WOW! I had a great time eating my way around Boston last week. Clio was a big hit for me. The shiso mojito was delicious and well-balanced, and the service and food were memorable and amazing. Started with the fantastic lobster and sea urchin cassolette ($19), a rich, smooth, buttery, sweet and spicy concoction topped with foam. I can't remember having anything this good in recent months! My friend's crab-stuffed avocado was equally melt-in-your-mouth wonderful. The intermezzo, a wonton ravioli stuffed with molten parmesan perched on a spoon proved a little too doughy. My NZ venison main topped with crunchy olive-cocoa sprinkles delighted with the addition of a small round of foie gras although it obviously lacked side veggie or starch component ($42). Good thing I didn't arrive starving. After a prolonged delay (and several attempts on my part to rectify the lack of wine suggestions), the server finally ordered/recommended the '99 Rioja (tempranillo) which decently matched the venison though neither were any the wiser having been introduced. Dessert ($11) memorably grouped a crunchy/smooth chocolate croustillant roll with tangerine paste, a mound of tasty cocoa powder, and subtle eucalyptus ice cream all topped with the ubiquitous foam. 9/10
$100 lighter, I headed to 33 Lounge for even more memorable drinks - the fresh blood orange juice-laced Scarlet Martini and mango-rich Tropical Cocktail ($12) were far superior to the fresh-juice-averse Spire (at Nine Zero) cocktail menu where $15 buys a tequila-rich pomegranate cocktail with no bar snacks or personality.
Daily Catch at the Waterfront was disappointing overall. We were the only customers there on a Friday evening at 9 pm, and the atmosphere suffered. Calamari meatballs were extremely gritty and tomato sauce lacked zip. Tender and flavourful Monkfish marsala proved to be nothing like veal marsala sauce I'm used to - this lemony sauce was of course lighter in colour and flavour probably due to lack of veal juices. Black pasta aglio olio with chopped squid again provided all the grit with none of the expected flavour. The pasta itself was done perfectly but the rest of the dish was a watery disaster. When questioned, the server reported back that squid is gritty because it is caught close to shore and she recommended ordering deep sea squid or asking kitchen staff to wash it carefully in future. 5/10
Redbones in Davis Square area provided an enormous platter of oak-smoked ribs for only $16.99. Although the coleslaw was terrible and the beans humdrum, the memory of their Texas beef ribs will keep me happy for months to come up here in barbecue-barren Canada. Service was terrific. Although not as good as down south, Memphis ribs, Carolina pork chop and tender beef brisket washed down with an ENORMOUS jar of ice tea-lemonade nicely rounded out the Atkins-friendly adventure. 7/10
I didn't realize ice cream was such a big hit in Boston until I sampled potato pie, coffee-oreo, and bailey's cheesecake ice cream at J.P. Licks in Davis Square, and khulfee and burnt caramel at Toscanini's in Harvard Square. Yum. 10/10
Who says there isn't any good food in Faneuil Hall/Quincy Market? Bombay Club's amazing khatti roll with paneer ($7) was so delicious I wish we had it here in Toronto! (10/10) (However, the regular cream puff at Beard Papa was only average quality)
Finally, Legal Seafoods really is terrific - I thoroughly enjoyed the 99% grit-free clam chowder, 6 raw cherrystone clams, and the cold lobster "roll" (it was hard to pick up the bread since it was mostly invisible but overall this still proved tasty). Their jalepeno sauce and cocktail/horseradish sauces far exceeded Neptune Oyster's sauces, but their lobster roll couldn't live up to Neptune's hot, buttery masterpiece. Even Legal's fresh, crunchy coleslaw appealed to me, a confirmed coleslaw-hater. Both the Prudential Centre and Logan Airport locations had attentive service and hot yummy bread rolls. Tasty April-ade proved an original non-alcoholic option. 8/10