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Primo visit from SF

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Restaurants & Bars 3

Primo visit from SF

shocker | May 23, 2003 01:11 PM

spent a few days in boston over the last couple of weeks, and, as always, i was mostly impressed w/the restaurant scene.

used to live there, and i crave charlie's turkey hash on a fairly consistent basis. it was so good this visit i had it twice.

oleana started off w/a bang-that carrot puree and walnut pâté is spectacular, but the rest was a minor disappoint. not bad, just far from sublime. but that white port cocktail w/mint and grapes is smooth, smooth, smooth.

some friends dragged me to blue ginger. eeh. not terrible, just muddled and a little boring for how purportedly innovative it all is. and a hideous space. press info goes on about how feng shuied the place is, yet there's a monstrous strip mall ceiling looming just overhead.

caffè umbra was a revelation. i'd heard she was pulling off some amazing food, but i wasn't prepared for just how amazing. a lettuce/pea soup was bright w/springtime and finished w/fried ricotta-mint balls. a startingly simple appetizer plate consisted of proscuitto, fava beans, and asiago 'cannoli' stuffed w/lightly dressed arugula. the flavors were clean and direct- a brilliant execution. and the chicken liver terrine w/pickled walnuts and roquefort-celery toast points was hefty and light, stripped of that ofttimes overbearing iodine flavor.

an entrée of seared salmon fillet w/a pool of rhubarb glaze and a dollop of gingered lentils knocked my socks off. the fish cooked to just the right temp, the glaze providing a sweettart counterpoint, and the lentils, oh dear the lentils, i could've eaten all day.

dessert was uninspiring, thank god there was flour to satisfy any and all sweet needs. their meringue clouds in almond and chocolate are a textural marvel-- chewy on the inside, crisp on the outside.

everyone says how great we've got it out here in the bay area. we do, but y'all ain't got nothing to complain about. can't wait to go back.

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