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Slightly duped at Metropolis

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Restaurants & Bars

Slightly duped at Metropolis

MC Slim JB | May 20, 2006 12:29 AM

I've long been a fan of this little, medium-priced South End place, and am glad to see some changeover from the winter menu. A summer gazpacho, mostly good-tasting tomato, was especially lovely, with a little dollop of Jonah crabmeat in the middle. The endive salad proved a reliable standby, full of good blue cheese, crunch, and bacon flavor. The rigatoni with sausage wasn't quite up to its usual excellence, the sauce a litle heavily laid on, and tasting a little too canned.

The big tease was the steak frites, advertised as "a hanger steak with steak frites". (As it turns out, this weird locution should have raised hackles, but I didn't question it.) I ordered this in honor of the Steak Frites Explorer poster of a few days back, to whom I had recommended many of my local favorites, but not mentioned Metropolis, as I frankly don't remember seeing it on this menu before. (They regularly do a sirloin special that they serve vertically, the steak resting on a cushion of pomme puree.)

The steak itself was beautiful (I love the grain and chew of onglet), masterfully charred, cooked perfectly to order, sliced obliquely before serving (a mark of authenticity in my book), with a lovely pan-juice sauce. But the "frites" were thick wedges of cottage fries, a major bust: when I see "frites", I expect crisp-fried shoestrings, nothing more or less. Had I known what was coming, I would have skipped this dish entirely, or at least substituted a side of their amazing potato/leek/asiago gratin instead, my favaorite version of scalloped potatoes in town. A crushing bit of false advertising. Call it hanger steak, but if it doesn't include proper frites, don't call it steak frites!

Ah well, not enough to ruin the meal, but the only major disappointment I've experienced here. The server was fine, the wine list, as ever, offering a few nicely-priced wines, especially for the neighborhood. But I hate being hornswoggled. At Metropolis, "steak frites with steak frites" means hanger steak with sub-par American-style "steak fries": an abomination, and a completely unworthy bit of weasel-assed menu chicanery. Shame on you.

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