By: Finance Foodie
Restaurant Week in Boston is baaaccck! For the next week (from August 22-27th), participating restaurants are offering 2-course lunches for $15.10, 3-course lunches for $20.10 and 3-course dinners for $33.10. Truth be told, I’ve always had mixed feeling about Restaurant Week. Yes, it’s a great way for consumers to try a new place for a fraction of the cost, and the resulting surge in traffic is a much welcome respite to the recession stricken restaurant industry. But are these deals possible because the quality in the food and innovation of menu items are sacrificed?
I decided to test drive the restaurant week menu at 29 Newbury this past Saturday night. Before I even looked at the menu, I noticed the décor of the place was completely mismatched - art deco portraits of Marilyn Monroe and Judy Garland were on hand with a statue of a Mongolian horse. I was perplexed, and made even more so when the new dance-pop Adam Lambert song came on over the speakers.
Unfortunately, this lack of a cohesive concept translated to the menu, as the non-restaurant week menu featured sushi next to mushroom ravioli and clam chowder. Some may see the variety in cuisine as a positive, but I was worried – was the eclectic menu the result of a chef who was trying to cover up a lack of culinary ability?
Turning back to the restaurant week menu, I ordered the salmon and tuna tartare on crispy bruschetta for my first course. This wasn’t too bad, as the denseness of the bruschetta bread held up well against the richness of the tartare. Although I would have liked more tuna and salmon and less avocado and unidentified “special sauce”.
The real tragedy of the night, however, was the main course. The lobster stir fry was well presented but tasted like a Stouffer’s frozen meal. The lobster chunks were almost non-existent (a few small slivers) and the dish was completely overrun by the clumsy chunks of bell peppers and bland bean sprouts. The sauce was way too spicy for my tastes – which was unfortunate since this was the only component of the dish that had any real flavor. I should have been angry that the portion was so small, but instead, I was relieved.
The last course was a tiramisu for dessert. Not much to say except that it was very standard and not very impressive. Certainty not worth indulging for in the midst of my fashion week diet.
29 Newbury St
Boston, MA 02116