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Boston Area

spring menu at the Franklin Cafe

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spring menu at the Franklin Cafe

_ Slim JB | Mar 31, 2005 10:01 PM

Despite the pain of fighting crowds, the Franklin remains one of my very favorite dinner spots in Boston, as it has been for about six years or so now. Case in point: dinner tonight, which requires an hour wait (not our cleverest sussing of the lulls between rushes), but ends up fully being worth it.

Expertly made strained cocktails at the packed bar help us while away the time. That bartender really earns his crust, keeping up with a two-deep crowd of drinkers, and many folks dining at the bar, with only one bar-back to help him.

Once seated, we tuck into the usual comp of good crusty bread with garlicy white-bean spread, freshly sprinkled with parsley and EVOO. Apps: sweet corn and poblano soup, full of subtle, fresh flavors. The zucchini-stick salad, a welcome returner, features long, wide, papery shavings of peccorino romano and beautifully half-raw vegetables, perfectly dressed.

Main: a fabu free-form lasagne, with one tennis-ball-sized homemade sweet Italian sausage, another large/thin shaving of mozzarella, great gravy. Pastas are always terrific here, but this one really sings. Side of crisply sauteed green beans in a buttery, sriracha-y sauce, gorgeous.

Add a glass of very decent Montepulciano and the tab (not counting pre-dinner drinks) comes to $40 plus tip, a very plentiful dinner for two. Ever-pleasant booth service on an absolutely jamming night.

Many attractive reasons to return on this menu: the fresh-pea ravioli with pea tendrils is back, plus novelties like a jerk-chicken stew, a veal end-shank entree, many others items that look wonderful. Not hard to understand the crowds.

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