Just wanted to report back my experience with Sel de la Terre last Wednesday and No. 9 Park on Thursday. Thanks again to all who provided recommendations.
I walked in to Sel de la Terre on Wednesday around 7 with a business colleague without reservations. We were seated instantly, and then left alone for quite some time. When the waitress did return, we ordered a shallot and garlic oil side for our bread, as well as a trio of charcuterie (pate, mousse, etc...), King salmon with apricots, and a sea bass en papillote. All of the food was absolutely wonderful, especially the sea bass, which was served with fennel. We ordered glasses of wine, which were decently priced. Overall, the meal was $100 including tax and tip, and was quite enjoyable, despite mediocre service. I'd definitely go back. I didn't expect much, and was pleasently surprised.
I had much greater expectations for No. 9 Park, and am sad to say I was a little dissapointed. After calling to say that I was bringing girlfriend for her birthday and being told they would be sure to do something special such as a candle, it appeared that they had totally forgotten. While we were seated promptly and received excellent service, there was no indication of the birthday. More importantly, however, was the food. I had the chef's tasting menu, which ranged from very good (single scallop which was a bit too sweet, but perfect consistency) to excellent (braised pork cheek perfectly done). They were nice enough to replace my dessert course with extra cheeses (unbelievably good). My girlfriend ordered the market (veggie) menu, which also had amazing courses (chantrelle soup - best course of the evening), but unfortunately had some very poor courses (squash stuffed with mung beans and brown barley). I suppose the mung beans were as good as could be expected, but they tasted as bad as they sound. Overall, the experience was very nice, but not exactly worth the nearly $200 per person. I wonder if we caught an off night since the menu changes, or if this was standard...
Overall, I had a fabulous time in Boston, and look forward to exploring your city's other offerings...thanks again for all the pointers...
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