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Boston Area

RW at Caffe Umbra was pretty good

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RW at Caffe Umbra was pretty good

MC Slim JB | Mar 9, 2006 10:28 PM

I know, I know, I excoriate Restaurant Week, and yet here I am, having a $30.06 prix fixe dinner at Caffe Umbra. It's not my fault, honestly: my good friends made me join them. I'm enough of a regular there that the staff is saying, "What the heck are you doing here?", and I'm apologizing for showing my face during Hell Week. My joke: "I'm one customer who will actually be back before the next RW!"

That said, I have to respectfully disagree with some prior posters' accusations of Caffe Umbra phoning it in. I thought my meal was a bargain, and my friends, also relative regulars, were simlarly impressed with their meals. Statler chicken, pork rack, flank steak: all were really rather nice, as were apps of soup (a tomato number with really good bready dumplings), salad, and mussels (which had a $2 premium, but were as good as they ever are here, which is pretty good.) Desserts didn't drop a whit from their usual extraordinary standard: that guy's ice creams just rock.

Service was clearly harried, pacing slower than usual, the dining room more packed with unfamiliar (read "suburban") types than one would expect on a weeknight. But it seemed to me like they were really trying, both in the kitchen and up front. Damn you, Caffe Umbra, for confounding my jaundiced view of Restaurant Week!

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