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Restaurant Week 2008

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Anyone with any great suggestions or finds for 2008 yet? Best values, menus and/or warnings welcome.

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  1. One of the ideas behind Restaurant Week is to get you to try new places. I perfer lunches, because I hardly ever eat three courses, and in the afternoon, it just seems easier to handle. Over the years I've had only good experiences and this year I'm going to three places I've never been before. One of my favorite places has been Henrietta's Patio in Cambridge. You can pick any three items from the full menu, and this is the only place that offers this, as far as I know. The setting is great, in or out, but out is definetely better. This and Upstairs at the Square are places that I like to return to, but not this year.

    9 Replies
    1. re: ghostcat

      I agree with the Henrietta's Table recommendation. I did that last year and it was NOT the typical flank steak prix fixe menu that I am trying to stay away from this year (I highly recommend the melon gazpacho--heaven and the executive chef actually sent me the recipe when I asked for it!). I think all of the restaurants that are listed as participants but do NOT list a menu are offering any choice from the regular menu at the RW price. These are great values, unless the regular price is the same. Harvest in Harvard Square does the same thing. I wanted to actually get into Ruth's Chris for the filet mignon lunch but the reservations are booked solid. Also, Sandrine's in Harvard Square has lobster salad on the lunch menu. Hope it isn't a toothpick size lobster roll!

      1. re: WilliamTheFoodie

        That would be nice if that's true about having choice of menu if it's not linked on the RW site. I'm assuming the restaurant was just lazy and I tend to stay away from those places, altho I am going to Meritage who don't have a menu posted. Gargoyle's also has choice of menu, or at least did before RW officially started.

        1. re: Joanie

          I went to Gargoyles last year for Restaurant Week and thought it was fantastic. Tremont 647 has their RW menu posted on their website too. They have a lot of options to choose from for each course.
          I went to Ruth's Chris recently and was really disappointed. The patio was closed due to rats and they over cooked my steak to the point of inedibility. yuck

          1. re: Joanie

            I ate dinner at Gargoyles on Saturday night. They're doing RW all month, and yes, your choice is from the dining room menu (bar menu is not included in RW choices). Some of us at our table did the RW, some didn't (I didn't because I didn't want any of the desserts offered). Unfortunately, Gargoyles' menu hasn't been updated online, but the pork tenderloin was excellent (served with a corn and cotija cheese mixture).

            1. re: LindaWhit

              We loved the food at Gargoyles, but thought the vanilla panna cotta was terrible. No flavor and texture was too firm like a jello puck. The chocolate cheesecake was very good.

              1. re: Ali G

                That's what my friend said re: flavor on the panna cotta - very bland. But the texture of hers was definitely NOT firm like a Jello hockey puck - softer than that as I watched her spoon into it. Perhaps yours was made with too much gelatin. That's too bad.

          2. re: WilliamTheFoodie

            I had the Lobster Roll at Sandrine's today for lunch. The portion was quite large and it came with fries. Reasonable lobster content...and overall a great experience.

          3. re: ghostcat

            so we're planning on hitting up henrietta's table for RW lunch--you can choose any 3 items off the menu? i didn't see any desserts listed, at least on their lunch menu--i assume there's a dessert selection? or do you get 2 entrees or ...?

            1. re: autopi

              oh the dessert to get is the Campfire S'more. Such a wonderful, whimsical dessert. The desserts are a separate menu. It is presented after you have the first two courses. Make sure the wait-person knows you are Restaurant Week or the bill will be calculated a la carte. [But for they fixed it for the family to my left.]

          4. Yes Gargoyle's menu DID look great and the price would be a real value as they are usually more expensive. Great feedback on Ruth's Chris. Cross that one off my list. I am pretty sure no menu means no prix fixe, use the regular menu which, actually, is how it was when the very 1st RW started. It seems like 90% of the prix fixe menus last year were flank steak which is why I was skeptical of RW this year!

            5 Replies
            1. re: WilliamTheFoodie

              I went to L'Andana yesterday and it was outstanding, three choices for each course. Each of us had a different one and they were all outstanding. The bread is fabulous and service great. Check out what Olives is offering. They have many choices and all of them sound very interesting. I am going there next Sunday and then to L'Espalier on Friday which I understand has been sold out for some time.

              1. re: edgewater

                I am going next week and cannot wait - what were the menu choices?

                1. re: phonelady

                  This is a very late response to phonelady. You have probably already been and if so I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. For an appetizer I had a very generous and tasty portion of mozarella and prosciutto, for the main course I had a perfectly cooked mustard glazed salmon which was absolutely delicious and for dessert a very rich chocolate fudge type of "thing" accompanied by ice cream...can't remember what they called it. One companion had the tomato soup with parmesan cream and loved it. He had the skirt steak and a dessert that turned out to be a drink which was a surprise but he really enjoyed it. The other person had been hoping that they had the same chicken she had last year as she thought it was the best she ever had. They did have it. I can't really tell you about the preparation.
                  She had a blueberry cobbler type dessert. Their bread is also fantastic and the service both years has been impeccable. Both of my experiences there have been memorable meals not just for restaurant week but for any time and we certainly weren't rushed.

                  1. re: edgewater

                    I had a solo lunch at L'Andana today, my first time there. Arrived at about 1:15; perhaps a half-dozen tables were occupied. The food was excellent - the tomato soup, glazed salmon with a vinaigrette-dressed salad of red onion, radish, green& wax beans, and an unfamilar green, the chocolate torte. That it was a belated birthday lunch was justification for ordering the $11 truffle-parmesan fries - but the amount would serve 2-3 so I brought most, plus half the torte, home. The fries were ultra-crisp but not browned or oily and I wonder if they could be air-fried. The salmon was a generous portion. Although there was a bread dish at the place setting, there was no bread served - I wasn't very near the next occupied tables and couldn't tell if they had bread baskets. Because I had the fries, I didn't really want any bread, but as the entree plate had only fish and salad, I felt there should have been the option. I casually mentioned this to the bus-waiter, who apologized sincerely and said it was the waiter's oversight. The waiter, however, never mentioned it (of course, I don't know if the bus-waiter said anything to him). Overall, though, the service was attentive, and oversights do happen. The only other quibble was that the place had a bit of that unpleasant smell of a mop-bucket that isn't refreshed often enough, so if I'd closed my eyes I'd have thought I was in McDonalds.

              2. re: WilliamTheFoodie

                Husband and I went to Gargoyle's on Sunday night for our anniversary and had a great meal. I had the baked figs, the duck confit and the malted chocolate cheesecake. All yum but the standout was the baked figs. Luscious. Husband had the ahi poke, the swordfish and the butterscotch cream pie. He felt the poke was a bit too acidic and the butterscotch cream pie wasn't quite set but he thought the swordfish was the best he's ever had. Most importantly, service was excellent. Had decided to try the place based on the RW menu and will definitely be going back even when it's not RW.

              3. We went to Toro last night. The best part about their RW is all items offered are on their regular menu.

                Actually, the real best part is they take reservations for RW. Which is very nice for us, since we aren't the type who are willing to wait for 1hr + for a table.

                1 Reply
                1. re: y2000k

                  Great to know about L'Andana and Toro! Most restaurants will take reservations online at Opentable.com, that is IF you can still get a spot at the nicer places.

                2. I can only speak from past experiences...here are the restaurants I've had great RW experiences at: dante, Gargoyles, Taranta and Copia (now closed). I've had less than inspiring meals at: Sage and Aura (not sure what prompted me to go there in the first place).

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: gini

                    I had made reservations for Sage and Flemings (one of the few boston steak houses i have not been to). Both menus looked very good and both honored RW menu on Saturdays. But i cancelled both options, figuring i would use the money i would have spent on the two RW meals toward a seven course tasting at L'Espelier before it moves from it's Brownstone location.

                    The other tempting pick was Aura. Given the fact that Rachel Klien revamped the kitchen and they extended the RW to include weekends through 9/6 made it very appealing. There's some good stuff to be had on the Aura RW menu for $30.

                    1. re: cannedmilkandfruitypebbles

                      I think you made the right call -- I always spend much more $$ than I expect to at RW meals, and although some I've had have been very good (see: Harvest, Taranta, No9 when they used to do it) none of them are like dining at L'Espalier.

                      1. re: yumyum

                        My wife and I have never dined during RW for less than $125- all the good stuff is on the main menu. Combine all factors of RW (limited menu, poor service, rushed service, ect) the money is better spent elsewhere. You can not get a good sense of a restaurant by visiting during RW but it is, nonetheless, a good deal. I just caution any first time RW diners to have patience and to not truely judge a restaruant by the discounted meal in August.

                        1. re: cannedmilkandfruitypebbles

                          All this rings true with me. Normally, I don't even get dessert and would rather spend money on apps and entrees. So I end up spending the same, but not getting the stuff I would choose from the regular menu.

                          Last night is a good example. Went to Sage, I liked their menu that was posted on-line. But some of the stuff was changed from the menu that is on their own website. Because of the changes, I ordered things that were not what I even wanted, plus, had a $6 surcharge on the entree I did not really care for. Another weird thing is that DH wanted a beer. He hates Amstel Light and has not liked any Belgium beers he has ever tasted. All they had (according to the waiter) was Amstel Light and 2 Belgium beers! Waiter convinced him to try the lighter Belgium one. He hated it and it was $11 we found out when we got the bill. Actually higher than my 2 $9 wines -- that's a new one! So yeah, we spent $125 and I thought about places we could go for a meal I loved for that instead of one I was very disappointed with.

                          But I have also had some great RW meals. Last year, L'anndana was a hit.

                  2. I'm going to the Hungry I on Wednesday night. Has anyone been there for Restaurant week?

                    1. I went to Pigalle last night for RW. It was excellent (I was a little worried about going based on some recent posts on this board). Service was great and the waiter helped me pick out a great glass of wine to go with my meal. There were at least 5 choices for every course. I had a calamari salad to start, a crispy duck with cherry sauce for my entree, and the vanilla creme brulee for dessert. All courses were excellent but the duck was the standout. Perfectly crisp skin and very moist tender meat. The cherry sauce complemented the duck very well. Overall, a very nice meal at a very nice price!

                      9 Replies
                      1. re: AnjLM

                        Last night, we went to Gargolyes for RW, and were quite impressed. The menu was extensive - five appetizer and entree choices, and three dessert choices. We started with the cast iron baked figs and the green pea & green chile soup. Both were very tasty. We split the BBQ pork tenderloin (very good, not dry at all) and the honey & hoisin glazed duck (wonderful, crispy skin, a great sticky rice, huge portion), and loved both entrees. The desserts were good, solid, nothing exceptional, but quite nice for a RW menu. The service was great - our waitress was super attentive, and we were in and out in a little over an hour, but never for a moment felt rushed.

                        We are going to Rialto tonight.

                        Edgewater, what was featured on the L'Andana menu? We have reservations there for next Sunday, and the restaurant happens to be one of our favorites.

                        1. re: floydthefoodie

                          You had the two items I had on Saturday night - the cast iron baked figs (LOVED this!) and the BBQ pork tenderloin. Enjoyed both a lot.

                          But I just can't conceive of being in and out in just over an hour. At any sit-down restaurant like Gargoyles. Would just feel way too rushed to me.

                        2. re: AnjLM

                          Pigalle was the the best RW meal I have had.

                          1. re: AnjLM

                            Thanks for the review. I'm glad I got reservations for Pigalle next week!

                            1. re: conbon

                              Pigalle has been a go to for me during RWs. The first time I went it was mind blowing. However, the last couple RWs I went to have been fine, but not OUTSTANDING...
                              this being said, I went last night with a few friends. Began the evening with a drink at the bar. the bartender was attentive and poured a nice full serving of the wine I ordered. After my boyfriend ordered a glass of the same wine, she topped me off for no additional charge! What a lovely way to begin the evening!
                              Apps:
                              Tempura Fried Shrimp with Trio of Curried Melon and Keffir Lime Oil
                              -Supplement 5. ---to be honest....the shrimp came out looking like they were deep fried chicken fingers....the batter was thick, and not flaky and light. the melons were cubed with no distinct flavor, save for a little edge of the lime oil. not worth the additional 5 bills.
                              -Arugula Salad with Crispy Bacon, Parmesan Cheese and Fingerling
                              Potato Chips --tasty! a bit overdressed, but still yummy! the bacon added a delightful umph to the dish
                              -Pâté de Porc with Grain Mustard Aïoli, Cornichons and Armagnac
                              Soaked Prunes --yum! a friend of mine made this pate once, and it was amazing, this was just as good! the prunes were sweet and sour and paired nicely with the pork. They only gave 2 small triangles of toast, so we ordered another bread basket to share the goods. THere was a little aiolii, but only enough to give a few of the bites a gentle kick of mustard goodness.

                              Mains:
                              -Crispy Half Duck with Blistered Cornbread, Steamed Bok Choy and
                              Dried Cherry Sauce --awesome! the duck was perfectly cooked, falling apart and off the bone! the cherry sauce was truly a treat to have paired, and though i didnt taste the bok choy, i heard it was good. *Now, oddly enough, my boyfriend said that the cornbread was dried and actually took away from the dish. this is the SAME review a friend who went on sunday had...not sure what's going on with the cornbread...perhaps it's too "blistered"...still, tasty enough without the cornbread
                              -Double Thick Grilled Pork Chop with Mustard Sauce, Herb Spaetzle,
                              Peas and Carrots--this was a tasty dish, but to be quite honest, it didnt blow my mind....which made me sad, since i mentioned that I have high expectations for Pigalle...sigh. Anyhow, the pork was fine tasting, a bit tough, but still tasty. the speatzle was quite nice, and since i dont usually get spaetzle...i dont really have ground for comparison. the fact that the carrots were cubbed and had the consistency of frozen carrots,...made me think they might have actually used frozen carrots!!! gosh, i hope i'm wrong. The other weird thing, was there were little sprigs of something on it that had the consistency of straw/grass....i should have asked the waiter what they were....i didnt. i regret that i hadnt....next time!!!! the mustard sauce.....could take/leave it.
                              -Grilled Tuna, Potato Cake, Succotash of Green Vegetables and Basil
                              Sauce -- i only had a bite of this....but it looked very pretty when it came out and tasted quite nice....didnt blow my mind, but was nice. my friend seemed to enjoy it, but didnt rave.
                              Dessert:
                              -Vanilla Crème Brûlée with Biscotti (2)-- my friends who got this thought it was tasty...it had a nice crust and one could really taste the vanilla! didnt hear yay/nay on the biscotti
                              -Chocolate Marquis with Cherries -- i wasnt familiar with a Marquis, but was told it was kind of a molten chocolate thingy....it was a slice of light fudge, more or less. perhaps that is what it was supposed to be...it was tasty, but A LOT of chocolate... the cherries were very nice, kind of stewed..

                              ANYHOW! clearly it was a fine enough meal. but I think that moving forward I wont make this a #1 spot for RW. they dont seem to take the same kind of care in the food that they did a few years ago...perhaps my tastes have changed. i dont know....
                              Tomorrow night we go to Marco...another Marc Orfaly place....anyone been there yet? for RW that is?

                              phew! longest post for this girl! :) thats what happens when i'm home sick with a sore throat..just hoping it clear for tomorrow!

                              1. re: mollyditty

                                I had a great meal at Marco last year. I know someone on CH wasn't as thrilled with it, but the goat cheese/prosciutto wrapped figs were amazing. That's what stood out for me but I know we were happy with our meals in general. Oh, I think hey had a variety of canolis that was pretty amazing and I think I had an espresso pot de creme. I definitely liked it better than my couple (non RW) times at Pigalle.

                                1. re: Joanie

                                  Went to MarcO last night on a whim and scored two seats at the food bar. A great experience. Service was very attentive, friendly and professional. What was also really terrific was the fact that there were so many choices, at least 8 or 9 apps. We shared an arrugula salad with bacon and a light dressing. Very fresh and great contrast between the smoky bacon and the light and slightly bitter greens. We also had the calamari with hot peppers which was great. Not too large a serving but just right. Fresh and not soggy. For mains (there were at least 8 choices there as well) I had a the pork confit: a large pork chop with a mound of pork confit with very interesting spices. Kind of a pulled pork without smoke or barbecue sauce. Really great. DC had orrechietti (sp.) with sausage, peas and lima beans. Again, very fresh and well prepared. Desert choices were not memorable but I am not a desert fan usually. they offered a sorbet, a panna cotta, a chocolate pot au crem and cookies. A really great value at restaurant week prices. There were also a couple of specials which they offered with a sur charge that sounded great but we were pretty set on the menu once we looked it over. A very nice RW experience.

                                  1. re: Northender

                                    yes!!!! Marco was wonderful!
                                    I had the orrechietti and it was simple and fantastic! all the flavors were tasty! Actually, two of the people i was with got the Mushroom Risotto, they were VERY excited about this since the waitress said it was great....however, it was quite disappointing. it was small bowl (like a regular cereal bowl) of white risotto, mixed with some veggies, topped with slightly sautéed mushrooms...these mushrooms lacked in flavor....
                                    the Pork was AMAZING! it just fell apart on the fork, and though i forget what it came with, it blended well.

                                    the deserts...the passion fruit sorbet was light and sweet and tart. Perfect. The chocolate/espresso panna cotta was tasty, but was set a little too heavy, it had a rubbery feel.
                                    anyhow, it was my first taste at Marco, and I will most def be going back!

                                    1. re: mollyditty

                                      I'm glad to hear Marco's RW has improved. It was the scene of a very ho-hum meal a couple of years ago.

                          2. Had a tasty RW dinner at Mistral tonight. The menu wasn't posted online, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect. The place was packed, and everyone I saw was ordering from the RW menu.

                            I didn't memorize the menu, but it was basically the following

                            APPS
                            - Caprese salad
                            - Caesar salad
                            - Chilled corn soup w/ crab and avocado (yum!)

                            ENTEE
                            - hanger steak w/ frites
                            - chicken
                            - salmon (this seemed to be the most popular from looking at other tables)

                            DESSERT
                            - chocolate mouse
                            - some blueberry thing

                            I had the soup, steak, and mouse, along with a glass of wine. The soup was my favorite, but the steak was very good, too. Had a hint of lime to it; not sure if that was from the butter, or a marinade. The frites were forgettable. The mouse had a chocolate cookie and quite a few large shavings on top. Bread service was a mini-loaf of sourdough along with a dollop of butter and a hummus-type spread.

                            I was a solo diner, so wasn't looking to dawdle, but the pacing seemed very fast. I had my soup 90 seconds after ordering. Steak came as soon as I was done with my soup. Dessert took 5-8 minutes, and another 10 minutes for my check. In and out in an hour or so. I'm not complaining, but if I was looking to make a night of it, I might have been annoyed.

                            -----
                            Mistral
                            223 Columbus Ave., Boston, MA 02116

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: wizzy99

                              RW is designed for a faster pace service - menus are limited in scope and you order your meal soup to nuts when you first sit down, allowing the kitchen to move through tables quickly.

                              We just got back from Rialto which took about an hour plus. We were expecting a lot from this restaurant based on reputation, and while the experience was not out-of-this-world, the meal was enjoyable nonetheless. We started our meal with the parma prosciutto and zucchini risotto - both light and tasty, and the stone fruit that came with the proscuitto was quite nice. For entrees, we had the flank steak and the baby chicken. The chicken was a stronger choice than the steak, but both were good. Dessert was a chocolate torta (very heavy!) and a honey ricotta cheesecake (really nice).

                            2. I am hearing a LOT of flank steak. Why do they all choose the ceapest cut of meat? It's good to know that every restaurant is different in their approach to RW, though. Still, I'll take those not serving a prix fixe so as to get the true feel of the place.

                              9 Replies
                              1. re: WilliamTheFoodie

                                I am hearing a LOT of flank steak. Why do they all choose the ceapest cut of meat?
                                ~~~~~~~~~
                                So they can make some money? Serving lobster or filet mignon during RW makes no sense to me. I'm sure this is also why they try to get you in/out in an hour or so...more turnover, more butts in the seats, more money into the restaurant during what, I'm sure, could be a bit of a loss leader time period.

                                1. re: WilliamTheFoodie

                                  Seems like everyone's RW menu is mixed greens, caprese, hanger/flank steak, chicken, salmon, chocolate torte. It's starting to get a little monotonous. Does anyone think that restaurant week has lost its hype? Is it now overkill?

                                  1. re: birdy30

                                    Summer restaurant week tends to be very same same. You can count on hanger/flank, something with tomatoes, and something with corn since it's that time of the year. There are exceptions, of course, but I think they tend to mix it up more in the Winter.

                                    1. re: yumyum

                                      Ms 9 and I were saying the same thing this AM.

                                      We have friends that had an overally pos experience last night at Oceanaire. Excellent service and they said they'd go back.

                                      1. re: 9lives

                                        Shoot, and l'd pretty much taken Oc. off my list for my last of 4 RW meals. May need to rethink going there. Did they get crabcakes?

                                        1. re: Joanie

                                          They didn't order the crabcakes.

                                        2. re: 9lives

                                          We also had a wonderful meal at Oceanaire last night. Server was pleasant and attentive and offered much help on the menu and wine list. I had Gloucester stuffed flounder and DC had swordfish -- both wonderfully fresh and delicious. Thought they were both an excellent restaurant week value and a great way to try the place out.

                                          1. re: gramercyfoodie

                                            What was in the flounder stuffing and what was it served with? I'm now wondering what to do on Mon. cuz two of the Cheap Trick guys are guest chefs at Bokx and that could be fun.

                                            1. re: Joanie

                                              flounder was stuffed with baby shrimp, brie and crab. very delicious. the sauce was a buttery sauce. was not served with anything bc they do a la carte like a steak house, but for me with the salad and dessert i really didn't need a side. i think the fish was the freshest, yummiest I've had in boston, and really was worth trying. I know it's a hard decision though.

                                  2. You would think some places would be a bit creative or everyone offer the regular menu, instead of just a few. RW began as a way for US to help restaurants in a traditionally slow period as many City folk were away on vacation and business was hurting. I totally agree that it seems to have lost its appeal and is now just a way to fill seats with cheap plates, with some exceptions where a really nice job is done.

                                    1. Anyone been to Oceana? Any opinions?

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: fmcoxe6188

                                        I like Oceana for an outdoor drink - it's not usually crowded and there's a lot of outdoor space - but the one time I ordered food it was very average.

                                        I went to Miel at the Intercontinental for RW last night and was pleasantly surprised... the options were regular menu selections so in that sense it was a good deal. The scallop appetizer was delicious, my husband and I agreed. With greens, very good mushrooms, and a touch of honey, yum. His main (veal with fresh peas and favas) was better than mine (baked halibut - good idea / sides, but fish overcooked). Flourless chocolate cake with olive oil ice cream was fine, not the best I've had but the ice cream was great.

                                      2. I went to Uni last Sunday for RW. The food was good but the entree and desert portions were tiny. The salmon was a small 3" x 2.5" piece. It was the smallest entree I've ever had in my life. I was hungry afterwards.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: southender

                                          need address

                                          -----
                                          Uni Sashimi Bar
                                          370 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA

                                        2. Had a great dinner at Meritage tonight. 4 choices each for app/entree/dessert. The only app I remember was the soft shell crab. Entrees included red snapper, duck with fennel and leek ravioli, and filet with horseradish mashed potatoes (forgot the forth). Dessert was a cheese plate, citrus plate (3 mini citrus-accented desserts), a red plate (mini shortcake, raspberry fluff, cherry tart), and something else. Wine pairing (j. lohr savignon blanc (I think), a french pinot noir, and a tawny port) was available for $16

                                          Arrived at 8pm, and we were immediately seated. I had the soft shell, duck, and red plate, along with the wine pairing, while my friend had the soft shell, snapper (she said it was dry; I had a taste and thought it good), and citrus plate. We both agreed that the red dessert tasting was better than the citrus, although both were good. Bread service included a baguette and a slice of wheat bread. The service was great, and didn't feel rushed at all. We finished around 9:45, so a 1:45 dinner. There seemed to be a number of empty tables at that point, so it may be that there was no pressure to get us out the order, but I truly felt that we were treated the same way we would have been during a non-RW week.

                                          This was a much better experience all-around than Mistral last night; I'm almost tempted to see if I can score another reservation for next week. Don't forget, free valet parking (with validation - our server was kind enough to remind my friend).

                                          -----
                                          Meritage Restaurant
                                          70 Rowes Wharf, Boston, MA 02110

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: wizzy99

                                            Ha ha, I had the exact same thing as you except just had a glass of prosecco to drink. And we got a piece of amazing date or fig bread w/ our roll and wheat. I thought the softshell was great along with the little corn stuff on the side. Duck was 3 tiny pieces but there was a good amount of leek ravioli and some green beans in there, so I ended up getting full. Altho 3 duck chunks seemed pretty skimpy. Friend had the salmon app which was nice and the snapper which definitely wasn't dry. The woman next to us at the bar had the pork stuffed w/ goat cheese (I think) app and that looked amazing. I think my friend's chocolate dessert beat the red dessert, the choc. espresso pot de creme was amazing.

                                            It was WAY more crowded this nite than when I went 2 years ago. We had 8PM reservations but were early and decided to just eat at the bar. He was kind of freaking out cuz all of a sudden, he had 9 people ordering dinner and he said he usually serves 9 dinners there the whole year. Unfortunately, they don't serve those amazing homemade vegetable chips they had a few years ago. Nice meal. You can always eat at the bar if you decide to go back, but there are quite a few places w/ lots of choices not just doing the steak and salmon thing.

                                          2. I had dinner at Catch in Winchester. It was okay. I haven't been there before, so this was my trial run and I don't know if I'll be back.

                                            Starters: my husband's mussels in a tomato and chorizo broth were delicious. My heirloom tomato salad was mealy and slightly cold. It consisted of six tomato wedges lined up on a plate, plus a few slivers of red onion -- you'd think the tomato would be something special.

                                            Entrees: we both got the striped bass, despite our usual policy of ordering different things. Fish was nicely cooked but a little bland and didn't especially go with the creamed corn underneath (which we both really liked). A scattering of sugar snap peas, cashews, and chanterelle mushrooms sauteed in garlicky oil was good but there wasn't much of it. The little bits of mushrooms were the best thing on the plate.

                                            Desserts: Chocolate semifreddo was pretty good, with some unexpected crunchy espresso-flavored sprinkles. Almond torte was tough and chewy. I preferred the lemon sorbet on top, but I thought it was too tart to go with the mellow almond.

                                            Service was very nice and I liked the cozy room. After all the raves I've heard, I was surprised that the food wasn't that great. Maybe it's just a RW thing.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: Pia

                                              Did you happen to notice if the sea bass ceviche was still on the menu as an app? What about the linguine/shellfish entree. This is another resto I picked based on the on-line menu and I don't think I even want to go if those are not on the menu any more. Thanks so much for your report!

                                              1. re: SEH

                                                I don't think I saw the ceviche. The only other apps I remember were corn soup and a mixed green salad. The linguine with mussels and clams is an entree option. Others were roasted pork tenderloin with bacon, and pan-roasted salmon with pistachio pesto and risotto. There were three dessert options -- in addition to the almond torte and chocolate semifreddo, there was a creme fraiche panna cotta with lavender peaches and, I think, oatmeal shortbread.

                                              2. re: Pia

                                                sorry, edited the duplicate post.

                                              3. Went to Sibling Rivalry on Sunday 8/10 (beginning of RW): I ended up with a better meal than my husband, but overall it was a solid effort. What I liked about this place was that there was easily 10 options in each of the app and the main course sections, so there was a lot of variety despite it being a Restaurant week menu. Husband got the mussel curry for app (Steamed Duxbury Mussels with mild yellow curry, radish sprouts and toasted peanuts) and soft shell crabs for main (Crispy fried soft shell crabs, creamed corn, steamed tuna and pork wontons and a Cherry Pepper vinegrette). He felt that his dishes were a little too ambitious, though - said the curry was thai-style and therefore a little too sweet for his taste, then found too much rice vinegar in his soft-shell crabs. The interplay of flavors in the sauces overwhelmed the basic ingredients, so although we could see the plump mussels and the softshell crabs, we only tasted the flavors of the sauces. I was happy with my seared duck breast in port sauce main dish, with its proscuitto-wrapped apricot that had been stuffed with goat cheese. However, I really liked the Moroccan-style Lamb Brik appetizer. Looking back, I don't remember where they put my poached egg, but the ground lamb was delicately spiced with cumin and the filo dough provided nice texture to the ground meat, keeping everything from being too mushy. We both ended with the chocolate mousse cake, which was tasty as expected. We were in and out in 1 hr - friendly but very swift service.

                                                1. I went to TW Food last night for RW. My DC and I really enjoyed it, so we'll be back. The service was great and the presentation of the food amazing. It was all almost too pretty to eat - I wish I'd had a camera. They gave us two amuse bouches to start - both tasty nibbles. There was a smoked egg with aioli on puff pastry that was fabulous and unlike anything I'd ever had before. There was only once choice for app and dessert, but we got different mains. App was a very tasty zucchini soup with vinegary/pickled zucchini and cucumber pieces. The flavors were really good together. For my main I had a quiche - goat cheese (I believe, it was very light), basil and zucchni. Wilted spinach, zucchini and a few other veggies surrounded it, and had spicy foam on top. Really beautiful and very tasty. My DC had the surf and turf - a piece of sausage and some bluefish. He said they were good, but nothing really special about them other than the presentation. He grabbed a bite of mine and was a bit jealous. Dessert was a panna cotta with a berry gelee on top served in a wine glass. Very good, but too rich for my DC. After dessert we got a small plate with some goodies including fresh mint truffles and a cookie. In all, a very solid RW experience.

                                                  1. We went to Hungry I for RW last night. It wasn't rushed, as most RW experiences are, but truly one of the worst meals I've ever had- snide flustered waiter (with practically no knowledge of the menu items, tried to add $12 extra onto our tab, huffed when we asked for more drinks, just to mention a few things), and more importantly, terrible food. Of the entrees, both the sole and schnitzel looked exactly the same- breaded sad lumps of meat with weepy side salads stuffed into iceberg lettuce caps. They tasted pretty much the same too, overbreaded, overcooked and dry. For dessert, the "chocolat-cappucino torte" tasted like it was sliced straight out of a freezer burned box, and the sauce it was swimming in tasted like a combo of Popov vodka and watery coffee grounds. Will never go back and hope no one tries this place. What a terrible night.

                                                    1. I was at Gaslight for dinner last night. We mixed and matched both restaurant week items with non. Two of us started with the restaurant week gazpacho with crab and avocado - nothing special here, more like a box of pomi tomatoes had been opened up and sprinkled with red pepper flakes. The crab and avocado were a nice addition, but still, mostly boring. Friend shared his avocado and white anchovies salad that was salty and tasty. Next I had the bar steak, which is truly fantastic - smothered in caramelized onions and mustard sauce, this steak was unbelievably good. Finally, we split the caramel crepes for dessert - well-made with creamy chocolate and caramel sauces as well as a good chantilly cream. I also have to recommend their completely affordable wine list - the Lilly Pad Pinot Noir was a recommendation from the server, who was quite professional.

                                                      Also stopped into Estragon beforehand for a snack and a cocktail - due to National Grid issues, they were only serving cold dishes and cocktails last night. I hope they get back up and running soon. The bartender shared with me a little taste of that gorgeous leg of ham they keep on their counter top - wow! Described as a step down from Iberico, this was fatty, strong and earthy, but not quite as funky. Does anyone know if they're back up and running at full capacity yet?

                                                      1. I had a RW lunch at L'Espalier yesterday. I've never been there, so I was really glad I went before the move, as the brownstone setting is just gorgeous yet not stuffy.

                                                        App choice was Heirloom tomato gazpacho or mesclun salad w/chèvre. I had gazpacho - it was okay, not great. A bit too acidic for my taste. Also, I had a really excellent gazpacho earlier this week at Toro (for RW as well), and I much preferred Toro's rendition.

                                                        Entree choice was Salmon or slow-roasted pork belly. I had the pork belly and it was incredible. The outside was crusty but inside was tender, juicy and very flavorful. Served with red bliss potatoes in a dijon mustard sauce.

                                                        Dessert was Valrhona chocolate cake.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: y2000k

                                                          It's hard to admit than L'Espalier can be bested by anyone but Toro's gazpacho is one of the best I've ever had.

                                                          Harp

                                                        2. Tried Stanhope Grill in Jury's Hotel last night with their RW menu.

                                                          We were meeting after work, so had an early reservation...6:30. But when we left at 8 the place was still largely deserted. In contrast, the nearby bar, Cuffs, seemed to be rocking.
                                                          The first course was either a Caesar "wedge" salad, or lobster bisque, which we ordered. The bisque was somewhat thinner than I prefer, but the flavor was very good, and the two minuscule pieces of lobster enough to prove it had been from that source.

                                                          Included in the five entree choices was duck breast, which I adore, and which was a large part of my choice of this restaurant. It arrived with a custard-cup sized arrangement of greens to one side, and six slivers (maybe one was a slice 2" long) of duck. It would have been skimpy for an appetizer-- hence the potatoes which were adequate. My companion enjoyed a much more normal sized piece of salmon, on grilled polenta, and a side vegetable.

                                                          The dessert choices were cheesecake with a fresh berry coulis, and a brownie with some sort of caramel topping. Both were full-sized, and yummy.

                                                          In the end we paid $120 including tip, one glass of wine each, and an order of fingerling potatoes. Somehow although I basically enjoyed the meal, the disappointing entree will be the part that sticks with me. Don't think I will be back.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: random amblings

                                                            People seem to be very skimpy with the duck lately if this and Meritage are examples.

                                                            And re: the Hungry I experience, didn't MC have a bad experience with a waiter full of attitude? I've wondered if I should go back there cuz it's been literally decades, but maybe not.

                                                          2. Has anyone went to Icarus for RW? I'm going next Tuesday and wanted to know if it was worth it or if i should just go another time off their regular menu.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: omarba

                                                              It's a similar menu to their anniversary dinner, comment on here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5444...

                                                            2. We made a reservation for Gas Light. I've heard amazing things-- can't wait to try it!

                                                              www.carrotsncake.com

                                                              1. Had an excellent experience at lunch today at Vlora in Copley Square. The RW menu is identical for lunch and dinner - perhaps they changes the portion size? Anyway, had a vegatarian moussaka for appetizer - served with a yogurt and cucmber & dill dressing. Delicious. Soaked up the dressing with a nice roll. Other choice was fried oysters. For main, had sea bass on a bed of ratatouille. The bass was done perfectly. Other choice was a 12oz ribeye. A lemon sorbet with berry sauce for desert. DC ordered off the a la cate menu so no comparisons. Overall, an excellent experience and good value. This place does a great job but suffers from its odd location. It was less than half full at lunch today.

                                                                -----
                                                                Vlora
                                                                545 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: BBHound

                                                                  We also had a great RW lunch at Vlora this week. Initially we were disappointed that the RW menu was so limited (only two dishes in each category), but the food was delicious, and the service excellent.

                                                                  I had the moussaka, which the waitress said was the best in town. When it was served, I didn't think so .... it was a deconstructed moussaka swimming in sauce. But, man, it was delicious. The sauce was scrumptious, and the eggplant and other vegetables cooked to perfection. My sister had the fried oysters, which were light and non-greasy with an excellent sweet-sour peach coulis on top.

                                                                  The sea bass with ratatouille was the best ... fresh and impeccably cooked. The rib eye steak was OK; it was cooked as ordered, though a bit too chewy.

                                                                  The desserts were not memorable. Lemon sorbet with raspberry sauce was refreshing, but not over-the-top The Greek pastry dish was not as fresh as it could have been. My co-worker brings in a version of this pastry made by a Greek woman in his neigborhood ... it's delicious and has spoiled me for all others.

                                                                  We sat on the open air patio, which was nice, but the people above look down on it. During our lunch, the place was fairly empty, which I agree is probably due to its' location. Overall, great food and service and I'd strongly recommend it.

                                                                  1. re: mlatim

                                                                    Thanks for sharing your experience! Because of BBHound and mlatim, I got the moussaka instead of the fried oysters (I got to try one of the 5 oysters from my friend's plate, and it was good, crispy outside and juicy inside), and so I got to enjoy the layers of veggies (they were served stacked up in a bowl, garnished with rosemary, and surrounded by a pool of cucumber yogurt sauce with drizzles of olive oil). The fish was really good, and served atop of the ratatouille, but the portion size was so much smaller looking than the steak with its vegetables and roasted balls of potato. We both had the galaktoboureko to end our meal - which was sweet, with a slightly grainy filling.

                                                                2. Two friends and I went to the Beehive for RW dining; I knew that the Beehive's reputation is... mixed, at best, so I didn't go in with real high expectations. I got there early and sat at the downstairs bar, ordered a couple of local brews (Fisherman's Brew and Long Trail) as well as a couple Pimms cups. The bartenders were friendly and attentive. However, it was super early, so, there's that. Very, very expensive. $7.50/each for 20oz beers and $10/each for Pimms Cups. We were seated for our 7pm reservation upstairs, at a sort of weirdly configured table - two 2-tops put together against the balcony wall so 2 people sat on the remaining long side and a seat on each short side. It was just a really weird layout for talking and sharing food, but whatever.

                                                                  The food: I ordered the corn and clam flatbread which was cheesy and delicious. My entree was the striped bass tacos which were pretty good- simple. The fish was grilled up nicely, the salsa accompaniment was nice, the rice and black beans were tasty and filling, nothing fancy. The avocado slices were starting to brown, which was sorta annoying but they tasted fine.

                                                                  Dessert was a choclate pot au creme with hazlenuts. Very rich- it was fine, but I couldn't finish it because I was really full at that point. The hazelnuts... very weird to chew, they were a little too hard, I had to spit a couple out, maybe they were shells?

                                                                  One of my DCs ordered the other options off the RW menu (there were only 2 for each course)- the stuffed pepper did not look great, but she didn't complain about it. Her chicken milanese was nice- the fresh cherry tomato slices that topped it made for an interesting acidity to brighten a pretty mild preparation. The polenta was fluffy and tasted fine- I only had a bite of it though. My other DC eschewed the RW menu and had the beef wellington bites as an appetizer- which was bready and beefy, I liked it - and the grilled cheese and shortrib sandwich which was VERY delicious and decadent.

                                                                  As I ran out early to catch a train at North Station, there were some shenanigans with the after dinner drinks not being right, but I left before I worked out exactly what the problem was.

                                                                  All in all, it was a fine eating experience. I'd been vaguely wanting to check it out (I rarely go out in the South End, so it is an occasion for me) for a while, and RW seemed to be a good time to do so. I was satisfied with my meal. Nothing transcendent, but tasty enough. I had fun. I'd go back again (early midweek again, the crowd vibe was just right for my liking) to have a beer and one of them grilled cheese and shortrib sandwiches. But if I found myself in the South End again, there are about a zillion other places I have yet to try first.

                                                                  (re-reading this entry before posting I see I used the words "fine" and "nice" a lot, which I think sums up my experience.)

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: noradeirdre

                                                                    I agree with just about everything said above the Beehive RW, I had an extraordinarily similar experience, with the exception that the pot de creme had a pretzel praline, there were no nuts, so my suspicion is that that's what was crunchy, the pretzels.

                                                                  2. Ate at Mistral off of the RW menu on Tuesday night. To put it politely, I was underwhelmed. I have given up trying out the top tier restaurants during RW, as it appears they just serve these items like fast food. Caesar Salad was forgettable, and the Steak Frites was comparable to a meal at Bugaboo Creek. The Frites had the look, taste, and consistency of the Potato Stix you used to find in a can. I try to temper my expectations during RW, but this meal was just flat-out disappointing.

                                                                    1. So this week I hit up Gargoyles On The Square and Aura - so far. Gargoyles hits are the green pea/green chile soup (with a fantastic chunk of brisket), the pork tenderloin was to die for but the panna cotta was as bland as cardboard. At Aura the stealk carpaccio was out of rhis world-presentation and taste, the blue marlin was good but not stellar - it's so hard to do a drier type fish like swordfish, and the rootbeer float and cookies dessert was a rare comfort treat that also worked incredibly well. Service at both places was exemplary-never rished. At Aura they make you feel like royalty. I guess it helps that Aura has snagged chef Rachek Klein away from Om in Harvard Square. If you didn't like Aura in the past try it again. Pictures of all the plates on the blog soon: www.thebostonfoodie.blogspot.com

                                                                      1. Has anyone tried Gaslight? Rialto?

                                                                        1. I just had a wonderful experience at Lumiere.
                                                                          Starters

                                                                          Sweet Corn Soup

                                                                          The Verill Farm sweet corn soup was more delicious than my dining partner and I ever imagined sweet corn soup could be. The soup was served piping hot (important, but something many restaurants find an impossible task) and smelled of delicious summer sweet corn. The soup was topped with a fresh roasted corn and black bean salsa that had just the perfect amount of jalapeno to add some kick every now and then. The soup’s flavor was complex — deep, aromatic, sweet — it was corn’s true essence captured in soup. The salsa is what made the soup go from excellent to superb; it added the necessary texture, acidity and heat to counter the smoky sweetness of the corn soup. The soup was so good that I’ve been craving it since I left and am tempted to return again this week to sample another steaming bowl.

                                                                          BLT Salad

                                                                          The BLT salad is a must for any BLT-lover. The fresh romaine lettuce was served with heirloom tomatoes (a personal favorite of mine for the variety in color, flavor and texture), bacon and a bacon-chive dressing. The bacon in the salad was crisp and flavorful, not that limp, soggy bacon you often get when you order a salad that has bacon as one of its main ingredients. The dressing worried me as bacon can often overpower every flavor, but it was a delicate balance of creamy dressing, chive flavor and bacon essence. The salad tasted fresh and unique and my dining partner has commented on how wonderful it was several times throughout our meal. If you are someone that enjoys a good BLT, make sure to try this salad.

                                                                          Entrees

                                                                          Chatham Bluefish

                                                                          The line caught Chatham bluefish was the most well-prepared bluefish I have sampled at any of Boston’s many restaurants. The bluefish was crisp on the outside, moist and tender on the inside. What made the fish so delectable was the mustard crust that enveloped it in bold, tantalizing flavor. As if that mustard crust was not enough, the tapenade vinaigrette, with the flavors of kalamata olives and balsamic vinegar only added to the complex and robust flavor of the fish. The summer vegetables served with the fish were a nice complement adding fresh flavor and texture. This was the favorite dish of the night — a fish with such well-rounded and strong flavors is something that you do not often find (even in New England). The bluefish was beautifully presented, the mustard-crusted fish atop its balsamic tapenade vinaigrette, sprinkled with summer vegetables. The variety of colors just added to the already appetizing aroma of the dish.

                                                                          Hake

                                                                          The Gloucester hooked Hake was also prepared well, crisp on the outside, moist and flaky on the inside. The hake, although dutifully executed, in no way matched the powerful flavors of the bluefish described above (which, when comparing the two, is our only criticism of this dish). The hake was a bit of a play on Spanish cuisine. Served in a parsley sauce that was just of the right consistency, the hake was complemented by chorizo, new potatoes and mussels. The chorizo was well-cooked and flavorful, served in slices that were later cut into 4 smaller triangles. The mussels were served out of their shell and were properly cooked so as not to be too chewy to be pleasurable. The hake, for those that enjoy chorizo and mussels and are able to appreciate how subtle flavors can come together to make a delicious dish, is a great choice. For those seeking striking flavor from the first bite, tastes that dance along your tongue, the bluefish is a better option than the hake. The hake had lovely presentation thanks to the contrast of the bright-green parsley sauce on which the crisp white fish sat, surrounded by the potatoes, mussels and chorizo.

                                                                          Dessert

                                                                          Lime Sorbet

                                                                          My disclaimer for the lime sorbet is that you must really enjoy lime if you order this dessert. The sorbet is freshly made from real limes and is as close to eating a lime as you will probably ever come. Paired with the Kimball Fruit Farm nectarine compote, the acidity of the lime is somewhat tamed, but not enough for those that are not able to handle sour fruit. The sorbet will definitely make your mouth pucker a bit when the acidic iciness first hits your taste buds. The sorbet does, however, provide a refreshing end to the meal. With the lime, mint and nectarine compote it is at times reminiscent of a mojito (minus the alcohol). The sorbet received mixed reviews. I will say that the sorbet is well made and I appreciate that Lumière did not load the sorbet with sugar to cover up the true tartness of the fresh lime. If you are one that enjoys tart citrus or are looking for a fresh end to a delicious meal, the sorbet is a good option. If you do not fit the description above, then another option might be best for you. The sorbet was presented wonderfully in a highball glass, two scoops enveloped by the nectarine compote and dotted with fresh mint leaves.

                                                                          Blueberry Shortcake

                                                                          The blueberry shortcake fulfilled all the requirements of a delicious shortcake (Meritage could learn a thing or two here). The biscuits were baked perfectly, light and airy and sweet thanks to the lightest sprinkling of sugar on the biscuit top. The local blueberries were quite fresh and cooked without excessive sweeteners so that they retained their wonderful fresh blueberry flavor. The lemon chantilly cream was light and had only the slightest lemon flavor, the perfect accent to the satisfying blueberries. The presentation was, again, wonderful. The slightly open biscuit was topped with the lemon chantilly cream and a spoonful of the deep blue-purple blueberries, additional blueberries lining the plate.
                                                                          ~InspiredChef
                                                                          http://beantownsbites.wordpress.com/

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: InspiredChef

                                                                            I order soup as a starter whenever I go to Lumiere and it's always been outstanding.

                                                                            1. re: InspiredChef

                                                                              Wow, Inspired Chef, very detailed review-covers everything and sounds like a great experience. Thanks so much for the info.

                                                                            2. I had RW lunch at Sandrine's today, and it was very nice. Only choice was for the entree, so started with mixed greens, then had a delicious grilled pork loin with herb sauce over excellent pomme frites (thin & crispy). Dessert was a berry crumble with vanilla ice cream. With one glass of Pinot Gris and one of red Burgundy, and a coffee, it came to $50. Service was great.

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: wrenhunter

                                                                                I just made a new reservation for Sandrine's as I missed mine last week. Are they still offering the lobster salad for lunch wrenhunter?

                                                                                1. re: WilliamTheFoodie

                                                                                  Sorry, I don't eat fish, so I have a real blindspot for seafood. I believe the same 3 entree choices listed on their website last week were the ones available Tuesday.

                                                                              2. A mixed bag at Pigalle this week (my first time there)

                                                                                It definitely felt like Restaurant Week when we first walked in. Jam-packed with servers who seemed a bit...harried. We had a bit of a wait when we got there so we tried to get a drink. The bartender was extremely busy though, between filling table orders and tending to customers outside. We were the only ones waiting for the a drink at the bar, but she was just too swamped. We were seated after a short wait though, so not a huge deal.

                                                                                We were seated at a very comfortable banquette. Lovely room, and I can see why this place always comes up in the "romantic restaurant" category. Our server was very prompt, gracious and knowlegable. We didn't get a "we know you don't normally eat here" vibe at all. I think the only service misstep was that we weren't offered coffee until our desserts arrived, and by the time it came they were almost gone. Par for the course when you order three courses ahead of time, maybe?

                                                                                On to the food. We all enjoyed our appetizers.

                                                                                Me: Roasted Beet Salad with Confit Potato, Granny Smith Apple, Candied Walnuts and Horseradish Vinaigrette. This was mostly very good. Lots of different tastes, textures and temperatures. The only thing I didn't like were the walnuts, which tasted strongly of cinammon. It's is not my favorite spice with savory items, so I'll chalk that up to personal preference.

                                                                                DC#1: Tuna Martini with Seaweed Salad, Spicy Crème Fraîche and Tobiko Roe. This was delicious and looked really pretty too.
                                                                                DC#2: 4 oysters (we didn't ask which kind, the menu didn't specify) on the half shell. He had no complaints.
                                                                                DC#3: Arugula salad with bacon and parmesan crisps. It was fine.

                                                                                Second course was where the disappointment set in.

                                                                                Me: Grilled Tuna, Potato Cake, Succotash of Green Vegetables and Basil Sauce. It wasn't a great-looking dish. The succotast was kind of a muddy green color, and that was topped with with the beige potato cake topped with the gray-ish tuna. No garnish, so sauce on top, nothing to make the plate look prettier. Worse, it wasn't a great-tasting dish either. The tuna was cooked medium rare as ordered, but the whole thing was really, really bland. It needed salt or acid or something. The potato cake was dry and the peas in the succotash were hard and mealy.

                                                                                DC 2&3: Pigalle's Lobster Fra Diavolo with Pappardelle Pasta and Peas. Neither of them liked this at all and I didn't either. The pasta was undercooked as were the peas, and the whole dish tasted overwhelmingly of saffron. No heat at all. Calling it Fra Diavlo is kind of a stretch.

                                                                                DC#4: Roasted Sweet and Sour Beet Risotto with Parmesan Tuile and Spiced Carrot Foam. It didn't look how I expected. Instead of risotto with beets in it, it was purple-red risotto that tastes overwhelmly of beets and little else. It sat in a pool of carrot foam which also didn't give it any real contrast of flavor. We all agreed it would have been okay as an appetizer but was too much for an entree.

                                                                                Third course was a mixed bag:

                                                                                Me: Coconut panna conna in strawberry soup. This was good. The coconut taste was fairly subtle. It could have used a little more soup though. It was more like a sauce than a soup.

                                                                                DC#2 & 3: Chocolate Marquis with Cherries. Good but too rich. It was like a large slab of fudge. It needed ice cream or contrasting fruit or something.

                                                                                DC#4: Stone fruit and rhubarb cobbler with ice cream. This was delicious. A very homey-tasting dessert.

                                                                                I know it's RW, so I certainly don't think this is necessarily indicative of what Pigalle is capable of. But at the same point, given the normal menu prices, this experience doesn't make me want to rush back, either.

                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                  Hmm thanks for the detailed review. We have a rez for next week...wondering if there is any entree you'd recommend? Doesn't look like it, but thought I'd ask...

                                                                                  1. re: twentyoystahs

                                                                                    To Pigalle's credit, they did have several entree options for both appetizers and entrees. The menu is on the website, but I do remember a crispy duck and steak frites being among them.

                                                                                    1. re: twentyoystahs

                                                                                      Oh, and to actually answer your question, the tuna might have been much improved with some lemon and salt. The beet risotto, I just thought was overly sweet for an entree (a personal preference or a kitchen misstep? I don't feel qualified to determine), but the Fra Diavlo just seemed wrong.)

                                                                                    2. re: LeoLioness

                                                                                      6 of us went to Pigalle last night, and had just about the same experience. A bit disappointing, but not overall horrible. I would agree with all responses that LeoLioness wrote, but we did also get the duck. The DCs that got it said it was fine, but nothing special, and it was served on what was described as a tasteless corn cake. Oddly, one person got cherry sauce on top (and quite a bit at that) and the other didn't. I did get the risotto and agree that it tasted like beets and nothing else. However, when it arrived it was crunchy. I mentioned it to the waiter and he said that is how it was meant to be - al dente. I suggested he might want to check with the chef since al dente would be fine, but crunchy seemed wrong. After about 5 minutes he came back to my table because the chef agreed that it was severely underdone, and he whisked my plate away. 10 min later I got back an al dente risotto.

                                                                                      My three other small complaints were: First, we were never given the opportunity to order more drinks (we were there for 2 hours). At the beginning of our meals we ordered a round of drinks (though we weren't prompted to, and after ordering meals had to specifically request drinks). Second: the bread served at the beginning was stale - like it had been sitting out in the kitchen for at least a couple hours in the basket. Third: we were there for a birthday which I'd said when I made the reservation. When we arrived I pointed out the birthday girl and they said they'd bring a candle. They didn't.

                                                                                      In all, the server was very nice, but "harried" (as described above), and the food was just ok.

                                                                                      1. re: soxchik

                                                                                        I can only imagine what Gordon Ramsay would have done with the crunchy risotto. "Shut it DOWN!" ;-) Glad you got a replacement.

                                                                                    3. Had my third and final RW dinner at the Palm. I've eaten at the Palm for years, first in NYC, then Chicago, and this is my third visit to this location. I won't go into menu details as they're posted online, but will outline my selections.

                                                                                      Started with the lobster bisque. Good as always, although it did seem like they skimped on the lump lobster they typically garnish the dish with. I kind of wish I'd gone for the wedge with blue cheese and bacon.

                                                                                      The entree was a no-brainer. Twin tenderloin filets with lobster mashed potatoes. Filets were perfect medium rare, and the potatoes had large chunks of lobster embedded. Served with a side of onion straws and cottage fries (I always thought these were waffle-cut fries, but here they're homemade potato chips - doesn't matter, good stuff!). Dessert was their trusty key lime pie.

                                                                                      I ate the bar, arriving around 6:30pm. I had looked online, and no reservations were showing between 5:30-9pm. The bar eventually filled up, a combination of people waiting for tables and choosing to sit at the bar. The bar service was no different than other visits, extremely competent and professional but focused on regulars. Seemed like the bartenders were on a first name basis with many of their customers.

                                                                                      In terms of my RW experiences the past two weeks, I'd rank them:
                                                                                      1) Meritage
                                                                                      2) Palm
                                                                                      3) Mistral

                                                                                      -----
                                                                                      Palm Restaurant
                                                                                      200 Dartmouth St., Boston, MA 02116

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: wizzy99

                                                                                        Great post Wizzy! I often forget about The Palm but it IS a reliable feed with classy service.

                                                                                      2. We went to Great Bay the other night for the RW menu, and our experience confirmed my pre-existing ambivalent feelings about the place. The service was friendly and efficient. The "ghost of mary" cocktail (a spicy tomato-water version of a bloody mary) is wonderful, but like everything there, way overpriced.

                                                                                        I started with the heirloom tomato & watermelon salad, which did not strike me as very heirloom-worthy at all. There is a far better incarnation of that same dish right now at Highland Kitchen for far less money.

                                                                                        My skate wing was fine; in fact it was fileted/boneless so it was easier to eat than I've had elsewhere (Rendezvous Central Square most recently). Still nothing that special.

                                                                                        I rarely eat desert, so I regret wasting those calories on the peanut butter/ butterscotch ice cream cookie. It was tough to eat: too stiff and solid to breach with the spoon and fork provided, and once I requested a knife, that just crushed it into a thousand crumbs.

                                                                                        Some DCs had the crispy pork belly, which was very flavorful but awfully fatty.

                                                                                        If I go back there in the future, it will only be because ESK is overflowing with pre-Sox patrons.

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                                                                                        1. re: triple creme

                                                                                          Husband and I went to Harvest on Wednesday night. We both had food from the restaurant week menu. Wonderful! He had gone there last year during restaurant week, and reported good things. This time, we both had the heavenly "corn soup," roast pork tenderloins (unusually tasty in this day of boring dry pork), and then we tried two different desserts. I really cannot remember being disappointed at Harvest, except if it was too full for me to get a table at the last minute. The service was great, too. Husband also ordered the foie gras appetizer a la carte, and loved it.