Monday, August 6, 2007

Radius - Boston Restaurant Week

Coming from SF where restaurant week lasts a month, and generally the theory behind it seems to be "let's give customers the real restaurant experience to make them want to return, even if we are a 4 star restaurant and don't need to beg for customers" my first foray into Boston's restaurant week (really 2 weeks) seemed to be a tad different. I was warned by a friend that the theory behind Boston's is "let's get people in and out fast and not really put our best foot forward because we don't need the additional customers".

Lunch today was at Radius. This being one of the city's celebrated restaurants I was expecting food that stands on par with it's regular prices. Sadly, I would give it a 5/10 and most of that being for the service.

Both my dining companion and I opted for the Salmon tartare. What we got was not really a tartare. Cooked salmon mixed with mayonnaise, topped a scallion paste and kumquats, sitting on top of cucumbers drizzled with chili oil. I felt like there should have been some sort of companion to eat it with. Basically, it was what I would call salmon salad (in the vein of canned tuna salad). I ate a few bites and left the rest on the plate, the waiter did ask if everything was ok and I told him that to me tartare generally is raw and not mixed with mayonnaise. He agreed and said they should have called it something else as it isn't tartare and the label is misleading. My companion was also not a fan, but being more polite and hungrier than me, she did eat her entire dish.

Here and at dessert my companion and I opted for different dishes so as to taste all the options.
Hers: Grilled swordfish, sauteed squash and zucchini, potato confit. The swordfish should have been topped with a tomato and caper "salad" but it was left off the plate and we had to send the waiter back to the kitchen to bring a side of it. There was a dash of a basil puree streaked across the plate. The swordfish was very tender and well grilled. I wasn't sure I would like swordfish, but it was good. The tomato and capers added a good flavor to it. The potato "confit" was an utter disappointment. No flavor, just boiled potato taste.

Mine: Crispy chicken paillard with wild mushroom and corn succotash and bacon tomatillo sauce. This translated to fried chicken breast, not pounded thin as paillard tends to be, but a thick chunk of chicken breast. Luckily, it was very deeply fried and so very tasty for fried chicken. There was no bacon tomatillo sauce anywhere on my plate, unless they consider the very tiny slivers of bacon mixed in with my corn and mushroom to have been it. I didn't taste any tomatillo flavor at all.

Hers: Chocolate Pilon with Fenugreek Ice Cream and salted peanuts. I admit, I wanted her to order this because I was curious as to the flavor of fenugreek in ice cream and as part of a dessert. Fenugreek has a very strong and distinct flavor, not one I would ever think of using in this context. The dessert was a giant explosion of contrasting flavors and textures. The dense chocolate mousse core was delicious, but the almost curry like flavor of the ice cream was odd next to it. There was also some golden raisens and what we determined to be black currants involved and a very sticky strongly flavored not really caramel but the same consistency sauce. When deconstructed, the dessert was good, but as a whole, while interesting and the most memorable of all the dishes, it just didn't work for us.

Mine: Mango and Raspberry Tart with Pistachios and Hibiscus Ice Cream. The tart was just a giant shortbread cookie with raspberry sauce squirted on it and some sliced up mango a couple raspberries and pistachios. The cookie was very buttery and yummy and I had to control myself from eating it all. The hibiscus was a sorbet that my companion described as very flowery. Hibiscus always has a tart taste to me and so I was expecting a bit of that, but she was right, it was very flowery. Regardless, it was a light and summery companion to the dense cookie.

Service: As expected in a good restaurant the service was prompt and smooth. Napkins were refolded when I stepped away from the table. Fresh utensiles with every course.

Decor: Large space, but warm wood tones, beautiful molding, and a very cool dash of red across the top of the walls.

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