My wife and I had such a good meal at Queen Saturday night that it reminded me again why I prefer this Court Street mainstay to all the equally priced Smith Street restaurants when it comes to a special night out. Different foods/atmospheres work for different folks, and I've had fine meals at some of the Smith St places--but all things considered, I really prefer Queen.
Saturday I started with baby string beans with red onion--light and flavorful, super-fresh. M started with her fave, beets with fennel. It wasn't quite as superb as usual--just a little too much vinegar that night--but still earthy and lovely. She had swordfish with peppers as a main--a terrific (and, as usual with Queen, generously portioned) piece of fish, cooked just right. My main was risotto with eggplant and a little ricotta and various other lovely flavors--so simple and yet so much lighter and tastier than risotto usually is. Yum.
A bottle of Iron Horse fume blanc; wonderful desserts (lucious mascarpone raisin gelato for me; panna cotta with raspberry sauce and an espresso with a shot of anisette for her). Not cheap at $140 with tip, but I left feeling, as I always do after a meal at Queen, happy and satisfied.
They're sprucing up the decor a bit (new chairs). But it's still what it has steadily been in the ten years I've been going there--honest, fresh, never run-of-the-mill (but also not trendy or cutting edge) food, very well presented, in a straightforwardly friendly atmosphere. And unlike at all of the restaurants on Smith Street, you get to have a conversation at normal volume, since the tables aren't packed together in a small wood/steel room. And to top it all off...a nice varied crowd, lots of families, with nary an attitudinal hipster in sight!