Saturday, October 27, 2007

Kingfish Hall - At which Todd English joins us for dinner

Ok not really, but he was at the next table. Kingfish Hall is his seafood restaurant in the heart of Faneuil Hall. Since this area caters heavily to tourists, I tend to not eat at the restaurants, I figure overpriced and mediocre. But last night my favorite neighborhood restaurant was booked solid and I wanted something good to eat. And in my world, one cannot go wrong at any of Todd English's restaurants. I did like that he was there, popping in on the kitchen and watching the goings on in there. It's good to know he still takes the time to keep an eye on his restaurants.

The menu is very expensive for such a casual place. There was an incredible sounding crispy lobster, which is basically a de-shelled lobster tempura fried, for $49. Other entrees were all over $28 and fairly basic. And since I wanted to eat more than one dish, I opted for some Kumamoto Oysters served with a cocktail sauce, I opted for just some lemon juice squeezed on top. I ordered the tuna tartare, a starter which I thought would be small. I was wrong. This was a lot of tuna, served on a lot of sushi rice, with a thin layer of seaweed in between. Basically a deconstructed tuna roll. And completely delicious! There was a hint of Sriracha on top which nearly burned my tongue off. I also ordered a side of the mac and cheese, which was served in the cutest cauldron, but lacking in cheese flavor and left a filmy layer on my teeth. I took a few bites, brought it home and reheated it with additional cheese. Sadly, I can make a better mac and cheese myself.

N ordered the fried calamari and the seafood gumbo. The calamari was delicious. It was covered in sauce, which resulted in it becoming soggy rather quickly. The seafood gumbo was served in a shallow skillet and was good, although over salty. You definitely tasted the seafood in the stock, however it looked and tasted as if it was thickened with black beans. Something we both found odd.

The service was a bit slow, even though there was enough staff and the restaurant wasn't very crowded.

A cool thing about the space, if you get a seat on the second level and can get into one of the booths that look like giant clam shells, they turn. So you can opt to sit facing the open kitchen or you can face the dining room. The light fixtures are also all funky and I would love to have one in my house.

Overall, I would not go here again for dinner, our total bill was $90 (including 2 glasses of wine) and for that much money there is far better food in the area at less casual places.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Small and Classy - Melt Spa

Are you looking for a small, intimate day spa? Melt is your place. Yet another spa on Newbury street you say? Yes, but this one is different.
The waiting area is small, just three chairs, meaning it's not the type of place that is so busy you have to wait around. There are 2 side by side pedicure stations (great for bringing a friend!), and from what I could see 3 treatment rooms. Satin sheets on the bed for facials, soft cotton flannel sheets for massages. The odd thing is there is one bathroom, no shower, and I had to change in the treatment room. There was a closet in the room for my clothes if I didn't want to leave them on the chair.
I was offered water, wine or champagne after my massage.
The massage itself was incredible. Sheila listened to me and avoided the areas I was uncomfortable with. She asked me about the pressure more than once, leaving me comfortable to indicate if it was too hard or too soft. There was music in the room from an ipod. Next time I will ask if I can use my own tunes.
Their prices are on par with most places, but the intimate aspect of the spa and the great service is priceless.