dante

My favorite time of year is here… Restaurant Week! This program allows for customers to enjoy a 3-course meal for $33.12 at all participating restaurants. Some also feature a 2-course lunch for $15.12 and/or a 3-course lunch for $20.12. I tend to make reservations at restaurants that are known for their expensive menus, that way I can really get my money’s worth!  To explore the Boston area restaurant’s participating in Restaurant Week, click here: www.restaurantweekboston.com/

My fourth of five RW dinners was last night at dante in the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Cambridge.

Bread: A small metal bowl came with 6 slices of white bread and a bottle of EVOO. The bread itself was pretty good but a few pieces were a bit too airy and I didn’t love the crust.

Menu: Dante’s Restaurant Week menu had a variety of options. From looking at the online menu it seemed as though you could choose between a salad and pasta for the 1st course, then choose a fish or meat for your 2nd course. However our server informed us that if we were craving pasta we’d be able to start with a salad and choose a pasta dish as an entrée. This threw me for a loop at first but I ultimately went with my original decision. Click below to see dante’s full restaurant week dinner menu:
http://www.restaurantweekboston.com/restaurant/dante/

Food/Presentation:
Semplice: simple greens, gorgonzola, grilled peach, almonds, red wine vinaigrette
This salad came topped with shaved almonds, peach chunks on the side along with 2 crostini with a smear of gorgonzola cheese. The lettuce was barely dressed and I wish the cheese was actually crumbled over the salad. The peaches were also not grilled as much as I had hoped. Not a terrible salad, but definitely a bit disappointing.


Lombo: stuffed pork loin “involtini”, smoked prosciutto, sage, polenta
The pork came rolled and stuffed with prosciutto in a bed of polenta and topped with apple slices. When I think of prosciutto I imagine thinly sliced and slightly salty meat. Whatever was curled up in the pork loin tasted more like overly salted ham, which I dislike. I ate most of it but eventually picked out and discarded the “prosciutto” pieces. The apples were a nice touch but the polenta wasn’t up to par with others I’ve had recently (see Henrietta’s Table). While I do enjoy creamy polenta this lacked flavor and texture.

Torta: chocolate hazelnut mousse cake, spiked chocolate sauce, anglaise, caramelized hazelnuts
This chocolate hazelnut cake was topped with chocolate sauce and caramelized hazelnuts. Once I cut into it I saw that it was layered: cake, mousse, cake, mousse. It was moist, decadent, and chocolately!

Service: We were originally seated at a table outside with a beautiful view of the Charles River. It was perfect for the 15 minutes we were out there, but swarms of tiny bugs soon took over our table so we asked to be moved inside. Not only did the wait staff try to thwart off the gnats with a pan of rosemary oil (apparently that delicious smell is suppose to repel them?!), but we also received a complimentary Arancini dish once we were seated indoors. The bugs were by no means the fault of the restaurant but they made it a point to give us a little something extra for the trouble.

Overall: We had a fun night surrounded by good friends, great wine, and a nice dim & relaxed atmosphere, but overall I think we were a bit disappointed with the food. The 2 true Italian dishes I tried (Arancini and my friend’s Chitarra Carbonara entrée) were really excellent. I’m glad I tried the pork, which was good minus the salty pig product, but if and when I return to dante I’ll probably stick to the pastas!

Chitarra Carbonara

Chitarra Carbonara

The Perfect Bite: Arancini drizzled with truffle honey.

www.restaurantdante.com

For more photos & descriptions of what everyone in my party ate, visit my Facebook Page http://www.facebook.com/ThePerfectBiteBoston or find me on Twitter and Instagram!

 

Advertisements

Bambara

My favorite time of year is here… Restaurant Week! This program allows for customers to enjoy a 3-course meal for $33.12 at all participating restaurants. Some also feature a 2-course lunch for $15.12 and/or a 3-course lunch for $20.12. I tend to make reservations at restaurants that are known for their expensive menus, that way I can really get my money’s worth!  To explore the Boston area restaurant’s participating in Restaurant Week, you can find the full list here: www.restaurantweekboston.com/

 

My first of 4 RW dinners was last night at Bambara in Hotel Marlowe in Cambridge.

Bread: Four rustic rolls were served with softened salted butter. The couple we dined with arrived before us and received the bread before we sat; my roll was a little hard and not warm, but perhaps it was when it was served? It was still good and I of course ate the entire thing.

Menu: It seemed as though Bambara was offering their full menu for Restaurant Week as there were many options for each course. For the 1st course you could choose between the Salad and Appetizer section which complicated my decision making, in a good way. See Bambara’s full Restaurant Week menu here: www.restaurantweekboston.com/restaurant/bambara-at-hotel-marlowe/

Food/Presentation:
Spicy Tuna Tartare: avocado puree, waffled potato crisps
A square of tuna came topped with a dollop of avocado puree and a bowl full of salty waffle chips. The “spicy” component came from the sliver of red (maybe sriracha) sauce in the center. The chips were unfortunately too thin to pick up the tuna on their own and kept breaking! Otherwise this was a great start to the meal.

Summer Vegetable Fricassee: heirloom tomatoes, Verrill Farm sweet corn, local mild chilies, roasted zucchini, baby leeks, crispy polenta, herbs
This dish was so scrumptious! The “crispy polenta” was actually warm and soft underneath all of the vegetables, almost like a potato cake. The corn was crisp and fresh, and leeks were so flavorful, and the sauce has a great consistency without being too creamy. Great veggie entrée!

Bread Pudding: caramelized bananas, creme anglaise, caramel
This was not your typical bread pudding. I was initially slightly disappointed at the sight of it, but after one bite I immediately changed my mind. The dessert was more of a pound cake/banana bread type, topped with sugary banana slices and drizzled with caramel. I wouldn’t call it bread pudding, but whatever it was, it was delicious.

Bathroom: This restroom wasn’t part of Bambara, as the restaurant is in the Hotel Marlowe in Cambridge. The restroom is in the hotel’s lobby and therefore did not reflect the character or style of Bambara. However I did love the shutter stall doors and automatic soap dispenser and sinks.

Service: Our server was present when he needed to be and helped my friend choose the Salmon which was the “Catch of the Week” over the Pan Roasted Cod. Our water glasses were filled regularly and he checked on us throughout the meal. 

Overall: Restaurant Week wise, I recommend Bambara based on the wide variety of options and excellent quality of food. The portions were appropriate for a 3-course meal; some may say the desserts were small but after a full app & entrée I was delighted by the medium slice of banana “bread pudding” and multiple-bite sized Caramel Date Cake. Another plus, we parked in the Cambridge Side Galleria for $3.99! You won’t find that pricing in a Boston lot/garage.

The Perfect Bite: Soft polenta, crisp corn, baby leek… and any other veggie I can fit on the fork!

www.bambara-cambridge.com

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