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Curious about Sensing

Has anyone been to Sensing? I just read the NY Times article about travelling to Boston, and it mentions it. I searched the board here and couldn't find mention of it.

I was just wondering...

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  1. Sensing does not get a lot of attention on this board, but I enjoyed it on my couple of visits.

    The chef is turning out innovative and creative dishes; I recommend it.

    A brief post on my first visit:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5879...

    3 Replies
    1. re: rlove

      Thanks for the link- I wonder why it didn't come up in my search? I knew it was weird that there was NOTHING here about it.

      1. re: noradeirdre

        Search by "Relevance"rather than "Newest First".

        1. re: Alcachofa

          Ah, thanks. Excellent tip.

    2. Rather pricey New French, emphasis on artfully composed platings (good example in my Stuff review from last year). I liked it, but I don't think I was as wowed as some reviewers. Not the most charming room, a bit cold and modern, but the patio looks nice for warmer weather. Decent bartending. Open kitchen, fun to watch the action. Not hard to drop a bundle on wine.

      http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

      1 Reply
      1. re: MC Slim JB

        I liked it the one time I've been, and I actually like the appearance of the room, although I found the service very polite but very confused and the food, while good, was more expensive than better food elsewhere in the city. Then again, I went shortly after they opened, and I would like to try them agian, just haven't gotten around to it yet.

      2. I went for Restaurant Week this past August and enjoyed my experience though the service was painfully slow. The dishes are definitely inventive, but in a very good way.

        1. I had a pretty good experience at Sensing in October, when I tried them out for their half-priced entree promotion, "Make Sense of Mondays" (now on Thursdays). I had the oxtail terrine as an appetizer and the venison as an entree. Both were nicely presented and executed, with an interesting balance of flavors. I also tried my DC's tuna tartare and lemongrass cod. I preferred the tartare, but the cod was good too--just a bit mild for my taste, especially compared to the other dishes. Service was courteous and competent, and the space simple but elegant. That being said, I don't think I would return and pay full-price. I wasn't blown away by anything, and there are plenty of great options in Boston at a much better value. But the entree deal was a bargain and a great way to try them out.

          However, I can't help but wonder about Sensing's viability. The dining room was maybe 20% full that night. The location isn't great, and the price points aren't market-friendly. The launch of new promotions for Monday-Thursday may be another indicator that they are struggling for business.

          3 Replies
          1. re: ilovedessert

            That's probably why they did a massive Groupon promotion a month or so ago -- they were doing a $50 gift certificate for $20, and they they sold a TON of them. I'm betting it brings in a lot of business, but I don't know if they'll get a lot of repeats. I got a groupon for MrLit and I, and one for a friend. Due to menu prices, it's likely none of us would be going there if not for the deal.

            1. re: litchick

              So stupid me brought my Groupon reading only the part that one could be used for parties of 1-4, not reading that it couldn't be used at the bar. That was a drag. We didn't order crazy stuff but it would have been better with the coupon. They had a pear cocktail and I asked if he could mix it with some ginger I saw on another drink, he asked if I liked sake and if I trusted him and came up with a tasty cocktail, for a couple bucks more than the already high $13 but what can you do? Friend enjoyed her Moscow Mule on my rec. I got the Wed. special of the "chicken lollipops" or whatever they call this plate of little chicken wings. Which came with fries too so that was the best $1 ever spent. DC started with a small beet risotto which she loved then she got the grilled veggie sandwich (w/ fries and some greens) and I got the lobster roll ($16 w/ fries, he gave me extra salad). I liked her sandwich better, good grilled veggies, good bread. The lobster "roll" was open face (maybe I didn't read that) and not so lobstery and I think there might have been pineapple in it. Definitely something conflicting with pure lobster enjoyment. We had a fun time but it's in a nowhere location and I wasn't thrilled enough to make a point of going there. We happened to run into a Sensing regular at the Lucca (north end) bar and he said he couldn't believe they wouldn't honor my coupon. Whatever, will have to eat a real dinner there before the end of April.

              1. re: Joanie

                Joanie, Thanks for the alert to read the fine print on those deals. I could have done the same thing but decided I would wait until it warmed up to go there. We prefer eating at bars.

                And, thanks for the lobster roll warning.

                Penny
                http://www.bostonzest.com/

          2. There are better options if you are heading to Boston. Ate there often when they first opened, The food is good (high quality, detailed prep), portions small, but the room is design is very generic. The bar is very small. Sitting at the open kitchen is the best vantage point from my perspective. Unfortunately, it has not remained on my "short list" of places to go.

            1. I sat at the bar for drinks and snacks. It was a pretty sophisticated vibe, but I felt that everything was overpriced for what I got. EXCEPT that it was Friday night and they have a special, a dozen oysters for $14. That was a great deal, and they were fresh with a nice onion mignonette. We also got the "nachos" with chorizo. Disappointing. It was melted cheese with chorizo in a little bowl, corn chips in another bowl, and some salad greens in a third bowl (with no dressing...I wasn't sure what to do with them but my DC put them on her nachos).

              4 Replies
              1. re: Suze123

                I thought a lot of the bar menu was pretty reasonable. $16 for a lobster and fries (a real lobster roll that is) is a good deal, $11 for the veggie sandwich and fries isn't bad. I think the burger was around $12 which is typical, they had a cubano and a few others in the same range which is good for that style hotel. My side of salad greens was certainly dressed, a tad too much maybe.

                1. re: Joanie

                  Those prices don't seem out of line for bar dining at the fancy restaurant in that level of hotel. The dining room prices are a little more eye-popping, though.

                  http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                    Just to clarify, I thought it was overpriced for what I got. A handful of nachos and cheese with a small amount of chorizo melted into it (I think it was $12). My cocktail was simply "ok."
                    2 cocktails, 2 glasses of wine, 2 apps, with tip was just over $100. I guess I would be okay paying that if I really loved what I got...

                    1. re: Suze123

                      I do think the cocktails are substandard for what they charge: I think one drink I got was like $17, crazy.

                      http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

              2. We finally redeemed our groupon the other night, and were not super impressed. The space screams hotel restaurant, which I know it is, but I expected something a bit more refined. Not fancy, but perhaps simply more stylish -- more in keeping with the hotel lobby. The outdoor seating is nice and on the water, with the plus being that you can call ahead to reserve an outdoor spot AND you can get the more moderately-priced bar menu out there.

                Our server was supremely nice, but not terribly accomplished. Example: he swung between giving us too little and too much time when taking orders, following up, etc. I might have expected this if the place were busy, but it wasn't the night we went. Again -- at a joint with a lower price point, I wouldn't really mind, but at a place like Sensing, I'd expect more expert service.

                Atmosphere aside, the food was ...ok. I found one of their signature items, oysters with shallot gratinee, to be very disappointing. The shallot gratinee was so overpowering and pungent that I couldn't taste the oysters. My fish and MrLit's chicken were decent, but in many ways each dish was unbalanced. Some aspects shone, but some fell flat or felt clunky on the plate -- both entrees were unharmonious. For a place at this price point, this seems really amateur.

                Pluses: Our waiter brought us a plate of complimentary sweets at the end of the meal, including phenomenal dark chocolate balls filled with chilled olive oil. We also had two absolutely excellent drinks, with the stand-out being the cilantro sting. Too bad the drinks are so incredibly expensive.

                My overall impression is that the bar and the pastry are close to top-notch, but the mains, atmosphere, and service are just so-so. I really look forward to partaking of the bar menu and drinks on the outdoor patio a few times this summer, but I won't do the formal dining there again. Too pricey for what you get, even WITH the groupon.

                1 Reply
                1. re: litchick

                  My experience completely resonates with yours, litchick. I went there during restaurant week, tried to like it, but was pretty disappointed. The gory details are in this thread:

                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6946...

                  I know judging a restaurant by their RW performance isn't always fair, but a well-run kitchen just shouldn't fall this flat, especially at this price point.