Abby Lane

 I was excited to learn that Jason Santos was expanding throughout Boston with Abby Lane. I’ve been the sister restaurant Blue Inc. a few times and love their creative cocktails, seasonal fare, and bar bites. After viewing Abby Lane‘s online menu and seeing the options of pizzas, sandwiches, meat, and seafood, I knew it would be a great spot to take my parents and husband.  Located in the Theater District, it’s an easy walk from the Ritz-Carlton parking garage as well as the Boston Common lot, perfect for out of town (and in town) theater-goers.

Bread: White rolls were brought out in a metal basket with a small scoop of butter in a glass bowl. There’s no easy way to say that the bread was extremely disappointing. Somewhat dry, not particularly warm or doughy, something you’d expect from a fast food pizza joint. At Jason Santos’s Blue Inc. they serve amazing pretzel rolls with a mustard butter – to die for! Not sure how he missed the bread mark at Abby Lane. Luckily the food improved from here…
bread

Menu: Appetizers & Small Plates, Soups & Salads, Individual Pizzas, Burgers & Sandwiches, Main Entrees, On The Side. At first glance I was impressed with the options and variety, but as I studied further nothing really caught my eye as innovative or that intriguing. I usually like ordering 2 plates, whether it’s soup & salad, app & salad, app & ½ pasta etc. A few apps looked good but the salad selection is really generic: House, Wedge, Caesar, Greek. Nothing creative about it! There are some entrees I could have ordered (Pork Tenderloin, Salmon, Ahi Tuna) but as the pizza section was the most interesting I couldn’t resist.

Food/Presentation:
Pizza Sicilian – prosciutto, mission figs, goat cheese, fresh arugula
And even though the menu didn’t state it, my pizza came with caramelized onions, which didn’t mix well with the other ingredients but I like onions so wasn’t complaining. This pizza was a good individual size with 6 slices. Toppings were plentiful and they did not skimp on the figs whatsoever. Based on the taste and size of this pizza I definitely recommend this section of the menu; all of the options look great (Margherita, Buffalo, Bianco, Calamari!).
pizza

Restroom: The ladies room has 5 stalls, white tiled walls, and a crisp & clean granite counter-top with 2 automatic sinks. A large wicker bin acted as a trash barrel.
bathroom1

Service: The service was great; our waitress was friendly, informative, and attentive with refills. Only Matt ordered a first and second course, but each came out on time without overlapping.

Overall: Abby Lane is a nice addition to the Theater District with its Contemporary American cuisine, close proximity to multiple theaters, and casual & modern atmosphere. With 2 stories there is plenty of seating, each level complete with a bar, banquettes &  free-standing tables, and large windows for people watching on Tremont Street. Prices are reasonable with Apps & Small Plates topping out at $15, Pizzas at $12, and Sandwiches reaching $17 (thanks to the lobster roll). Entrees are $16 – $28 with the Grilled 8oz. Filet Mignon taking the top price.

The Perfect Bite: Pizza Sicilian with all of the toppings (minus the caramelized onion mistake).


www.abbylaneboston.com

courtesy of the Abby Lane website

courtesy of the Abby Lane website

For more photos & descriptions of what everyone in my party ate, visit my Facebook Page, follow me on Twitter and/or Instagram!
www.facebook.com/ThePerfectBiteBoston
www.twitter.com/PerfectBiteBos
Instagram – @theperfectbiteboston

Blu Boston

 Before this dinner Savored sponsored dinner (which granted us 40% off our food bill) I had never heard of Blu Boston. Located above the Ritz-Carlton I figured it was out of my league in terms of clientele and price, but it was neither stuffy nor pretentious (not implying that the Ritz is either of these things).  It has a hip & trendy vibe with moderate prices and contemporary American menu.

photo courtesy of the Blu website

photo courtesy of the Blu website

Bread: As there were 6 of us, two baskets of herbed focaccia bread were brought to the table with a side of dipping EVOO in a pretty teardrop dish. These tiny bites were excellent, there’s no way you could have just one!


Menu: The dinner menu offered Appetizers, Salads, and Entrees. Nothing too exciting but each section had plenty of mouth-watering options. I knew I wanted the Summer Squash Soup, and there were quite a few entrees that looked appetizing but since we ordered 3 apps for the table I ended up with a soup and salad.

Food/Presentation:
Smoked Mozzarella Sticks: basil pesto and marinara dipping sauce
Four short logs of smoked mozzarella were stacked on top of each other with a side of pesto and marinara for dipping. I of course favored the pesto sauce which in my opinion goes well with anything. The thick sticks did have a noticeable smoky flavor which I’ve never seen before in this classic app.

Polenta Fries: truffled fondutta and minced chives
Eight polenta fries came balanced like Jenga pieces, topped with chives and accompanied by a side creamy dipping sauce. The outside had a slight crisp while the inside was warm and smooth. These were really excellent, and clearly everyone’s favorite app.

Flash-Fried Calamari: lemony herb aioli and chopped parsley
This popular starter is typically prepared and presented the same where ever you go, and this was no different. It was good, but didn’t stand out (except I loved the lemon herb aioli, which tasted like it had a hint of mustard!)

Mixed Greens: celery, blue cheese, walnuts, apple and blueberry vinaigrette
I typically skip by the “Mixed Greens” salads but this one actually caught my eye, mainly with the blueberry vinaigrette. It’s a common salad, one that I’ve even made for myself, but it never disappoints! It was lightly dressed and had a perfect amount of each component. Winner!

Summer Squash Soup: basil chiffonade and curry-spiced apples
This soup was unlike anything I’ve ever tasted, and not necessarily in a good (or bad) way. I’ve seen pureed soup that is quite liquidy, some with a thicker consistency, others with chunks of veggies, but this was light as foam. It essentially dissolved as soon as I put the spoon in my mouth. It had some flavor but there was zero texture and tasted like air. A little strange.

Bathroom: I can’t accurately judge, as this bathroom also belongs to The Sports Club/LA, but it was clean which is important …certainly nothing special though.

Service: Twice in a row now the bread has come before we ordered (see Stephie’s on Tremont)! It didn’t influence our decision making however as we still ordered 3 apps. We didn’t interact too much with our server but our water glasses were filled and each course came out in a timely manner.

Overall: The food was great and the space is really pretty. Floor to ceiling windows line an entire wall providing views of Boston and the surrounding buildings in the Ladder District. The dining room has mainly free standing tables with some banquettes and small alcoves for semi-private dining (which is where we were seated). For being located above the Ritz and within The Sport Club/LA I expected the prices to be more outrageous, but entrees were mainly in the $20 with a few reaching the mid-$30s. I only tried one cocktail but their Watermelon Martini was excellent!

photo courtesy of Blu website

photo courtesy of Blu website

The Perfect Bite: Polenta Fries dipped in the basil pesto from the mozzarella sticks.

http://www.blurestaurant.com/


For more photos & descriptions of what everyone in my party ate, visit my Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/ThePerfectBiteBoston

Teatro

The website boasts: “Contemporary. Upbeat. Italian Classics.” and that’s exactly what you get when dining at Teatro. Located at 177 Tremont Street in the Theater District, Teatro is a great spot for a pre or post theater/movie dinner. I’ve already been more than impressed by Chef Jamie Mammano after visiting Sorellina, Mistral, and Mooo… – I’ve been looking forward to his more casual venue for a while.
 
Bread: Large, white, & crunchy pieces served in a tall basket with a white bean puree & EVOO. Once the spread was gone there was no need to go back for seconds.
bread

bread

Menu: So many sections with too many delicious choices! Hot & Cold Antipasti, Salumi, Formaggio, Pizza, Hand-made Pasta, Risotto, and Entree… phew! You could easily treat this like a tappas menu, or decide to order an app for the table if you’re focused on having a main course. The best part: they offer you a choice of an appetizer or entree size for the Pasta and Risotto sections, which is perfect if you’re like me and want to try as much as possible but don’t want to be stuck with a full entree. We decided on an app to share, and I went with a soup and an appetizer sized pasta.

cheese pumpkin & lobster arancini

cheese pumpkin & lobster arancini

Presentation/Taste:
Cheese Pumpkin & Lobster Arancini – how can you read this and not order it? It came with 2 arancini topped with shaved parm, enough for each of us to have a 1/2 (sans my lobster-hating friend). There was only 1 piece of lobster in my 1/2 (which I kind of expected) but the pumpkin flavor was perfect (not too over-whelming). Who am I kidding, I love anything pumpkin!
Autumn Harvest Butternut Squash Soup – Served in a cup large enough to be considered a bowl. When I first saw the white soup I was nervous I’d be having pure cream. But then after the first dip of my spoon the beautiful orange squash puree emerged! Thick, and definitely cream based but not enough to upset my sensitive stomach. I LOVE YOU FALL FOODS!
Rigatoni with Classic Ragu Bolognese – Perfect appetizer size (which is probably an actual serving size). The meat was plentiful and the pasta was al dente! I’ve tried many a bolognese, and this lived up to the rest.
rigatoni bolognese

rigatoni bolognese

Bathroom: Located downstairs are 2 single stall women’s rooms. Nothing fancy but a couple nice features: automatic flusher, blue mini-tiled wall, aqua sink bowl.

bathroom

bathroom

Wait Staff: Regardless of the fact that my friend thought our waiter was hot, I wasn’t too impressed. Polite, but he was making me anxious b/c I felt like he was in a constant rush. He really did not waste anytime chatting us up or making us feel comfortable. Service was a little slow, but I’ll cut them some slack since it was a busy Friday night.
 
Overall: Prices were reasonable and the menu has plenty of options. A perfect spot for dinner & a movie (Boston Common theater is maybe 10 feet away). I definitely recommend, esp if you’re into tappas/sharing plates.
 
The Perfect Bite: A tough decision but the butternut squash soup had great consistency & taste, without overwhelming the belly. And did I mentioned I LOVE FALL FOOD?! 😉
butternut squash soup

butternut squash soup

http://www.teatroboston.com/#/home