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
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