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Restaurants & Bars

Boston Area

first visit to vinalia


Restaurants & Bars

first visit to vinalia

MC Slim JB | Jan 14, 2004 04:06 AM

Met some wine-loving friends for dinner here. Sleek bar, predictably full of Financial District types having a pop after work. Good work on the cocktails, though I didn't order one of the specialty jobs drawing on the impressive array of fresh fruit displayed in the middle of the bar.

With a nudge from fellow 'Hounds, I encouraged my crew to get the matched wine dinner: four courses with a generous (5-6 oz.) pour of wine for each. Lobster/shrimp bisque with a Napa Chard (not over-oaked for a change), duck breast in a strawberry sauce over a spinachy custard with a Northern CA pinot noir, an oversized porterhouse steak with a Cali cabernet, and a pretty tiramisu served in a cocktail glass alongside a tawny port.

Non-red-meat-eaters in my party were gracefully accommodated with substitutions for the beef course: one got salmon, the other sea bass, both very nice.

The standouts of the evening were the service (note-perfect) and the wines (unusual and well-matched). I was not blown away by the food (e.g., I found the spinach custard under the duck rather bland), but still quite liked it, and found the whole deal to be a bargain at $55 a head. Portions are quite large: that porterhouse was plate-sized (but somewhat indifferently grilled: the sirloin side done medium-rare as ordered, the filet side medium, a common mistake).

I think this place is a fine choice for wine lovers who are put off by the small portions and pours at Troquet (which I frankly prefer), the prices at Meritage (which are indeed scary), and the limited range of the food at Les Zyg (which is hardly a fault if you know what to expect). In any event, I'm happy I did the tasting menu, even though I was only able to finish about a third of every course.

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