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Almost Chow Crawl, Washington Street, South End

gini | Apr 11, 200808:16 AM

Pho Republique:
2$ dim sum from 5:30 - 7:30. We had the shiu mai (barely better than packaged), vegetarian rangoon spring roll (herbed cream cheese deep fried - I was not happy, but I knew that going in), tofu, edammame, and bok choy gyoza (nice flavor, peking-style dumpling), and candied garlic spare ribs (these were excellent). Overall, a nice idea for after work, but the food was only fine, not great.

Charcuterie bar from 5:30 - 7, Tuesday & Thursday. As a customer appreciation, Sage puts out a spread of cured meats (prosciutto, hot sopresetta, and a lovely fragrant toscano salami (I think)), cheeses (gorganzola dolce, robiola, and roomano pradera (I think)), along with several types of antipasti (eggplant, parsley & white bean dip, roasted red peppers) and crisp breads on Tuesdays and Thursdays. In addition, we also had a slightly vinegary arugula, mushroom and cheese salad that was quite refreshing and the mouth watering shortrib arancini. Tasty.

We hadn't planned to eat here, but couldn't resist trying. The winner: Soy Ginger Lamb Spring Roll with roquerfort glaze. It was at once creamy, rich and deeply satisfying. The loser: trio of pork belly. Yes, it had the fatty goodness of a pork belly, but the crispness so needed against the soft belly was not there. It was also rather lukewarm, bordering on cold, which made the whole thing gelatinous and unappetizing. There were also some shrimp on the table, as well as veal croquettes and shortribs, but I was too full to sample those.

We only had room for the spicy tuna tartar (at the suggestion of our excellent bartender). The fingerling potato chips were salty and crisp and the perfect counterpoint to the spicy, tender tuna. What a way to end the night.

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