Saturday night 7/28
Wiping the smirk off my face after passing under the "Mooo...." sign over my head, I felt like I was walking into a modern-day supper club. I was immediately hit with a much different feeling than the old, dark, "clubby" feel of The Fed. Celeste Cooper(Mistral/Sorrelina), did a very nice job renovating the space. She got rid of the walls dividing the bar and dining room, removed the wall on the left side as you walk into the bar area, reduced the size of the columns and brightened the place up, a lot. It's a much more inviting space.
Attractive, friendly hostesses were genuinely welcoming upon arrival. I sat at the bar, now longer, and 18 stools.(The Fed only had 10. The details;
- Soft opening was Thursday, 7/26
- Friday night, 7/26 was the first night open to the public.
- They're not accepting reservations until 8/1 to allow time for staff to get aclimated, work out the details, ...etc.
- Jamie Mammano was in the kitchen and working the dining room.
- Paul Roife was greeting all of the familiar faces.
- Mgt. from Mistral and Sorellina working the room and welcoming everyone to their new venture.
- Servers did a great job greeting guests and sharing what they liked on the menu, as they had tasted everything over the last few days.
- Bartenders very engaging, efficient and prompt with their service.
- Sox game on the TV @ bar(not intrusive in dining room).
I started with the 2006 Arona, Savignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand ($10).
Appetizer: Kobe Beef Dumplings w/ginger, scallion and soy($22). The dumplings were just a little bit thicker than I prefer, but they were very good. The sauce was very good, so good that I sopped it all up with their tremendous dinner rolls. The rolls are made-to-order, served nice and hot, topped with sea salt (think old-fashioned Parker House dinner rolls). The rolls were great and very tempting, but I restrained myself to save room for dinner.
Switched to 2005 Paul Hobbs, Cab Sav, 'Cocodrilo', Mendoza, Argentina ($14).
For main I had the Filet Mignon served with roasted garlic and bone marrow butter (6-ounce ($28). All of the meat entres are accompanied by the bone marrow butter that you scoop out of the bone, nice touch. The filet was perfectly cooked medium-rare and was exceptional. I wish I ordered the 10-ounce($38) and saved some for steak and eggs this morning. I chose the bernaise sauce, which was also excellent.
Sides are a la carte. I chose the Mushroom Risotto w/parmesan cheese and madeira($14). Nice selection of mushrooms, very generous portion and very flavorful.
Specialty cocktails are all between $11-$13.(There were 10 drinks on the list)
$5 beers-Bud, Amstel, Heineken, Sam, Cisco(ACK), Harpoon IPA, Allagash White, Belhaven Scottish Ale and Clausthaler(Germany).
Chimay Blue, Belgium $11
Gulden Draak, Belgium $13
Wines By the Glass sampling;
I'll pick a couple of the lowest priced, mid, and highest priced in each category.
NV Gratien & Meyer, Saumur Brut, Loire Valley $11
NV Montadon Brut, Champagne $17
NV Duval Leroy, Brut Rose $19
1997 Laurent Perrier Brut Champagne $26
2006 Shoofly, 'Buzz Cut', Verdelho, South Australia $9
2005 Capasaldo, Pinot Grigio, Veneto, Italy $9
2005 Domaine Wachau Gruner Federspiel, Austria $10
2004 Bennet Family, Chardonnay, Russian River Valley $11
2005 Lincort, Chardonnay Santa Barbara $14
2005 Ramey, Chardonnay, RR Valley $19
2006 Viu Manet, 'Secreto', Malbec, Chile $9
2006 Bitch(I had to include this one), Grenache, Barossa Valley, Australia $10
2005 Ninth Island, Pinot Noir, Tasmania $13
2004 Flora Springs, Merlot, Napa $15
2005 La Spinetta, Barbera d'Asti, Ca' di Pain $16
2004 Turley, 'Juvenile', Zinfandel, CA $19
2003 Dominus, Cab Sav, 'Napanook', Napa Valley $23
Chopped Iceberg Salad $11
Steak Tartare $18
Foie Gras $25
Wellfleet Oyster stew $19
Lobster Bisqu $15 (The guy next to me loved it)
Tenderloin of Beef Wellington(foie gras, duxelle, madeira) $44
12-ounce Prime NY Sirloin $39
Bone-in Ribeye Steak for Two 38-ounce $68
Classic Pepper Crusted Rib Eye Steak 'Au Poivre' $40
100% Wagyu Beef, Kayoshima Prefecture, Japan 6-ounce $130
Wiener Schnitzel $28
Lamb Chops $39
Game Hen $24 (Guy next to me loved it, very moist)
Casco Bay Sole $28(very big portion 2 stools over, looked like 2 entrees)
3-lb Baked Stuffed Lobster $80
Spaghetti Chitarra and Clams $24
Usual sides $5-$14
No room for dessert. Someone else will need to run with the ball on reporting back on dessert and full wine list.
They've cut back on the wine program. It's nice to win Wine Spectator's Grand Cru Award, but lots of the high-end bottles were getting dusty.
PDR: Nothings has changed. 45-seats downstairs, private bar, nice room in wine cellar.
Overall, very nice evening. Before you pounce on the old, "another steak house" rant, give it a try, it's a nice, comfortable place to enjoy a great meal and the service was genuinely very good.
For dessert I tried the butterscotch napoleon. It was light and fluffy (layers of butterscotch custard and chantilly cream) and overall good but just like the rest of the meal and the dinning room, it was not a serious food-centered experience. Not that I miss the Fed but, at that price, I wouldn't mind a chef or a restaurant that took things a little more serious.
We sat at the bar and the bar manager Brad waited on us, excellent service.
It is a nice, lighter, more modern space (and I didn't mind the Fed, thought it was kind of cool in its arch-stuffiness)...but big old photographic murals of cows? Btwn. that and the name...seems like a misguided attempt at charm to me. It's more like morbidly cutesy, 2 words I never thought I'd put together.
One other cranky comment...a $14 SIDE?!?! Considering, too, that you say it's a generous portion--isn't that just an appetizer in a side dish's clothing?
In all fairness, I just went in for a drink and to check out the menu; the execution of the food may be stellar. But I can't say the menu bowled me over with its creativity/reinterpretation of anything, (though that bone marrow butter sounds like an exception), while Pino Maffeo & Jamie Bissonnette's steakhouse menus do, IMO, show some flair.
I agree with you that the menu didn't bowl me over with anything "original", but I was very impressed with the execution of my meal, and the folks around me were very impressed with what they ordered. I just liked the place so much better than the old Fed, thus my detailed review. I also agree with you about the Jamie B comparison. KO Prime definitely came to mind when I was dining there. You really do need to try the piping-hot dinner rolls if you go back. The sea salt is a nice touch.
BBG, Now that's the kind of report that really gives insight. Thanks for taking the time to enlighten us all. Great job. I hadn't realized it had opened. After visiting the Fed a few times after it opened, and picking over the great wine list, I had no real reason to go back. Now, it sounds like Jamie and his group have brought new life to this spot that was sorely needed. It sounds very promising. I enjoy Jamie's other spots... Mistral, Teatro and Sorellina so Im sure this will also please.
Nice, detailed report!
Let me be the first to make the obvious Mooo-lah joke. Those a la carte menus add up fast.
I'm glad to hear they opened up the space. I always thought The Fed's dining room was a serious minus for a place at that price level (though I found the bar plenty comfy).
I won't crack on this as another luxury-level steakhouse: I'm far less offended by independently owned and operated places with local and/or creative-chef flair (Boston Public Meat, KO Prime, this place). But I am sick of seeing national chains opening multiple outlets here: we really don't need more of those, do we?
re: MC Slim JB
Mooove over other steakhouses. Spread the mooos! Mooo... is the place to go before a mooovie or any other amoosement.
Bring moooochos pesos, though. You have to pay for moovelousness. And the new design ensures that you won't feel deja moo for the former Fed space. The food is mooosic in your mouth. If you're lucky, you may be blessed with an amooos bouche.