My fiance and I went to Restaurant L for lunch last weekend. We had heard all the press about the chef (food and wine best new chef, etc...) and decided to give it a try. The space itself is really beautiful, which should be a no-brainer considering it sits inside the Louis Boston store. The space is really bright, with tall windows and brightly painted walls. Okay, onto the food. We ordered the tuna tartare and tempura shrimp spring rolls. These were unbelievable. The cold tuna tartare and the warm shirmp tempura was great inside the cool rice paper roll. The dipping sauce was a simple soy based sauce, but that is all the roll needed. Next, the bread came out, and I must say, it was some of the best bread I've had in a while. It was a focaccia style bread, served warm. The sea salt on top really put it over the top.
For our main courses, we had pho noodles with chicken and a roast chicken dish (in retrospect I find it odd that we both ordered chicken dishes). The pho noodles with chicken was basically just pad thai. I found this a little strange, because when I ordered the pho noodle dish (not thinking it was pad thai), the waiter said, "okay, so the pad thai for you..." I was hoping for something a little more exciting, but it was still good, despite the fact that it was too salty. The other chicken dish was really good, sitting in a spicy ginger broth with tiny dumplings. Defintely really good spice, but again a little salty.
I will say the service was pretty bad for the quality of the restaurant. Our waiter had absolutely no personality and had an air of ego to him. In addition, it took him at least five minutes to come over to the table to take a drink order, he forgot to get a lime for my fiance's water and it took him almost ten minutes to clear the table after we had finished eating. In total, our bill with tax and tip was $80.
That evening, we went to Sibling Rivalry in the South End. Again, another really well designed space. The concept behind the restaurant is interesting. Two chefs, who happen to be brothers, have designed the menu with ingredients down the middle of the page and each chef's dish involving that ingredient listed on the left and right hand side. The only issue I have with that layout is that apps and mains are not separated, they are color coded instead. So you have to scan the whole menu to find all of the apps and ditto for the the mains.
We ordered sweetbreads and a garlic shrimp pasta for apps. The sweetbreads were really good, though I found that there was too much going on on the plate. There was ham, arugula, morrels, onions, beets. There were only two small pieces of sweetbreads, so it was almost like the sweetbreads were just a component of the dish, not the main attraction. The shrimp were good, served over jalapeno pasta. Nice spice from the chili's. For mains we got seared sea scallops and braised beef shortribs. Both of these were disappointing. The scallops were overcooked. Yet again, there was too much on the plate. There were pork dumplings, pineapple, black bean vinaigrette and really liquidy, pureed potatoes they called "silky mashed potatoes." On the menu, this dish was listed next to black beans. Does that make any sense. It was almost like they threw on the black bean vinaigrette (basically thinned out pureed black beans) just to have another black bean dish for the left side of the menu. It didn't really make any sense. You have awesome jumbo scallops yet you decide to cover them with pinapples, potato puree, black beans and pork dumplings?
The braised shortribs were really dry. The meat was probably pre braised and then fitted into a ring mold and pan seared. It was like a braised shortrib cake. The problem was that the seared part of the cake was incredibly dry. The sides were roasted root veg (salsify and beets if I remember correctly) and were cooked well but not seasoned at all.
For dessert we had a grand marnier creme brulee, which was really good. Unlike Restaurant L, service at Sibling Rivalry was extremely attentive and warm. I will say though that the wine mark ups seemed really high in some cases. I'm fine with 300% mark ups (hey, the rent has to be high), but $50 for Ste. Michelle Eroica that wholesales for $13 or $14?