We ventured over to Blue, Inc. last night to try Jason Santos' new spot on Broad Street. Here are some general thoughts I had:
- The layout is very smart and makes efficient use of that small space. They brought in a quasi celebrity designer to set the place up, so this is expected. There do seem to be things she missed, though. For example, the bar surface is granite but it has a mosaic glass inlay. Unfortunately the inlay is not flush with the granite so you get a surface that's not flat which is going to lead to a lot of spilled drinks.
- The cocktail list is underwhelming. All of the tricks with liquid nitrogen are cool and all, but the drinks should still taste good. We tried 4 cocktails. 2 were a hit (if a little light on the alcohol content), and 2 were misses.
-The food we sampled was quite good, though I do have questions if a menu like that will work in that neighborhood. The house made pretzel bread is a nice touch. The mussels, pizza and burgers from the bar menu all are things that should sell pretty well. I'm not sold on the actual dinner menu.
- I found it odd that Santos himself was not in the kitchen, but overseeing the dining room. I understand that he has to schmooze some of the guests, but I kind of wish he'd drop the "I came in second on Hells Kitchen" schtick, and get back to cooking. If it were me, I would be overseeing every plate that left the kitchen to make sure it was perfect during that first week.
Thanks for the review. Do you know whether the bar menu offerings are available throughout the restaurant or are restricted to the bar area? Also, what food did you sample?
I think you might be taking my words a little too literally, but I guess I could have been clearer too. As I said, I would expect him to "be overseeing every plate that left the kitchen." I don't actually expect him to be on the line. My point was that we were there for an extended period of time, and I never saw him leave the dining room. As Gordough points out, it's pretty hard to ensure that your cooks are doing a good job when you're not in the kitchen.
To answer the other questions...
Food: We had the burger and the mussels. Both were quite good. Really enjoyed the waffle cut fries and house made ketchup that came with the burger. The burger wasn't on the level of some of the better burgers in Boston (Radius, Craigie), but it was at a much lower price point too.
Drinks: I forget the slightly ridiculous names, but we tried (1) the one with root beer - hard to not like this if you like root beer (2) the drink with strawberries and mint - also enjoyed this (3) the drink special which was more a less margarita with fruit juice - too sweet for me (4) the manhattan with white whiskey - really strong, not balanced, I wouldn't order it again