Restaurants & Bars

Boston Area

On the Park, South End, Boston

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Restaurants & Bars 6

On the Park, South End, Boston

Limster | Jun 19, 2003 01:55 AM

There's the thinnest possible layer of crispness on the crabcakes; they're full of crabmeat, sweet fibre building upon sweet fibre of vivid crab. It contrasts wonderfully with the bite of well placed watercress and a sharp, tangy slaw of carrots and radish(?), lightened cleverly by flecks of chopped mint. This is unassuming but effective cooking, reflecting a sense of care without fussiness. It's perfect for the pleasant, down-to-earth setting.

The sense of craft extends to the slab of snapper, cooked precisely to crisp skin and nearly silken flesh. The fish is dabbed gently with some very light raita in lieu of a sauce. Fresh asparagus and a rather original (coconut flavoured?) rice cake make notable sides. Despite the complicated ingredients, it's really good simple cooking at heart.

There's the right level of sweetness and a great tapioca pudding-like texture in the vanilla (?) and honey mousseline, but the honey's rich aura is a little elusive. The puff pastry layers that sandwich it make a decent textural contrast, but are a little soft to be fully effective.

On the Park may not be perfect in executing every minor detail of every dish. But it's not On the Town, nor does it aim to be. It fulfills a pleasant role as a neighbourhood spot for thoughtful cooking. In that regard, it's one of the few places that quietly succeeds at what it sets out to do, without pomp or hype, but with modesty and earnestness.

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