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2010 Winter RW Report

Kick-off is today. Is it okay to have a thread where people post their meal reports?

I'll start:
We ate at BiNA tonight. http://www.restaurantweekboston.com/r...
3 apps choices, 3 entree choices, 2 dessert choices.

We both had the slow braised beef tongue minestrone. Delicious! Beef tongue is flavorful and melt-in-your-mouth tender. Lovely, lovely dish.

Husband had wild boar goulash w/3 cheese polenta. The wild boar flavor is very mild, and he couldn't detect any cheese in the polenta. But still a nice dish.

I had the Maltagliati. While the menu says "homemade chestnut pasta", I can't detect chestnut flavor. But the pasta is great and the chicken/mushroom ragout is lovely. [It's sort of a broth/light cream white sauce; not red sauce.

]

We both had tiramisu with tiramisu gelato for dessert. Huge portion and tasty.

Overall, we were pleased with the dinner menu. Service was a bit slow when we arrived, they were still busy from the matinee crowd having early dinner.

Another plus was that they happily accepted our Groupon GC with the RW special.

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  1. We ate at La Morra last night (on Route 9 in Brookline, corner of Route 9 and Washington). In addition to their listed restaurant week menu, they had a few extra antipasti and entrees printed on a separate list (probably rotating). Four courses as usual for their restaurant week menu. I had the fried chicken livers with broccoli rabe and fried polenta - the polenta was a star. Very loose and creamy but nice crust. DC had the farro porcini soup, which turned out to be a hearty stew-like concoction with red wine (we've never had farro, but it's similar to barley in texture). Primi: husband got the oyster mushroom risoto, where there was a lot of mushrooms and a great al dente texture. I ordered the chestnut ravioli - four little squares of sweetened chestnut with orange zest, in a broth. The orange zest overwhelmed the chestnut flavor. For mains, DC got the chef's seasonal vegetable plate, which was surprisingly filling: sweet potato puree, grilled radicchio, broccoli rabe and pea greens. My monkfish was a sizable portion, with a celery root puree and broccoli rabe. Dolci course was a maple panna cotta and apple crostini - the crostini was a bit much after the other three dishes, but the panna cotta was a perfect end. Service was pretty good until the last course (dolci), which probably took a while because of the crostini, but the panna cotta came out a little liquidy from sitting out for longer than expected. Overall pretty pleased with this reliable restaurant.

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    La Morra
    48 Boylston Street, Brookline, MA 02445

    1. Went to Tangierino w/three friends last night. The menu we were handed at the restaurant was quite different from the one on their website, but in a good way - seemed to have more options than the online version.

      We started with some decent Sangria, accompanied by some tasty bread and hummous with some large spicy green olives plopped on top. Appetizers were v. good all around - one chicken b'stilla, two had lamb merguez, and I had a Morrocan-Sicilian eggplant "tagine", which was really more of a timbale, layers of crispy fried eggplant with goat cheese in between, topped with a very tasty Morrocan tomato sauce called Charmoula. I gobbled it up, which was embarrassing as my DCs offered me tastes of their appetizers (which a took) and I had nothing to offer in return. I would definitely order this again.

      For dinner, one DC has the roast chicken which came with an order of their vegatable couscous; another got the lamp kebabs which came with truffled rosemary mashed potatoes (?), and the other DC and I got the short ribs which also came with the veggie couscous. The roast chicken was pronounced "delicious", and the lamb kebabs also disappeared quickly. The short ribs were a bit fatty but flavorful. The veggie couscous was really some of the best I have had - the couscous light but toothsome, with a layer of onions, chickpeas, and root vegetables on top. A flavored broth was offered with the couscous which added some complexity to the flavor - the dish would have been a bit bland otherwise.

      Dessert was either a mango mousse or a chocolate raspberry cake. Both were tasty, though the mousse was too sweet on its own, and the chocolate cake layers were a bit dry (which the fudgelike inter-layers and ribbon of raspberry filling helped to ameliorate). We agreeed that the best possibility here was to get a bit of both, with the dark chocolate flavor of the cake cutting the sweetness of the mango mousse.

      All in all, it was a good dinner, with most of us toting leftovers. The room was a bit empty, but I attribute that to the weather, at least in part.

      One note - the restuarant offers valet parking, but at $15. We decided to self-park and walk a few blocks, even in this weather. $15 is a bit steep and we decided that money would be better used for Sangria!

      1. Went to Miel for dinner last night. Bread basket was delicious - had an interesting whole-grain baguette that was divine with the olive oil. Wait staff seemed very annoyed that we got a bottle of San Pellegrino instead of wine and must have asked us 8 times if we wanted anything else to drink - no means no, thanks! Menu included 2 things that weren't on the RW website on their menu - you had to pay an $8 premium for each, crab cake and steak frites, if I'm not mistaken. I'm a vegetarian, so I went with the pan-fried gnocchi entree - it was absolutely fantastic, pillowy-soft and complimented perfectly with one of their house specialty olive oils. The tomato tart appetizer was lovely. The chocolate torte, however, was ice-cold and served with an unpleasantly bitter raspberry sauce. The olive oil ice cream it was served seemed closer to a sorbet, but that didn't make it any less delicious!
        It was nice overall, but definitely had a case of high highs and low lows, I don't think I'd return on a non-RW.

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        Miel "Brasserie Provencal"
        510 Atlantic Ave, Boston, MA 02110

        1 Reply
        1. re: awhitehouse

          Went to Miel for lunch on Saturday. Food was pretty decent -- I tried the pistou soup (less exciting than I'd hoped), crab cake, and gnocchi (very flavorful). Both desserts were pretty good but nothing special. Portions were on the small side, but with the three courses, we all left full.

          Service, however, was very strange: after we arrived, I watched them remove the RW menus from the menus. I asked if they were having the RW lunch, and the host proceeded to put them back in and ask, "Do you like RW?" Then, our server told us (before ordering): "if you're ordering off the RW menu, it might take a while because the kitchen is just starting those." This was at 12:45pm. Then we didn't get a bread basket even though other tables did (maybe this is normal with RW though?). And finally, Opentable tells me today that I didn't honor the reservation, meaning the host didn't take care of that (though I definitely gave my name).

        2. Ate at Market at the W Hotel. Nice shrimp salad, parmesan-encrusted chicken, molten chocolate cake. Super-attentive service.

          6 Replies
          1. re: TheScribe

            I'm going to Market for RW this week- any recommendations? Will post my thoughts afterwards. Really looking forward to it, and hoping they don't mail it in because its RW (always a risk).

            1. re: cbw_chowfan

              I highly recommend the Parmesan Crusted Chicken. The Striped Bass is good too.

              Also I posted a longer review for Market on this site. See link below.

              http://www.chow.com/restaurants/91297...

              1. re: cbw_chowfan

                I ate at Market last night, I don't think any of us even realized it was restaurant week until we saw the menus.

                I liked the tuna appetizer a lot, it had an interesting crust on it that went well with the creamy sauce. The truffle pizza was also quite nice with some good truffle flavor. I had the striped bass which I thought was delicious. It had a lot of black pepper in the crust (I love pepper) and the sauce made me wish I had something to soak it up with at the end. Everyone seemed to like the parmesan chicken as well.

                The molten chocolate cake had a delicious center but the dark chocolate sauce on the plate tasted oddly skunky, like maybe it got burnt or something. I was sad that the passionfruit souffle was not on the RW menu, as I loved it on my last visit.

                I don't think you can go wrong with any of the RW choices, as I had the third entree choice, the short ribs, on my last visit, and it was also excellent, very rich with interesting flavors from a sauce incorporating apple, and rosemary breadcrumbs.

                My two visits to Market have been on Christmas and now during RW, and both times they offered their regular menu and everything was prepared very nicely with friendly service. Consequently Market is one of my favorite newer restaurants in town.

              2. re: TheScribe

                Hit market for lunch Tuesday.
                2 had the crispy clams 2 had the squash soup, all plates were clean
                get a second piece of bread to sop up the last of the soup or calm foam

                Salmon, chicken and burger were all good
                Med rare burger cooked perfectly, though tomato slice and lettuce combine to
                make the burger a little slippery

                salted caramel ice cream was excellent, lava cake solid
                cookie plate looked good, lots of small treats

                lunch service was long be prepared for 1.5 hours, or don't hesitate to tell them
                you aren;t looking to lounge

                1. re: TheScribe

                  Was at Market for lunch Thursday. Concur with other posts that their RW lunch is excellent. Both DC and I had the shrimp salad, parmesan chciken and molten chocolate cake. DC particularly raved about the shrimp salad. Service excellent. We did not feel rushed but were done in about 1 hour.

                  1. re: TheScribe

                    I ate lunch @ Market today. Even though on RW official website it is listed as offering both LIGHT Lunch and regular lunch, when I asked my server, she told me they only offer the 3-course lunch but not 2-course version. http://www.bostonusa.com/visit/restau...

                    Anyway, I started with crispy clams. It was fine but not outstanding. Too much batter, in a way that I could barely taste the clams.

                    I picked the salmon entree, and WOW that was good. Salmon was cooked perfectly; sits on top a bed of creamy mashed potatoes (no doubt with lots of butter). The salmon was topped with shredded brussel sprouts. They were delicious - so good that I asked my server how it was cooked so that I can replicate this at home. I also love the truffle vinaigrette, which has a touch of lemon juice & Dijon mustard in it.

                    I had the signature molten chocolate cake w/vanilla ice cream. I was so stuffed that I couldn't even finish the chocolate cake (and this is coming from someone who loves chocolates loves desserts).

                    I ordered their passion fruit-chilli soda. It's passion fruit soda with a "kick" - pretty good too.

                    Service was PERFECT, I really cannot find fault with anyone, from the hostess to the manager to my server. I'm definitely going back there for their $55 prix-fixe some time.

                    -----
                    Market by Jean-Georges
                    100 Stuart Street, Boston, MA 02116

                  2. Went to Gargoyles last night with a friend, not because it was RW, but because we do enjoy the bar there. I ordered strictly from the RW menu and my DC mixed it up a little bit ... it's nice they give you the flexibility to order off the bar menu and not confine you to the prix fixe.

                    Gargoyle's RW menu can be found here --> http://www.gargoylesrestaurant.com/ol...

                    I started with the pork shoulder appetizer which was delicious. Melting chunks of pork shoulder over grilled bread with tomatoes, basil, mushroom oil. The roasted tomatoes were particularly notable given how crummy tomatoes are right now. Roasting sweetened them up and the whole thing came together really nicely. For anyone else, that and a glass of wine would be a satisfactory light meal.

                    For my main course I chose the butter roasted chicken ... I usually don't order roast chickie in restaurants but this appealed to me because of the Gruyere bread pudding. To my surprise, the chicken was wonderful -- crispy skin, light buttery veloute, and lovely little baby carrots. The bread pudding was okay, could have used more gruyere flavor actually.

                    Highlight for me was the dessert ... a salty caramel cheesecake that was preposterous. Big crystals of salt (Maldon Sea Salt?) cut the sweetness and the creaminess of the cheesecake and pulled the whole thing together for me. I never rave about dessert but this was outstanding. The pastry chef was enjoying a post-shift beverage and I raved at him like the complete nutter I am.

                    Paul mixed up his Sangria for me (not as summery as it sounds, plenty of cinnamon and cloves to make it more seasonal) and my friend had a nice glass of Sauvignon Blanc. She also had the asparagus soup with two-hour egg and the brisket sandwich from the bar menu. Brisket was served with fried pickles and a bowl of coleslaw. Both delicious. She had the cheese plate for dessert which hopefully she will comment on.

                    Of course, like all RW meals the bill came to more than expected but it was really delicious food in a cozy setting where we could catch up. I'd recommend this menu to anyone wanting to try Gargoyles and get a feel for what they do in the kitchen.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: yumyum

                      YY, if you are raving about a dessert, I, too, must try it asap (I am not a dessert gal, either). Our last meal there was a little disappointing (pulled pork sandwich for B, some Asian-y veggie entree for me that were both ho-hum; our friends, new to Gargoyles, LOVED their burgers, though). We have one more week as Somervillians...we've picked Gargoyles as the place for our "last supper." Drats that it's RW - we forgot.

                      1. re: yumyum

                        Friend here. The soup was AMAZING - early spring in a bowl. The crispy prosciutto was possibly a little unnecessary, but I loved it so I'm not really complaining.

                        The brisket sandwich was fantastic. Fork tender brisket, a hint of blue cheese and nicely grilled bread. There could have been a few more onion rings on top, but it's a minor issue. This was definitely a fork and knife sandwich and could have been served open face. Fried pickles were lovely as was the coleslaw.

                        My only real "complaint" on the night was the bread that came with the cheese plate. It was garlic bread - very garlicky garlic bread. Lovely for a pre-dinner snack but a bit too savory for after-dinner. I'd have preferred just simple crackers or the same bread without the garlic. The cheese,fruits and truffled honey were delightful though, so don't feel too bad for me.
                        This was definitely a meal that reminded me to go back to Gargoyle's more often - it's a great place, especially on a dreary Sunday night.