We went to MFA this weekend and stopped by Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum cafe for lunch. This was one of the better meals I've had in a Boston restaurant in a while.
Started with parsnip soup with smoked scallops. Just great. The soup was smooth, but not heavy, punctuated with delicate sweet/salty little nuggets of scallops, and topped with a generous sprinkle of chives. This inspired me to try smoking scallops :)
For entrees we got a chicken pot pie (very solid, but not amazing), and polenta cakes with mushroom sauce and cress -- incredibly good! The polenta cakes were crispy and non at all greasy (in spite of deep-frying). The mushroom sauce had mostly button mushrooms, some shiitake, and was finished with a little cream. Simple, but so mushroomy and satisfying. A pile of lemony cress on top created a nice contrast with the woodsiness of the mushrooms.
We should have known when to quit (actually, my husband did), but I just had to try one of their desserts. Since it was such a cold and rainy day, I went for the white chocolate bread pudding. This was the only disappointment of the meal (inspite of its award winning status according to their menu). Way, way too sweet. The pudding itself was ok, if a bit too compressed and cold for my taste, but the half melted brown sugar blob on top was completely uncalled for. The whole thing sat in a pretty decent creme anglaise.
The prices were $6 for the soup and $12-14 for pot pie and polenta (I don't remember exactly).
I'd love to go back, especially when they open the terrace.