RW Boston Winter 3 – Pigalle

I love French food. I adore their snails. I secretly worship their generous use of butter for absolutely everything and anything. I am not a French food connoisseur by any means (or of any food, for that matter), but I do know how to eat, and that’s all that matters… for now at least! The only sad part is, either because I’m a poor college student or because I also have the stigma that French food is expensive – or because of both – I don’t really try to go to French restaurants. BUT my hope my darling RW was here, so I immediately started searching for one.

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So there is a story behind getting to Pigalle. Being the RW lover, I had made a reservation like forever before the day we wanted to go. So why did we sit at the bar?

Another friend of mine had come to visit me in Boston all the way from Mexico, so I thought why not take him to a good restaurant and have a good conversation and company over good, solid food? He did not have a cellphone, so we just decided to meet in front of Arlington station about fifteen minutes before our reservation time. When I got there, however, he was not there! I had dragged my roommate to join us for the lovely dinner I had in mind, so with her, I searched everywhere. And I mean everywhere. Our last hope was that he miraculously would already be waiting for us at the restaurant, but when we got there… he was not there. By then, I was absolutely freaking out, worried the poor Mexican boy was lost all by himself somewhere in the city. Now, this is where it gets… interesting, let’s just say.

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Okay, before anything, I admit I am the worst friend, the worst person in the world.

After looking for my friend forever and getting to the restaurant, I kind of gave up. It was a cold evening. I was tired. There was no other place to look for him, because we looked everywhere. And, I was hungry. AND, I felt terrible because I had brought my roommate with me just to go through all this. So, we went inside over an hour late and got seated at the bar instead of the table under the nice lights.

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Before you throw rocks at me, let me just say that it was a happy ending. Well, sort of.

My friend called after we placed our orders (I still can’t half believe I just went ahead and ordered. Sorry, I’m a horrible human being), my friend called me ever so calmly. Um, why was he so calm while I was still freaking out? He had misheard the time to meet up with me at the station! I told him to come to the restaurant immediately, and he just walked over from the station. Long story, short ending. Well, at least the meal was more tasty because of the search in the cold.

483796_10151548053255783_787533655_nShort Rib French Onion Soup

Soup sounded heavenly after the long, desperate search in the cold, so I chose the Onion Soup without hesitation for my appetizer. It was so tasty! I was extremely satisfied, except for three small elements.

1. I could not get enough of that good soup (portion was rather small)

2. It was slightly too salty

3. I wouldn’t normally call it “soup,” given it didn’t really have that much… soup. It was tasty, no doubt, but I wish there were more of that delicious broth.

524743_10151548053305783_994152368_nClams Casino

My roommate seemed content with her choice of appetizer as well, although I think I remember her saying it wasn’t anything special.

564672_10151548053370783_419024457_nEscargot Bourguignon

I repeat, I love snails. And if you have read any of my past posts, I freaking love risotto. So put them together, and I will cry a river from happiness. I enjoyed the dish, because it was seasoned just right. Escargots I ate before were prepared a little fancy, but this dish felt more like comfort food, the kind moms would make (okay, definitely not my mom, but still). The warmth was definitely something I needed to calm my soul down.

300265_10151548053430783_269053938_nRoommate’s Duck Entree I can’t recall the name of

306051_10151548053580783_1265884216_n Lemon Meringue Tart

64359_10151548053620783_2058925126_n Creme Brulee

562291_10151548053540783_876466957_n  Chocolate Strawberry Profiteroles

There were three choices for dessert, so we each chose one and decided to let one another try a bite. I confess, I ate all of mine minus two bites plus half of the profiteroles. Call me fatty. We all liked our own desserts best, and everyone was pleased.

While enjoying our tasty meal, I told my friend everything that had happened. His reaction, understandably, was that of disappointment and disbelief. Basically giving up on looking for a foreigner in a foreign city? But by then, I knew that he was not, after all, lost by any means but instead taking his time and enjoying the museum while I was going crazy all by myself. The end was good, at least! And so was the meal.

Side note – our Italian bartender/ waiter that waited us at the bar was super friendly and funny, keeping me and my roommate company while we waited for our Mr. I-suck-at-listening (just kidding) and during our waits for the next courses. And kind of attractive, from what I remember. Them Italians.

Anyways, Pigalle was definitely a great restaurant. It’s one of those restaurants I explain as not having the kind of dishes that blow your mind with different flavor combinations, creativity, etc. but it does serve clean, solid, tasty dishes that leave your stomach content. A plus for the food and service. And the episode behind our trip.

75 Charles St S
Boston, MA 02116
http://www.pigalleboston.com
Pigalle on Urbanspoon

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RW Boston Winter 2 – Oceanaire Seafood Room

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10001_10151536177580783_1984339901_nClam Chowder

The Clam Chowder was a little meh and nothing special.

150398_10151536177900783_44059712_nStuffed Massachusetts Flounder

Stuffed fish? It was quite amazing. The fish was moist, and tasted great with the creamy spinach, crab, and shrimp stuffing. With a hint of acidity from the tomatoes, my first stuffed flounder was a winner.

577694_10151536177805783_2025313629_nGrilled Bay of Fundy Salmon

484795_10151536177725783_1545681049_nChesapeake Bay Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes

The salmon and the crab cakes were my friends’ dishes. I didn’t try the salmon, so I have no say in it, but the crab cakes were awful, to be honest. My heart broke watching my friend trying to stuff it in, full of regret of his decision. There were pieces of what I believe were crab shells in it! It also tasted a little off, the kind of taste you get from not so fresh seafood. We were extremely disappointed.

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Yet another disappointment came when we were presented with our desserts. We were given two choices – their “famous” key lime pie or ice cream. I would not have minded had at least one of them been good. Sadly, the key lime pie was so sweet we all cringed, and the ice cream was the kind you could pay two dollars for a liter or something. We all picked at them and put our spoons down.

The restaurant is beautiful with its fancy lights and bar, definitely a place one could go for special occasions. But at the end of the day, the most important thing is the food. Yes, the stuffed fish was great, but it was certainly not delicious enough to make any of us want to go back after all the other awful parts of our dinner.

40 Court St
Boston, MA 02108
http://www.theoceanaire.com
Oceanaire Seafood Room on Urbanspoon

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RW Boston 2013 Winter 1 – Grotto

Super late to post about RW. BUT Restaurant Week might just be two of my favorite weeks of winter and summer. Why? Um, $38.13 for a three-course meal? Why NOT would be the question. Although the price for dinner did rise significantly (a whooping 6 dollars from RW Summer 2013), I still think it’s worth it, given you choose the right restaurants to go to. There are many mixed opinions on the value and the worth of your forty dollars for each meal you invest in RW (many of them negative), but I still hold that you do not get this opportunity to pay the price of one dish for the full meal very frequently.

The first restaurant I chose for RW Winter was Grotto. I’ve been eyeing it for a while and meant to visit it for the longest time, but nobody ever wanted to go with me! So I used RW as an excuse to drag a friend with me to give it a try. I had heard many good things about it (from people threatening me to others raving about it for days after their visits), so I made the reservation asap.

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YUM. First of all, the restaurant itself was so so cozy and just beautiful. We walked in – or more like walked down – and immediately noticed the small but warm setting. I absolutelyloved the place. It was a bitter cold day, and to be greeted with the warmth just made me fall in love right away. You do have to keep your eyes open, though – it’s located half- hidden and not so noticeable.

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300129_10151536167390783_1464195011_nPiccata - Mussels, Garlic, Lemon, Capers, White wine sauce

I ordered the mussels, which were not so memorable. It was the kind of dish you could find in any restaurant, from not only Italian bue also to French, and even Asian. It was alright, but I do wish I could have ordered something else. My friend ordered the soup (Zuppa: Garlic soup, Black truffle, Parmesan, Toasted bread crumbs), and now that was a tasty first course. I stole a few spoonfuls from her, and I can say that I much preferred hers over mine.

480633_10151536167840783_1114530076_nGnocchi - Short ribs, Mushrooms, Gorgonzola

9541_10151536167540783_1151318000_nFra Diavolo - Butter poached lobster, Linguine, Spicy tomato sauce

Both second courses were pretty solid, but for this one I have to say that I savored every bite of mine.  I had read reviews praising the Gnocchi with the tender gnocchi, but I did not expect it to be so good. It was as good as or better than the gnocchi from L’Artusi from New York! The only flaw was that it was a little too salty, but the gorgonzola and the gnocchi covered in the short rib and sauce made a perfect bite. The gnocchi was not too chewy, the meat was extremely tender… I rolled my eyes from the first bite I took.

The Fra Diavolo was also pretty good, but I thought the sauce was too watery. Also, unlike mine, this dish was a little bland. There definitely was the “spicy” element, but it was not enough to make up for the overall lack of seasoning.

401226_10151536167935783_508861568_nCioccolato - Melting chocolate cake, Vanilla ice cream

733966_10151536167715783_368052513_nBudino - Banana bread pudding, Caramel ice cream, Spiced walnuts

The desserts were also both good, but again, I thin I made the slightly better choice. I did love the caramel ice cream with the Banana bread pudding, but I enjoyed my Melting chocolate cake more. Or should I say “Melting” chocolate cake? For it to me a “melting” chocolate cake, my dessert was a little too baked, resulting in what was more of a warm chocoalte cake with ice cream on top. Good thing was that the chocolate & ice cream combination is hard to fail – otherwise, I would have been more disappointed.

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269278_10151536168335783_1315195377_n  It was a bitterly cold but beautiful evening in Boston.

I guess it is the downside of Restaurant Week that sometimes, the restaurants get carried away with the busy week trying to feed every RW customer. Still, I think it’s not too professional to change the quality of the dishes just because of special occasions. We customers will visit the restaurants expecting a certain levels from the reviews and acquaintances’ past visits! I understand we may be paying less, but if the restaurants decided to participate in RW, they should put their best food forward. When I notified him of my visit, a friend of mine lamented that my experience was not as good as his.

Grotto offers $38 three-course meals outside of RW regularly, so if you want to give it a try, you definitely should! My first meal there was not flawless, but I do still think that it was a solid meal. Will be going back, hopefully sooner than later.

37 Bowdoin St
Boston, MA 02114
http://www.grottorestaurant.com
Grotto on Urbanspoon

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