We broke out the tandem last night to bike down the street and check out Tonic: http://www.tonicboston.com.
Interior: Someone had the bright idea to upholster the chairs in green embossed pleather. The bar pulsated in neon green and orange lights along to a Katy Perry beat. The music wasn't overwhelming though and the service was very solicitous.
Drinks: The cocktail list looked vodka-tini heavy, though the draft beer list had a number of craft favorites: Pretty Things Jack D'Or, Kentucky Bourbon Aged Ale, Cisco Grey Lady, Allagash White. DH had a gin martini with blue cheese olives and I went for a perfectly serviceable St. Clair Estates Pinot Noir.
Parsnip Chowder with Candied Bacon, Tempura Clams, Caramelized Shallot, Potato, Chervil - the broth was thin and the whole dish was too sweet.
"Banh Mi Salad" Tuna Tartar in Crispy Wonton, Avocado Mousse, and Charred Pepper Puree - I am a sucker for tuna tartar anyway, and this one came on top of a lovely carrot slaw with a slightly Asian twist of sesame seeds.
Mussels Steamed in Belgian Style White Ale Belgian Endive, Fennel, and French Fries - crispy fennel, perfectly done fries, beer-y broth - I was a happy camper.
The owner/manager was very attentive and I hope they'll get their food-footing shortly.
Headed there for the first time last night. Overall it was a really nice time and the food was good with potential to be great... prices very reasonable, great atmosphere (until the end when the TVs came on), really solicitous service from both bartenders, the hostess, and the servers. All of them incredibly interested in what we thought and seemed to care about the feedback.
-Very good craft beer list. $5-6 for what looked like full pints.
-Beet salad - quite nice actually. Beets, beet greens, a few blackberries, small amount of chevre. $11-12?
-Parsnip chowder: sounded great on menu, agree it was too sweet. This could be a great chowder if less sweet. Also could have been served hotter. $11?
-Tempura pork belly. I should have known better but am a sucker for pork belly. Too fatty, not served hot enough. This was the only "off" dish of the night. I let them know especially about my disappointment with this one. $12?
-Side of brussels sprouts. Very tasty, nothing fancy, maybe a little too much broth/butter at the bottom of the bowl. Nice size portion for ~$6.
-Side of sweet potato fries. Tasty, served piping hot. A little limp, but that's why I don't normally order the sweet potato fries. Again ~$6.
Our neighbors at the bar had the pork chop, which looked delicious, and the penne, which sounded great on the menu. They said both were delicious, and looked worth going back for.
I had heard about their TVs playing loud/annoying videos, but they kept them off last night until 9pm. Thankfully, jazz music while we were eating. At 9pm, the owner turned on the TVs and it was indeed 80s-pop with poor quality video. We let the bartender and the owner know that it was a much better atmosphere with the jazz than with the videos. The bartender seems to know it; the owner seemed defensive. I don't know if he really thinks the videos are a great idea and wants his place to feel "clubby" at night, or if he is just hearing it from all sides and tired of talking about his decision.
Feels like they're on the right track, just need a bit of ongoing tweaking...
Cool atmosphere, respectable bartending, some excellent dishes, a bit rough on execution early on (like an overdone chop). I didn't love the house-y pop music on the PA. A promising spot in the Franklin Cafe "cozy neighborhood bar with above-average, slightly ambitious food at moderate prices" vein.
re: MC Slim JB
Despite being closed for a couple-few months now, as of this weekend Tonic finally has a nice new shiny sign. Seems like the kind of sign they should have put up back when they opened, rather than the cheap white banner, but hey.
I have no clue if this signifies there will be a rebirth, or is just a sign manufacturer belatedly delivering/installing a sign.