was wonderful. If they could adjust the salt appropriately, the pork would be fine. Most of us opted for the lemon crusted pound cake w/vanilla ice cream, blue berries w/bb sauce that we all enjoyed. The sorbet eaters enjoyed their choice as well. Service throughout the meal, once it was ordered, was great with plates & tableware being cleared in a timely fashion between course, water glasses frequently replentished as needed, wine topped off and drink refills offered. Several of us will be going back when the $39 FP kicks in to try other offerings.
Just had lunch there today (3/8/07) for RW. The food was SO good! The portions, of course, were tiny but it was so worth it. I had a corn bisque for the app, a tofu dish for the entree and pound cake for the desert. DC had little dumplings for the app, duck confit for the entree and the pound cake for desert. We also drank some yummy tea.
The corn bisque was really creamy and had some smoked baby sea scallops and a few shrimp with a bunch of lemongrass (I think...in any case it was too much for my taste) and was topped with wasabi cream of some sort. So good. DC's dumplings were pork, beef and veggie. He loved the pork the best, the beef were good too. I only tried the veggie, which was potato and cabbage. They were ok, but not great.
The tofu was AWESOME! Really really crispy and done in a General Tso's Chicken kind of way...sweet and spicy and fried. It was served with some steamed baby bok choy (delish) and some kind of black/purplish rice, which was ok. DC's duck confit was served with mesculin greens and fancy bleu cheese. It was gone in about 2 minutes, so I can only assume he LOVED it.
The pound cake was served with vanilla ice cream, blueberries, raspberry sauce and a lemon marmalade (?) tucked in somewhere. It was SO GOOD.
Overall I would give the food 4.5 out of 5 stars as it was delish. On the flipside, the music was blaring above our table and I have a feeling it looks a whole lot nicer at night. The waitress had the personality of a cork board and even though it was RW it still cost us about $67 with tip. To be honest the overall atmosphere wasn't that great and I would give it 3 out of 5. I have been there at night though for drinks and it is gorgeous.
We gotta go there for a yummy wicked expensive dinner one night!
I was there Mon., parked right in front of the Garage and I very seldom even drive into the square to take the chance, but figured a cold Mon. at 7PM wasn't gonna be too crazy (I then shocked the Newbury Comics kids by knowing who Gorilla Bisquits was). Reservation for 3 at 7:30 and it wasn't full by any means. The place is pretty cool, that waterfall wall is kind of dizzying tho. I was early so ordered a drink at the bar (not the most exciting bartender in the world), and went with the "Fred and Ginger" which was a great "martini" with ginger and a little ginger candy on the side. I was surprised to see that not one single glass of wine is <$10 there. Seems very steep to me. We had one of those banquettes which was nice and roomy. Didn't get the infamous popcorn but did notice a table of 5 had it. Oh well. The bread was excellent, slightly salty, we kept asking for more. Found out it's a recipe from one of the Guatemalan cooks. One friend had a great tea based drink, another had some fancy margarita ($11 and $12). We all had the delicious corn chowder w/ smoked scallops to start, very nice. Two had the scallop entree, big sweet and yummy. I got the pork just to be different. As Bob said, delicious and you certainly didn't need the steak knife they provided. That little spicy zing was a nice surprise, served with white beans and some greens. We all got the poundcake for dessert and the ice cream with it was great (not sure of the flavor). Service was good but bordering on hovering. She was sweet tho. An excellent meal all around and I don't think that meal will be surpassed. Copia didn't quite do it, we'll see what Taranta brings tomorrow.
Great review! Thanks for posting. I love Om. I think I'll try to squeeze in lunch or dinner this week after reading this. The scallops and pork sound so good (I'm also starving at the moment). I go there for apps and cocktails a couple times a month but haven't had a complete meal in a while.
I know what you mean about the look and feel of the place. I'm always tempted to by irritated by the hipness of it, but the service is never smug or pretentious so I've always enjoyed myself.
Parking hint: The building next to the Charles Hotel has a garage and does $10 parking after 5 p.m.