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Catalyst 2014- Pampered , Relaxed, Happy

opinionatedchef | Feb 14, 201410:23 PM

A number of CHs that I respect are fans of Catalyst, and I have been wanting to try it since they opened in 2011. I'm on their email list and, though we hadn't done Valentine's Day out in awhile, I was very taken by C's menu, so tonight we finally got to go there.
Tuna Tartare with Avocado , and Cockscomb Pasta w/ Lobster and Perigord reduction- were our meals' highlights, both luxury dishes that perfectly suited our desire to be pampered. Salmon and lamb entrees were perfectly cooked and the extra ramekin of blood orange beurre blanc I requested- was worthy of some serious genuflection. Just beautiful.

C's chef/owner Bill Kovel had made a very good name for himself at the Four Seasons' Aujourdhui, so I was confident that the night would go well. When a successful hotel chef opens their own place (I can't think of other recent examples in Boston right now) you can be pretty sure that not much fazes them, that they've likely "seen it all", and that they run a tight ship. Sure enough, C was true to those thoughts. It's a very big space with 20 foot ceilings and a front wall of windows, with sleek understated grey decor: padded chairs and banquettes, wooden plank-like tables, cement floors and simple lighting.
Despite the hard surfaces, it was very quiet in the front 'Atrium' room . And best of all, there was a lot of space between tables. Man, i really can't remember eating w/ out being able to hear my neighbor's conversation, and that quality alone made it very special.

From the get-go, the details were all there. A terrific bread basket of Iggy's served with a very unique and delightful spiced butter. The best lime cucumber vodka drink i've ever been given
and some very interesting reds by the glass. They were flush with servers and the spacing and timing of the dishes- was seamless. Plate presentation was particularly lovely- nothing over-the-top dramatic but well composed and layered , and dressed with swirls of colorful sauces and oils.
I was surprised how much I enjoyed that aspect of the dishes. Compared to the bistros where we usually eat, Catalyst was a welcome stop in luxe, and we look forward to returning.

Would love to hear of others' experiences. It hasn't had its own CH thread for awhile.

Iggy's Bread
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