Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Restaurant Week Boston

Well, it was that time again here in the city. The time where restaurants offered a three course lunch for $20.06 and a three course dinner for $30.06. So we went out twice to splurge!

Week One:
Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar (I just call it Fleming's)
They are a chain, but a quality chain.
We were seated immediately, although we were 10' early for our reservation. The atmosphere was very nice, not too loud. The (slightly harried) runner brought us a cheese dip but didn't explain it; however, the waiter stopped by for drinks orders and told us we were eating a gorgonzola blended with cranberries and walnuts (not bad) and a Brie, blended with some reisling and champagne. He actually checked with the kitchen as to how they made it when I asked, because it was so good.. This was perhaps the greatest thing I have ever eaten with cheese. So good. I recommend trying to make this at home, but that's for another post. I ordered French Onion Soup, Filet Mignon (rare) and Creme brulee, while Matt got tomato and mozzarella salad, stuffed Dover sole, and NY style cheesecake. Our appetizers were great--the soup had lots of onions, great cheese, and the broth was perfect. The salad was spectacular--the cheese was uber fresh, and the tomatoes firm and ripe. Entrees were wonderful too--the steak was perfect, with a touch of salt and butter, very melt in your mouth. The sole was pretty good--wrapped around some sort of lobster stuffing, and covered with a light creamy sauce--very nice. The sides were mashed potatoes (so good) and creamed corn, which was tasty, but since neither of us are that fond of it, we didn't eat much. Dessert was pretty good. The cheesecake was very good, nice and creamy and not too heavy. The creme brulee was nothing special, but still good. It could have used more vanilla. At 30.06 each, with a drink for each of us (a beer and an almond martini), this was a great bargain at $80 for the bill, and we left a $20 tip for our superb waiter. I recommend this place very highly--a bigger splurge if you go outside of restaurant week, but worth it!

Week Two:
Aura Restaurant at the Seaport Hotel
It took us FOREVER to get here--it's near the waterfront in South Boston, but not really convenient (for us) to take public transport, as it would require three changes and walking is just as fast. But the restaurant itself immediately lost points for atmosphere, as it was literally a blocked off area within the lobby of the hotel. Not exactly the seaport view we were expecting. We ordered the wine dinner, $50.06 for a glass of wine with each course. Bread was good, two different kinds: a wheat one that was pretty ordinary, and a white roll distinguished by the little bit of salt on the crust that made it GREAT with olive oil. Which we didn't get enough of. But we didn't want more bread, and so lived with it. For appetizers, I had scallops on mashed potatoes for an appetizer, and Matt had the salad; both were matched with a chardonnay that practically had splinters coming out of it, not to mention more acid than a lemon. My scallops were good, but nothing special, and Matt's salad had seen better days--it's farmer's market season, for crying out loud, and the tomatoes were SOFT!! WTF?? But edible for the most part. For entrees, I had a tenderloin/short rib combo with a cabernet, and Matt had roast chicken with another chardonnay (thankfully, better and less oaky/acid than the last one!). The short rib was chipotle glazed, and tender, and pretty damn good. I ordered the steak rare, and it came a shade over medium rare, but it's not worth my complaining, frankly. Not bad meat. Matt's chicken was much better, brined and tender and roasted perfectly. The potatoes on the side were disappointingly roasted, but the asparagus was crunchy and bright green, so score one for that. Dessert was the redeeming factor. The wine was some UBER sweet Bonny Doon creation (yeah, I know dessert wines are sweet, but sheesh!!), the angel food cake had fresh strawberries with it (not enough, in my opinion), but my dessert is what did it. It was a ricotta creme brulee. Trust me, it's much better than ordinary, because it's not very custardy, not too rich, and very yummy.
Service was included, so our total bill was $118 with tax. We had a dinegift certificate to knock $50 off, which was nice. We weren't sorry we went to Aura, but we're not going to go there again. It was kind of a letdown.

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