It is restaurant week in Boston! So off Lauren, Graham and I went to find a delicious bargain dinner. Okay, here’s the thing about restaurant week…..each restaurant offers a choice of three specific three course dinner for $35.00 which at many restaurants, is a bargain. The difficult part is finding a restaurant which offers three courses that you would really like to order. Even more difficult is finding a restaurant that offers a vegetarian option for all three courses that really thrills the crowd. The problem is that if you don’t like the options for all three courses, then it is no longer a bargain. Anyway, the whole thing takes quite a lot of research. I actually think this is best attempted by couples who have fairly similar taste in restaurants and food, because we failed pretty miserably. We had a great meal, but we all found things on the regular menu that we would rather order, so no bargains were had. Here’s the website...www.RestaurantWeekBoston.com.
Our whole family loves Sel De la Terre. We originally started going to the one on Long Wharf in conjuncture with our many trips to the New England Aquarium (www.newengland aquarium.com). This week, we went to the Sel De La Terre in the Back Bay which is also great and has some fun decor. The bar area is decorated with funky old bicycles which hang from the ceiling. I think the restaurant on Long Wharf has a cozier atmosphere, but they are both nice.
Lots of people know this restaurant as Chef/owner Frank McClelland’s famous L’Espalier’s less expensive and more rustic sister restaurant. The Boylston Street location sits right next to L’Espalier at the new Mandarin Oriental. I haven’t been to L’Espalier since the bad old days in the investment business in the ’80s- wow, that was a treat!! Anyway, many of you have probably been to Sel De La Terre, so I won’t bore you with all the details, but here are a few great things about it…
1. THE BREAD!!! Oh my gosh, I love the bread. It comes from Le Soleil Bakery and Catering which is McClelland’s Catering and Baking business. Check out the website at www.ausoleilcatering.com. I had the Rosemary focaccia – unbelievably tasty!
2. THE VEGETARIAN MENU!!!! Lauren thinks this is the best vegetarian menu that she has come across in a non-vegetarian restaurant. There are lots of good options and the prices are lower than the regular menu. We tried …
Grilled flatbread, cows milk feta, carmelized onions, Black Mission figs and sage-Yummmm!
Native Corn Risotto, foraged mushrooms, sautéed braising greens, truffled pecorino- this is delicious and I like the visual of some rustic, french country farmer foraging those mushrooms!
Nicoise salad, farm egg, pomme croquette and vinaigrette. This is good..I liked the pomme croquette, but I think the salad is a little heavy on the fingerling potatoes and light on the greens.
Off the regular menu, Graham had the Scottish salmon, harrissa, caramelized cauliflower, golden raisins, fingerling potatoes; baby leek emulsion. He thought it was a little bland. Check out all their menus at www.seldelaterre.com. FYI, I only saw the link for the vegetarian menu at the Back Bay website.
3. THE LOCAL ORGANIC PRODUCE! McClelland’s Apple Street Farm in Essex, MA. is the primary source of organic produce, free-range poultry and pork, and egg-laying hens for his restaurants. Check out their website at www.applestreetfarm.com. There is a farm stand at the end of their driveway, so we went by to check it out. Most farm stands fill in their produce with other local farms’ produce and also some not so local. Not so at this farm stand, it’s just Apple Street Farm’s produce. On the day we went, there were heirloom tomatoes, plum tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, turnips, chard, fresh eggs in a cooler and a few other things. It’s a self-serve farm stand with prices on chalk boards and a cash box to leave payment. I thought it was pretty cool and I bet the people who live on Apple Street love it.
Finally, what I don’t love about Sel De La Terre:
1. The service is slow and I think the same thing every time I have been to this or the Long Wharf restaurant. We had sat long enough so we decided to hit Ben and Jerry’s on Newbury Street for dessert.
Anyway, it was a another good outing. Wondering if anyone out there has made Boston Restaurant Week work for them? We would love to hear about it!
Robin and Lauren