Monday, October 20, 2008

MiniBite: Damoah

Cheap and delicious bento lunchboxes!!

Damoah is a Korean, Japanese, and Thai gem hidden near the corner of Chiswick and Comm Ave in Brighton.  Dinner is good, but a little pricey.  It's the weekday lunch special that's really awesome.

The interior of the restaurant is suprisingly large and cozy (and you can watch Korean soap operas on a big screen TV while you eat.)  My favorite part is the fire exit:
Lunch specials are available weekdays between 11am and 3pm, and they cost $8 or $9 depending on what you get.  Each comes with miso soup and a whole lot of goodies.
You can choose from kalbi, bulgoki, chicken, pork, and a few other choices, and they're served with salad, rice, spring rolls, a crispy fried dumpling, and usually a couple small pieces of sushi.  
I always get the bulgoki, and it's delicious and filling (and cheap!)
Check out the full menu on the website.
Damoah Grill on Urbanspoon

Saturday, October 4, 2008

MiniBite: Bottega Fiorentina which we epically battled for a seat!

Ok, it wasn't quite epic, but seating is a bit tricky.

Bottega Fiorentina is an adorable Italian food store and takeout restaurant in Coolidge Corner that has a tiny bit of seating should you choose to eat there. The seating consists of one long picnic table that seats 8, plus a couple small counters.

I arrived around 1:30 on a Saturday afternoon with one of my classmates and her boyfriend, and there were a few counter seats open, so we ordered food to eat there and kept a wary eye on the counter seats. Suddenly, the line grew longer and longer, and before we knew it, people were served and took the available seats. As we continued waiting for our seats, a couple other counter seats freed up, but there were three of us, so we left a jacket on the two available ones and kept an eye out for any other seats freeing up.

Just as we got our food, three seats in the middle of the picnic table became available, so we grabbed them and sat amidst the previous group's bread basket (complete with half-eaten crusts) and some penne that had spilled onto the floor. Surrounding us on all sides were strangers devouring their meals.

Despite the mess and the strangers, we all enjoyed our meals. Marian and I got Penne Fedora, one of the dishes that is available daily (most of the menu changes depending on the day, but a couple dishes are always available). The fedora sauce, Bottega Fiorentina's specialty, is similar to a vodka sauce - mostly tomato, a hint of cream, and some herbs. The unique thing about this sauce is that it is really sweet, which was great for about the first half of the dish, but toward the end, it got to be a little much. I like my pasta topped with salty acidity tomatoey goodness, so the sweetness was kind of weird for my taste after awhile. It's delicious in small quantities, though. Michael got one of the daily specials - the Penne alla Medici, I think - which had a more typical sauce, plus prosciutto and mushrooms.

Bottega Fiorentina has a lot of charm (as well as lots of tasty-looking Italian specialty groceries) and I'll definitely go back, but I'd rather go at an odd time when seating is easier.

Check out the website,, for the menu, hours, and other info.

What do other bloggers say? Check out...Cave Cibum: Cheap Eats: Bottega Fiorentina

Bottega Fiorentina on Urbanspoon

Sunday, September 28, 2008

MiniBite: Quest for Sweet Lime Soup


MiniBites are short, random posts that I'll be writing in between the full restaurant reviews. They might be mini-reviews of one particular aspect of a restaurant, stories of kitchen mishaps, or other random bits of foodiness. So, whenever you see that MiniBite icon, get ready for a fast bit of foodie fun :)On days when I have a convenient lunch break between classes, I often find myself at Noodle Street, a quaint little pan-Asian noodle-filled restaurant on Comm Ave, right near the BU East stop on the green line B. The menu is frighteningly cheerful, featuring cheesy cartoons of street signs, buses, and a little blond boy named Jamo who guides you through the choices. The many, many choices.

Anyway, one day I stumbled on something called Sweet Lime Soup. According to the description, it's a "light and healthy Cambodian style soup with pineapples, tomatoes, celery, and fried garlic garnish." I fell in love. You can choose from a variety of noodles, veggies, meat, wontons, etc. to put in it, and it's just amazing. It's almost a sweet and sour broth, but with a strong lime flavor, and the pineapples are so good.

Tonight, it's rainy, I'm stressed, and I want some lime soup. I've been doing homework all day (and will probably continue to do so all night) but I'm taking a break at 9pm for the season premiere of Dexter, pretty much the only TV show I actually watch. All I want to do is eat some lime soup and watch Dexter.

Noodle Street doesn't deliver to my area.

I scoured Google for lime soup in a Boston restaurant and came up with nothing. Grumbling, I got back to work, forgetting about dinner, but my boyfriend called Bangkok Bistro (Cleveland Circle) and tried to describe the soup to them to see if they could make it. (A lot of Noodle Street's food is Thai, but I forgot that this soup was described as Cambodian-style.) Bangkok Bistro tried very hard to figure out what Ben was talking about, but they just didn't know, so I settled on a different soup that's on its way to my door at this very moment.

But I desperately want to find another place that has this lime soup, a place that might deliver to me.

Do you know of any other restaurants that have Cambodian-style lime soup? Please leave a comment if you do!

Update:I had a delicious lunch at Noodle Street yesterday. Here's a picture of the soup:
Mmmmmm :)

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Sorry for the lack of photographs in this post. My boyfriend and I were celebrating an anniversary, so I left the camera at home for a change instead of embarrassing him like I usually do.

Vegetarians, read no further: this restaurant is not for you. “Steakhouse” just doesn’t seem like the right term for Beacon Hill's Mooo. “Carnivore’s heaven” might be a bit better. The ambiance is subdued and elegant while still screaming “steak steak steak!” The candlelit beige and cream interior features luxurious leather booths and cow fur pillows, leaving no doubt as to the featured meat.

We arrived a little early and were invited to wait in the lounge, where we started off with cocktails. Ben ordered a gin and tonic, and I ordered a mojito (of course.) They were both perfect. After a short wait, we were led to our table, where I sunk into an extraordinarily comfortable seat.

A cute little cast iron pan of rolls arrived, baked to perfection, impossibly soft and squishy and brushed with some sort of butter or egg. Even though we were quickly filling up on the rolls, we decided to order appetizers. I started out with an arugula, lemon, and parmesan salad that can best be described as a mountain of arugula. The greens were tossed in a tangy lemon vinaigrette and topped with pieces of parmesan. Two long, thin breadsticks crisscrossed the plate. Ben opted for butternut squash soup with foie gras, a dish he described as “buttery delight” and a “pleasant welcoming to fall.” The foie gras had an earthy, nutty flavor and was served on top of a piece of flaky pastry floating on top of the soup.

For the main course, we both ordered steak. Yes, there are other things available (Wiener schnitzel, some seafood dishes, and a couple other non-steak items), but why would you come to a restaurant named “Mooo” and not order steak? I got a filet mignon with red wine sauce and Ben got a rib eye with chanterelle gravy. Mine came out perfectly medium rare, so tender that a knife was almost unnecessary. The red wine sauce complemented the meat nicely. Ben enjoyed his steak as well. The menu said that steaks are served with “bone marrow butter,” and we were amused to find that it was served in an actual bone.

To accompany the steaks, Ben and I shared a side flight that included mashed potatoes, summer corn succotash, creamed spinach, and truffled parmesan fries. This much food was really unnecessary, but it was all very good. I especially liked the fries (and was pleased that they reheated so nicely the next day!)

Alas, we had no room for dessert. I’m dying to try the “Bailey’s Hot Fudge Sundae for Two,” which includes vanilla and chocolate ice cream, hot fudge, walnut brittle, and toasted marshmallows. I saw a couple of these being served shortly after we arrived, and I was tempted to skip the steak and go straight to dessert. (Ok, I wasn’t really thinking of skipping the steak. But the sundae did look amazing.)

The service was good, the ambiance was nice, and the food was beyond excellent – definitely one of the best steaks I’ve had. I’d love to go back, but I’ll have to wait for a very special occasion. This place is on the pricey side. Oh, and I’d like to apologize for the excessive use of words like “perfect” and “excellent” in this review, but go to Mooo and you’ll understand.

Rating:Five forks!

Address: 15 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02108 (Beacon Hill)
Telephone: 617.670.2515
Fax: 617.670.2525
Breakfast Hours: Monday-Friday, 7am-10:30am
Brunch Hours: Saturday-Sunday, 8am-2pm
Lunch Hours: Monday-Friday, 11:30am-2pm
Dinner Hours: Sunday-Thursday, 5:30pm-10pm; Friday-Saturday, 5:30pm-10:30pm
Bar/Lounge Hours: Daily, 11:30am-12:30am (bar menu available until 11pm Sunday-Thursday and 11:30pm Saturday and Sunday)

What do other bloggers say? Check out...
The Passionate Foodie: Mooo

Mooo on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Fireplace

Sorry about my long absence from posting here. I just began graduate school—a science journalism program—so I’ve been adjusting to my new schedule and workload. Now that I’m in the habit of writing all day…every day…I’ll be posting a bit more often here. (If I take a break from my Lean Cuisines and actually find time to get out to some restaurants, that is.) This post is about my last Restaurant Week dinner, so it’s a bit late, but I took notes while I was there, so this should be a pretty accurate retelling of my meal.

The Fireplace, a grill and barbecue restaurant located in Brookline’s Washington Square, is New England-themed: local seafood is the star. The ambiance is upscale as far as grill and barbecue restaurants go, featuring red, orange, and gold décor—a cozy play on the fire theme. There was also at least one fireplace…hence the name. Unfortunately, someone decided to cover the nice white tablecloths with brown paper, much like a cheap BBQ place I ate at earlier this week that gives you crayons to use on the “tablecloth.” Instant ambiance-killer. Maybe the paper comes off later at night; we were there for a very early dinner, sort of an in-between time.

My parents decided to order from the regular menu, while Ben and I chose the Restaurant Week menu. I started out with a blackberry mojito, which was excellent. Even my mother liked it, and she never likes mojitos. Ben ordered the Restaurant Week wine pairing. Here’s a picture of my mojito, accompanied by some tasty bread:
Blackberry Mojito and Bread

For my first course, I tried the cold cucumber soup and Ben got the endive salad. The soup was thin and a little sour, but refreshing. Cold soup is an acquired taste, one which I have not fully acquired yet, so I found this soup a little bit strange. Cold soup aficionados, however, would probably really enjoy it.
Cold Cucumber Soup
Ben enjoyed his endive salad. The walnuts were tasty, and the dressing was excellent—a tart, sweet vinaigrette that didn’t overpower the fresh greens.
Endive Salad

My parents both ordered The Fireplace’s signature chicken dish for the main course: Spit-Roasted, Maple-Glazed Half Chicken with Mashed Potatoes & Sage Brown Butter. My dad substituted fries for the mashed potatoes, and they split an order of roasted asparagus. The chicken was a big hit with everyone. It was a home-style comfort food with a bit of a gourmet twist, which seems to be the theme of the restaurant overall.
Signature Spit-Roasted, Maple-Glazed Half Chicken with Mashed Potatoes & Sage Brown Butter

Ben got a chicken risotto that had a smoky, jambalaya –like flavor and plenty of vegetables.
Chicken over Risotto

I ordered a seafood casserole, which was absolutely delicious. It was full of small shrimps and scallops, swimming in a thin, mild tomato broth and lightly topped with breadcrumbs. A deliciously buttery hunk of garlic toast was served on the side (well, sort of on top, as you can see in the picture.)
Seafood Casserole

For dessert, Ben and I got the lavender blueberry sorbet, and our one reaction to it was that it was “strange.” The texture was weird—some areas of the sorbet were crunchy. The lavender flavor just didn’t work for us. The sugar cookie on the side was good, though.
Lavendar Blueberry Sorbet

For dessert, my parents had…nothing. No coffee either. They were interested, but the server dropped off our sorbets and disappeared until coming back with the check awhile later, never asking if the other half of the table was interested in coffee or dessert. That—and the paper covering the tablecloths—is my biggest complaint. I’m on the fence about the food. My entrée was delicious, and I also enjoyed tasting the other dishes at the table, but I was a little disappointed by the appetizer and dessert. I’m definitely going to give The Fireplace another try, though. Restaurant Week is a strange time, especially when part of the table uses that menu while everyone else uses the regular menu. I’m interested in trying out the brunch and lunch menus, and I definitely want to come by for a Jazz Wednesday or Latin Thursday.


Three forks!

Address: 1634 Beacon St, Brookline, MA 02446 (Washington Square)
Telephone: 617.975.1900
Dinner Hours: Sunday-Wednesday, 5pm-10pm; Thursday-Saturday, 5pm-11pm
Brunch Hours: Saturday and Sunday, 11am-2:30pm
Lunch Hours: Monday-Friday, 11am-2:30pm
Bar Hours: Sunday-Wednesday until 12am; Thursday-Saturday until 1am

What do other bloggers say? Check out...Cave Cibum: The Fireplace, Brookline
Obsessions of a Misunderstood Bella: The Fireplace

Fireplace on Urbanspoon

Monday, August 25, 2008

Stix Restaurant & Lounge

After recently blogging about my visit to 33, I was invited to try out the "global fusion cuisine and 21st century cocktails" at 33's sister restaurant and next door neighbor, STIX. I headed over there for dinner last Wednesday, in time to partake of the Restaurant Week menu. Ben decided to order from the regular menu, so between the two of us, we got to try a little bit of everything. The decor has a modern feel, featuring sleek wooden tables, sharp angles, and exposed brick.
The decor at STIX
The bar is lit by a mesmerizing color-changing background and features a wide array of innovative cocktails.
The bar at STIX
We tackled the cocktail menu first. Although the liquid nitrogen creations sounded intriguing, we each settled on a trio that would let us taste a few different drinks. Ben got the Trio of Solids, which consisted of gelatinous slices of three cocktails: 10 Cane Raspberry Sashimi, Bacardi Effervescent Mojito, and 42 Below Haupia.
Trio of Solids: 42 Below Haupia, 10 CaneRaspberry Sashimi, Bacardi Effervescent Mojito
This gourmet take on jello shots was served with chopsticks. Bonus points for fun presentation!
The "trio of solids" - a sampling of three solid cocktails - was served with chopsticks.
My first reaction to the solid trio was that it was weird...but in a good way. I opted for something a little bit more liquidy: the Trio of Carbonation, which contained samples of Bacardi Mojito Fizz, Sparkling Woodford Reserve Mint Julep, and Carbonated Cointreau Margarita. Light, refreshing, and deceptively strong, this carbonated trio is a great summer choice. My favorite of the three was the mojito.
Trio of Carbonation: Bacardi Mojito Fizz,Sparkling Woodford Reserve Mint Julep, Carbonated Cointreau Margarita
We munched on crispy breadsticks while figuring out what to eat.
Breadsticks before the meal
The Restaurant Week menu was small but varied, offering a salad or gazpacho for the appetizer, either salmon, chicken, or steak for the main course, and several delicious-sounding treats for dessert. The regular menu is divided up into three main sections: "stix", small plates, and large plates. The "stix" section of the menu for which the restaurant is named features 14 kabob-style choices serves on flavor-infused skewers. A container of labeled skewers sits on each table so that you can smell the different flavors. (Well, I assume that's why it's there. Otherwise, I probably looked pretty silly smelling all the skewers!)
The selection of tapas-like small plates includes gazpacho, a cheese plate, mussels, and a few other choices. Large plates include pan seared chicken breast, slow roasted salmon with bay leaves, seared diver scallops, and more. Ben decided to stick with the "stix" section of the menu, ordering one plate to arrive with my appetizer and two to arrive with my main course. He figured I'd share some of my dessert with him. (Ha!) His first selection was seared scallops on ginger mango stix with orange oil and sesame, an Australia-inspired dish. (Each stix dish is inspired by a particular country or U.S. state.)
Seared Scallops on Ginger Mango Stix withOrange Oil and Sesame (an Australia-inspired dish)
The scallops were cooked absolutely perfectly - great texture, no fishy flavor, and very nicely seasoned. While Ben was starting out on his scallops, I was enjoying a summer mesclun salad with honey balsamic vinaigrette and sunflower seeds. I don't usually eat sunflower seeds, but these blended nicely with the dressing. It was a light, well-balanced salad.
Summer Mesclun Salad with Honey BalsamicVinaigrette and Sunflower Seeds
For the next course, Ben got two orders of stix. The first was tuna sashimi-style on ginger mango stix with a light soy and citrus marinade and togarashi (inspired by Hawaii.) His second choice was chicken satay on mango curry stix with shrimp crackers (inspired by Indonesia.) Even though I generally avoid raw fish, I tried a bite of the tuna and was impressed by the flavor. Ben enjoyed it as well.
Tuna Sashimi-Style on Ginger Mango Stix with Light Soy and Citrus Marinade and Togarashi (inspired by Hawaii)
The chicken satay had a delicious sauce, and the mango curry flavor on the stick added an extra layer of flavor.
Chicken Satay on Mango Curry Stix with Shrimp Crackers (inspired by Indonesia)
I chose the flat iron steak with potatoes confit, braised greens, and chimichurri. Although the steak was a little bitter for my taste, the texture was perfect - very tender. I was pleasantly surprised by the braised greens, which I expected to be bitter as well. They were actually very sweet. If green leafy vegetables always tasted like this, maybe children would be more likely to eat them without complaint! The potatoes were a nice starchy balance to the sweetness.
Flat Iron Steak with Potato Confit,Braised Greens, and Chimichurri
For dessert, I had the valrhona white chocolate mango pannacotta with kalamansi lime sorbet, and it was a tasty way to end the meal.
Valrhona White Chocolate Mango Pannacottawith Kalamansi Lime Sorbet
The great thing about Stix is that it feels like you're out for a fancy meal, but it's fun at the same time. The juxtaposition of snacking on jello shots with chopsticks and finding a newly folded napkin at your place when you return from the restroom is unusual, but it works. Creativity really shines through in the menu, especially in the cocktail section. Stix would be a great place to have a birthday party or a light dinner before a night out; you can order a bunch of stix and small plates to share amongst your friends. Or, you can go for a romantic dinner for two and fight over who gets to eat the third stix in each order. Overall, dinner was great. The service was friendly and knowledgeable, the decor was minimalist but not uncomfortably bare, and the food was innovative, tasty, and fun. Watch out for those solid cocktails - you may forget that you're eating alcohol!

Four forks!

Address: 35 Stanhope Street, Boston, MA 02116 (behind Back Bay station)
Telephone: 617.456.7849
Dinner Hours: Monday-Saturday, 5:30pm-1am
Lounge Hours: Monday-Saturday, 5:30pm-2am
Reservations accepted.
Take-out available.

What do other bloggers say? Check out...Boston Food & Whine: Stix and Stones
Belly Love: Stix - 35 Stanhope Street, Boston

Stix on Urbanspoon

Friday, August 15, 2008

Sibling Rivalry

My second Restaurant Week adventure took me to the South End's Sibling Rivalry for an impressive (and waistline-expanding) dinner. Ben and I found ourselves in the neighborhood about two hours before our painfully late reservation, so we decided to see if they could seat us early. Fortunately, they could. We had a choice of the outdoor patio or the chef's bar, which looks into the kitchen, and an impending rain storm made our choice for us. I'm glad we ended up at the bar, because I had a great time watching the bustling (but remarkably quiet) activity in the kitchen.

The first "wow" moment was when we received the Restaurant Week menu, which had more choices than you might find on a regular menu at some restaurants. It seems that many restaurants are a bit on the stingy side for Restaurant Week, giving you just two or three choices for each course, many with supplemental costs, but Sibling Rivalry is offering an astonishing ten appetizers, eight entrees, and four desserts, plus daily specials that can be substituted for any of the courses. And, even better, nearly all of these choices are being offered at the official Restaurant Week price - very few "supplements" here.

Pretty much everything on the cocktail menu was tempting, but I decided to go for the $18 wine tasting, which included a white wine to accompany my appetizer, a red for the main course, and a dessert wine to finish off the meal. Ben ordered a Pamplemousse, a summery grapefruit and pomegranate cocktail that tasted almost like a mojito...but even better. (And that's a big compliment from me - I take my mojitos very seriously.) This cocktail has been featured in various other blog posts, magazine articles, and such, so it must be good. "Just the right amount of tartness," says Ben. Here it is, in all its glory:
Pamplemousse Cocktail
Meanwhile, I enjoyed my first wine, a citrusy white that was also a good summer choice. But when Ben wasn't looking, I stole sips of his Pamplemousse!

For the appetizer, I picked one of the daily specials, Lump Crab Ravioli. It was served in a rich cheese sauce with ripe tomatoes on top. It was a little bit daring of a choice for me, as I haven't had crab too many times, and I usually avoid cheesy sauces (except for Kraft mac & cheese, which I grew up eating.) I was pleasantly surprised by it. It was comfort food with a gourmet flair, and the crabmeat was very tender. The portion was generous as well, especially for an appetizer.
Crab Meat Ravioli in Cheese Sauce

Although I enjoyed my appetizer, I was jealous of Ben's choice, which turned out to be absolutely delicious. Ben ordered the Moroccan-style Lamb Brik, a crispy pastry crust stuffed with ground lamb and a poached egg. The lamb was seasoned with cumin, giving it an exotic, cinnamony flavor, and the whole thing was topped by a delicate but flavorful brown jus. A cool, refreshing cucumber salad was served on the side. This appetizer could have been a meal in itself.
Moroccan Style Lamb Brik

For the main course, I decided to continue my trend of ordering things I usually avoid. I'm not much of a pork-as-a-main-course eater. I don't mind it in small quantities, quietly mixed into mysterious Chinese dishes, for example, but I would never go out of my way to order a whole pork chop for a meal. Chef Bob's dish won me over, though: Soy Ginger-Anise Glazed Pork Mignon with Spicy Tamarind-Curry Barbequed Pork Shoulder, Cool Peanut Chili Noodles, and Cucumber Salad. Both cuts of pork were extraordinarily tender, one in the stringy, pull-apart-with-your-fork way and one in the way of a nice rare steak. The Asian-themed sauces were spicy and bursting with many different flavors, and the cool noodles provided a nice contrast to the heat of the sauces. The cool cucumber salad from Ben's lamb appetizer made a re-appearance as a side to the pork, and like the noodles, it helped provide some relief from the spice. My second wine was a full-bodied, velvety red that complemented the dish nicely.
Soy Ginger-Anise Glazed Pork Mignon with Spicy Tamarind-Curry BBQ Pork Shoulder, Cool Peanut Chili Noodles, and Cool Cucumber Salad

Ben ordered Chef David's Wild Nantucket Striped Bass, a solid but mild choice. It was served with heirloom tomato salad, arugula pesto, and white bean puree. Ben described it as "very fresh, with a nice balance of flavors," but he expected a little bit more excitement based on the description. It was definitely good and made use of nice, seasonal ingredients, but Ben's personal taste is that he "demands more of a rush." (Let's just say we once went on a three-hour road trip so that he could eat wings that require you to sign away the restaurant's liability should any injury occur.) The fish was cooked perfectly, and I enjoyed tasting it.
Wild Nantucket Striped Bass

Dessert was really not necessary after all of the above, but it's part of the Restaurant Week deal, so why not? My dessert wine arrived first, a beautiful amber-colored wine that tasted very similar to Tej, Ethiopian honey wine. It had a sweet, berry-like flavor, and it was a nice way to transition from the entree to the dessert. I ordered the caramel chocolate mousse cake, a huge portion of rich, decadent chocolate. I'm not sure how I finished it, but it would have been such a shame to leave it uneaten.
Caramel Chocolate Mousse Cake

Ben ordered a slightly lighter dessert, a nice summer berry crisp made with oatmeal streusel and topped with vanilla ice cream. The berries were perfectly in season, and the vanilla ice cream was a nice, simple way to end dinner on a light note.
Summer Berry Crisp with Oatmeal Streusel and Vanilla Ice Cream

Overall, I was very impressed by our meal and also by the excellent service, and I hope to return soon to experience either "Monday Night Fight Night" or "Show and Taste Tuesday." This is the kind of exceptional restaurant that would be high on my list when trying to figure out where to go for special occasions. Also, Sibling Rivalry gets bonus points in my book for truly embracing the spirit of Restaurant Week by offering many delicious choices, full portion sizes, and barely any additional charges. Well done.

Rating:Five forks!*

*This rating is based solely on a Restaurant Week visit, which may not be entirely indicative of the restaurant during a normal time. You can check out the full menu and other information on the restaurant's website.

Address: 525 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02116 (South End)
Telephone: 617.338.5338
Email: SiblingRivalry525 [at] hotmail [dot] com
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 5:30pm-10pm; Friday, 5:30pm-11pm; Saturday, 5pm-11pm; Sunday, 11am-3pm brunch, 4pm-9pm dinner
Bar and Lounge Hours: Monday-Saturday, 5pm-close; Sunday, 11am-close
Valet parking available nightly for $16.

What do other bloggers say? Check out...
Boston Food & Whine: Brother vs. Brother
Cave Cibum: Sibling Rivalry, South End
The Passionate Foodie: Sibling Rivalry

Sibling Rivalry on Urbanspoon

Monday, August 11, 2008

33 Restaurant & Lounge

33 Restaurant & Lounge

My first foray into Restaurant Week took me to the spacious outdoor patio of 33 Restaurant & Lounge, an almost hidden spot near the back of the Back Bay station. With light jazz playing in the background, Ben and I enjoyed a relaxing lunch under an umbrella. The special Restaurant Week lunch menu included two appetizer choices, two entree choices, and two dessert choices. Ben and I split the menu in half in order to taste everything.

Patio Area (half of it)

Ben started out with Beet Tartar, which came as a bit of a surprise since we both misread the menu and were expecting BeeF Tartar. After some confusion about the purple hue and lack of meat, we figured out our mistake. It ended up being an enjoyable appetizer, light and a little bit sweet. Ben especially enjoyed the capers (which may have been fried) that were scattered around the mountain of chopped beets.

Beet Tartar

I opted for the Caesar salad without anchovies (although anchovies are available if you want them.) It was a generous portion covered in just the right amount of creamy dressing, and the croutons were the perfect texture - mostly crispy, but not so crispy that crumbs fly everywhere when you try to eat them. The best part of the salad was the sun-dried tomatoes, which were bursting with flavor.

Caesar Salad

While waiting for the main course, I sipped on a delicious cocktail called "Raspberry Intrigue" which included raspberries, vanilla, and cardamom. The cocktail cost almost as much as the whole three-course prix fixe lunch, but it was really good.

Raspberry Intrigue (raspberries, vanilla, cardamom)

Next, I had the Root Beer Braised Short Ribs, and Ben had the Slow-Roasted Salmon Confit. The short ribs were unbelievably tender, hardly requiring a knife. I could taste the faintest bit of root beer, but I would have liked a somewhat stronger sauce. The flavor of the meat itself really came through, though, so those who love braised beef are sure to enjoy this dish. It was served with mashed potatoes, carrots, and Brussels sprouts, which all accompanied the meat nicely.

Root Beer Braised Short Ribs

Ben's salmon was tender and juicy, and he found it to be cooked perfectly, not dry or slimy. It had a slightly smoky flavor and didn't need to rely on a sauce or seasoning; the natural flavor was enough on its own. On the side was a parsnip puree that was surprisingly sweet and delicious, and the puree was topped with very tasty tomatoes.

Slow-Roasted Salmon Confit with Smoked Tomatoes and Parsnip Puree

My dessert was a refreshing berry pannacotta with vanilla anglaise, a nice summery treat.

Summer Berry Pannacotta with Vanilla Anglaise

Ben got the sorbet trio, which included coconut, lemon, and raspberry sorbets, and it was topped by a giant fresh raspberry.

Sorbet Trio: Coconut, Lemon, Raspberry

Overall, we were pleased with the meal. The courses were evenly spaced and unhurried, water refills were frequent, and our server was knowledgeable and quick. The ambiance on the patio was very nice, and the inside looked comfortable as well, a sleek combination of brick and wood. It was a great way to start Restaurant Week, and I hope to return in the future to give the regular menu a try.

Four forks!*

*This rating is based solely on a Restaurant Week visit, which may not be entirely indicative of the restaurant during a normal time. You can check out the full menu and other information on the restaurant's website.

Address: 33 Stanhope Street, Boston, MA 02116 (behind Back Bay station)
Telephone: 617.572.3311
Fax: 617.572.3399
Email: AskUs [at]
Dinner Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 5pm-11pm
Bar Hours: Tuesday, 5pm-11pm; Wednesday-Saturday, 5pm-2am
Lounge Hours: Wednesday-Saturday, 10pm-2am
Reservations accepted.

33 Restaurant & Lounge on Urbanspoon
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