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Who's cooking at Clio

Just read of Chef Rodrigues's knife accident and feel badly for him and for the person at the other end of the knife. I understand he is no longer employed by Clio.

I have reservations tonight at Clio and was planning the full blowout 14-course wine-matched-walletectomy. I am concerned as to the state of the kitchen in his absence. Does anyone know if Ken Oringer is stepping in?

If anyone has been in the last couple weeks, was the food to its usual standard?

Thanks.

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      1. re: Bob Dobalina

        Thanks for the link, dude.
        Terrible article, that.
        Good riddance, Phoenix.

        1. re: Beachowolfe

          Doesn't seem to add up to reason for termination, if that's all that's going on. Rodrigues is a great talent. It's a shame to see him leave, but I look forward to his next restaurant.

          1. re: musteat

            I tend to believe there was more to the story behind the termination than the bar incident.

            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

    1. For those who found this thread, rest assured Clio is still innovating and extremely good.

      9 Replies
      1. re: musteat

        Based on a meal since the prior chef left, or just guessing?

        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

        1. re: MC Slim JB

          Went last night. 14-course wine-matched. Excellent.

          1. re: musteat

            That would have been useful information to include in your opinion. What did the tab come to on that?

            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

              1. re: MC Slim JB

                since he was the OP and he said he was going last night, he probably thought it was repetitive info. ;-)

                1. re: Scruffy The Cat

                  I'll take a little flack from JB. His writing has been useful enough to mitigate it. Besides, how could he post on every item on the board if he read them all? : )

                  1. re: Scruffy The Cat

                    Sorry, I did read the OP, but missed that in-retrospect-obvious connection.

                    I otherwise would think it's worth double-checking the currency of someone's recommendation when there's been a recent chef change and the place is one of the priciest in town. Party of two, right?

                    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

            1. How'd you feel about the wine pours? We recently did a 7course there and it was a struggle to make the wine last through even a small course. Constantly found myself rationing. I'm talkin less than an oz in some cases. When the MD poured one round I got what was expected, 2 oz or so.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Beachowolfe

                We were well-poured. Not extraordinary pours, but certainly enough for the course,very well selected matches and some choices that I would not have come up with myself. There is a new sommelier named Theresa (as of the last few weeks) and she's very personable and shows real passion for the work and the client.

              2. this incident occurred over a month ago. oringer lives within walking distance. he's not the type to let his flagship go down the tubes.

                1 Reply
                1. re: hotoynoodle

                  It's been on a downward trend well before this. If he's not that type, he should get in there more often. Maul's cocktails are the only thing worth the tariff there nowadays.

                2. I had dinner there last week and was very disappointed in the experience. (I hadn't eaten there in a couple of years.) The menu looks so promising, with lots of usual flavors like birch and juniper. The actual dishes, however, were just a cacaphony of elements, with too many ingredients on the plate to even be able to taste each one or to have a sense of how they might work to complement each other. Oddly, despite the fact that the menu tends to list a half dozen ingredients for most of the dishes, there were also some dishes where very strong flavors/ingredients (such as capers) weren't even mentioned in the descriptions at all and came as a complete surprise when the food arrived on the table. I feel like the kitchen would do better to scale WAY back in terms of the number of different things they're putting on each plate. FWIW, for mains we had the buttermilk braised chicken, which had a nice texture but nothing more (the oak gnocci were two or three Tic Tac sized things that tasted of nothing in particular); the butter braised lobster which was sitting on a bed of greens that just tasted off/rancid to my palate and therefore inedible. The foie gras laquee and the fish crudo appetizers were fine but unremarkable for the price. My favorite thing was the birch ice cream that accompanied one of the desserts. Honestly, I would have been happier with just that, in a bowl, and scrap the rest of the tortured production. I won't be going back I am a bit embarrassed to have brought our guests there.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: peelmeagrape

                    Funny...I just had a birch bark ice cream at Strip T's last week - special dessert - with candied orange, curried beer nuts and a beer caramel sauce.

                    Wonder if there was some article about birch ice cream on some industry website...

                  2. Just ate there last night- we did 10 course tasting+ a cassoulet added on (family in town, our first time there, probably won't be able to get back, and heard from numerous people this is a dish to get so didn't want to miss the opportunity). 9 cocktails, 1 glass wine, 2 nonalcoholic cocktails between us, bill was 744. we were quite happy with the decision, and i'd gone in a bit skeptical and nervous after reading this thread.

                    I'll start out by saying that I did not pay for this particular meal, so i recognize that my impressions, and mindsets, had the good fortune of not being clouded by that feeling of 'am i getting what i paid for' that can accompany such an expensive meal. that said, at the end, i'll try to make some rough comparisons to other expensive meals and see where i think the value comes out. If you care just about final impressions (and i certainly don't blame you) go ahead and ctrl+f "takeaways" to hop to the appropriate bit at the end.

                    ---

                    I'll do my best to give the blow by blow, but as others have noted there are often so many elements on the plate it'll be hard for me to give an accurate account (particularly because they pointed out that many of the preps were at least slightly different from what was listed on the menu).

                    amouse bite- was a bit of fig, mustard seed, and perhaps something else wrapped in a cylinder of parmesan. fun little starter- the cheese looked like pastry shell to some of us, and to me reminded me of ham wrapped around fig, so the way the texture, and sharpness, of the cheese differed from what we all expected was really fun.

                    first real course was their tomato water martini. i doubt i can add anything to what anyone who has been to clio or uni knows, but it is exactly as it sounds- a clear, flavorful tomato water with a bit of garnish (caperberries, opal basil, others i can't recall) a few drops of opal basil oil, and a tomato pulp popsicle you are meant to finish on (something about the sweetness opening the palate up). its a refreshing dish, and even though i'd had it before at uni it was nice to see it again here.

                    course 2- a sashimi course prepared by the uni chefs, there was a sea urchin mousse, some pickled himeji mushrooms, and another dark liquid element (not soy, more like a vinegar, if i remember). the uni mousse worked better than i expected, and the fish was solid.

                    i saw here (and with many subsequent courses) why people gripe that there are too many elements on the plate- it was hard to figure out how to get a bite with everything, or recreate a bite you had. that said, i didn't find this to be a huge issue personally- i find that 4-5 bites is my limit before diminishing returns on a dish, so it was actually quite pleasant, in this case, for example, to hit the fourth bite and discover an entirely new flavor pairing. i rarely felt like dishes suffered because i didn't get every element, but often felt pleased to encounter an element i hadn't tried.

                    course 3- from the menu- beet salad- Thai spiced peanuts, chicken skin, glace de viande. the beets were prepared very nicely, and i appreciated the thai spice. that said, this was the only dish i felt was 'forgettable.' part of that may have been size- i didn't have enough on the plate to catch what the chicken skin added (i'll talk more about portions, another frequent complaint about clio, at the end). making this bigger might have helped, but either way my feeling on it was that i enjoyed it at the time, but it was the only dish at the end of the meal i had trouble remembering.

                    course 4- confit lamb tongue with a sauce that basically mimicked tzatziki, fava beans. this was basically a lamb tongue gyro; we were all saying we'd have loved some pita. That said, i mean this in the best of ways. tongue was delicate, sauce was great, and despite the presentation, it felt like a good diversion into more 'rustic' food than the rest of the meal. we all devoured the course, and ended up going to bread basket two to swipe up the sauce.

                    course 5- Velouté de Brandade, black olive, green banana, fried garlic. seeing a brandade not as a croquette but as a soup was fun; it definitely had exactly the right flavor. this was a solid course, we all enjoyed, but it wasn't anyone's favorite.

                    course 6- giant scallop . not sure if/which scallop dish from the menu this is, but it was my personal favorite (others in the party disagreed). unfortunately i can't remember what all came with it, i was mostly taken with how good the temperature and texture on the scallop itself were.

                    course 7- Foie Gras Laquée milk & honey, piquillo jam, candied rye. this is an interesting prep for foie gras- it is cooked a lot further than most people do it, so some of that has rendered out. the result is a very different texture- less creamy, more melty, and a lot more of the mallard-reaction taste to it. the actual portion of foie was very small, but that speaks to my enjoyment of it.

                    course 8- lobster/sea urchin cassoulette. the sea urchin (i think?) was mostly in the sort of broth that surrounds the lobster bits though there was one sizable clump of uni in. there were some chile threads on top and flakes in the broth. my gf hates spicy food but plowed through this. personally, i really enjoyed, but, given the hype around this particular dish, was maybe a bit disappointed- i felt it was in line with the rest of the dishes i enjoyed, but it was no one's favorite (that belonged to the scallop and lamb tongue).

                    course 9- lamb dish (not from menu apparently?). there were a few different cuts, including lamb belly, with salsify, asparagus, a bit of potato, and a green sauce i can't recall. the belly was not as good as say, puritan & co's, but lamb belly is always welcome in my book, and the salsify was prepared excellently. another more rustic dish and a welcome one to end savories on.

                    course 10- cheese plate. a number of good cheeses, mostly from vermont, i enjoyed the bacon jam. this was one where i felt the amount was a bit stingy- it was one plate for four people, with most cheeses split into two small pieces. i guess this course was also 'forgettable,' but i can't say there's any cheese course in memory that i remember, so take with a grain of salt.

                    course 11- amouse sized dessert, with hibiscus compressed pineapple as the main ingredient. light, and tasty, but i felt like the taste of pineapple dominated everything else in it. wasn't super happy with this, but family seemed to like it.

                    course 12- bigger dessert with the white birch ice cream, a chocolate mousse, some sort of crispy 'skin' (looked like a fried yuba skin, don't think it was, but to give sense of what it added), maple. this basically had the taste of a really good choclate cheesecake, but with much better textures. I wish i could describe better, but it was large, decadent, and everyone was pleased with it.

                    ---

                    takeaways:

                    1. first and foremost, if there is a concern with a new chef that dishes aren't being executed well, that was *certainly* not a problem last night. there wasn't a single bite where i had the feeling that something was over or underdone or in some way improperly prepared. pacing was great up until the last savory, when things slowed considerably, but that may have been a side effect of us tacking on the cassoulette (i'd say that was *for sure* the reason except that would be hard to explain why the cheese course seemed to take a long time to come out). In any case,

                    2. three dishes felt like misses: 1 savory, 1 dessert, and 1 cheese (and that was a size/my preference issue). for what ended up being 11 real courses plus 2 extras (the tiny bite, the first small dessert), that's a really good ratio in my book.

                    3. this was a good amount of food. even if we hadn't ordered the cassoulette, i would have left full. i'd only eaten a clover sandwich that day, and i am someone who can put down yume wo katare's buta ramen and go out for a drink with no issue. i admit this may have been aided by the fact i had three drinks, that we ate a lot of bread (we went through 2.5 baskets between 4 of us in wiping up plates), or that i just got back from vacation.

                    in any event, yes, some plates themselves were quite small, and i wish i had more of them, but as opposed to some other tasting experiences i've had where i left and ended up getting a second meal, i left clio quite satisfied.

                    4. so is it worth the money? ultimately a tough call, and dependent on how much money you have to spend, right? If this were your one-big-meal-to-spend-on would I recommend it? Not emphatically, but i wouldn't necessarily count it out either. if you can afford this kind of meal on a semi-regular basis, i definitely don't think you'd feel cheated.

                    to compare: admittedly in boston, i haven't done too many of the spendy dinners (no 9, menton, etc.). I've done o ya, and i've done the long tasting at craigie, which is, if i remember correctly, 30 bucks cheaper. i'd spend my money (and less so) to go try a different set of foods at clio faster than i'd go back to oya, without a doubt. I'd also rather save the extra money to try clio again than go do a long tasting at craigie (although, to be fare, i'd probably say the real value would be to do craigie's whim dinner and save a lot of money, but that doesn't quite feel fair).

                    that said, boston excels when it comes to high-value restaurants at a much lower pricepoint (jm curley/bogies, west bridge, hungry mother, bondir, etc. etc. etc.) so by comparison i think its easy to say that the marginal return on your dollar for a place like clio 'isn't worth it.' certainly, i really enjoyed myself, but its not going to become a save-to-go-frequently type of place. but i think that speaks more to boston's strengths as a dining city than clio's weakness (and a lot about my own budget and saving capabilities)

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: valcfield

                      Wow! Nice write up VF! I've never done Clio, but I think I might have to, now.

                      1. re: valcfield

                        What a great write-up. Especially since my last experience there was quite disappointing.