As I mentioned in my previous post (did you enjoy my almond butter making experiment, btw? ), Adam and I are very much taking advantage of the Winter Restaurant Week here in Boston. For the next two weeks, participating restaurant are offering 3 course lunches for $20.10 and 3 course dinners for $33.10. It’s a really great deal because you can dine at really high end restaurants for a fraction of the cost. With everyone wanting in on this, we have so many reservations booked, I think I’m going to explode by the end of next Sunday. Oh well, at least I’ll explode with delicious eats in my belly 😉
So our first restaurant week dining experience this year was at B&G Oysters. I have been reading about and admiring Barbara Lynch for a few years now, but have never actually been to any of her restaurants (I did go to Drink, which is hers as well). So this time, we booked two dinners at her restaurants and I couldn’t be more excited. Let’s start with B&G Oysters, shall we?
The place is small with a big bar taking majority of space (there were maybe 4 or 5 separate small tables as well). At first I was a bit disappointed that we were going to eat a fancy meal at a bar but I quickly realized that this was very much part of the experience. I was literally sitting in front of the hot kitchen and watching the chefs do their thing. So, so cool!
My setting (with a kitchen sink and glasses drying in the background)
It was a little cramped but we quickly got used to this and enjoyed our view. I ordered a glass of the 2007 Balletto Pinot Noir to start (had a little less than 2 throughout dinner).
Adam got the Harpoon oyster stout which he really enjoyed. We got into a short discussion about whether PBR belonged on the menu. He said it was a disgusting beer that should not be disgracing the drink menu at a nice restaurant. I said that it was trendy and gave people a cheaper beer option. We agreed to disagree. What do you think?
Bread + EVOO
I had 1/2 of this guy – it was a little too crusty. Would be nicer warm.
And now onto the actual meal. I was a bit scared when the waitress said both appetizers had onions but my black trumpet mushroom arancini with fava bean puree disguisted the onion flavor quite well. I’m guessing the onions melted in the risotto as it was cooking. Phew!
The arancini were creamy (and slightly sweet) on the inside and nice and crunchy on the outside. They were a bit too fried for my taste, but of course I write a healthy food blog so it’s no surprise that I am not a fan of fried food. The flavors were great, though, and I enjoyed the freshness of the arugula salad. With Adam’s help, there was no trace of this appetizer left on the plate by the time we were done with our first course. 😀 [Adam’s lobster bisque was fabulous as well.]
There was a good wait between our first course and the next. I really enjoyed that because although things seemed to move at a million miles per hour around us, we were able to leisurely enjoy our drinks and observe all the action. It made the meal more about the experience rather than just about eating delicious food.
For my main course I ordered the swordfish saltimbocca with brussels sprouts, prosciutto and polenta
My apologies for this atrocious picture. They turned down the lights sometime between our first and second course and my camera could not handle it well without flash.
With the first bite, I found the fish to be a bit tough (maybe slightly overcooked?) and too salty. I saw the chef salting that thing – A LOT of salt was used. As I continued to eat, though, the creamy polenta and the juicy fish drew me in. Once I had the right expectations about the texture of the fish (this was not the melt-in-your mouth variety) I was able to enjoy it. Adam really liked his gnocchi (which btw apparently was onion-central – good thing I opted for the fish) but thought my dish was even better.
Dessert came soon after we polished off our main course. We both got chose the chocolate beer cake with braised citrus and Harpoon baltic porter
The braised citrus was too strong flavored and bitter so I left that off. The cake part was nothing special (yes, sponge cake made with beer) but the thick frosting was awesome. It was rich and chocolaty and that’s pretty much my criteria when it comes to chocolate desserts. I don’t want a hint of chocolate. I want to know what I’m eating! 😉 I ate this piece and even had a few bites of Adam’s. No chocolate cake is ever left behind when I’m around! 😆
Our dinner was really fun. I’ve had better high quality food but the overall experience was really fabulous. At a certain level of a restaurant (which this one would fall into) I expect high quality, well executed food but it’s the other stuff that makes me remember the meal. Superb service or something special about the atmosphere or maybe the sourcing of the ingredients (like all local, or all organic). I loved the vibe at B&G Oysters, I loved watching the kitchen. We’ll be back for sure!
Does your city have restaurant week? If so, did you take advantage of it?