A year ago, I vowed that I will go to Top of the Hub for my birthday dinner. The five-course menu, the beautiful night view from the top of the Prudential building, and the idea of dressing up and enjoying a classy atmosphere just seemed like a perfect birthday dinner to me. Unfortunately, I never had the chance.
So when a friend from back home came to Boston to spend time with her boyfriend, I
insisted suggested that we go to Top of the Hub. We couldn’t meet up for dinner, but I wanted to try the restaurant regardless. Great view of Boston while eating a moderately priced prixe fixe three-course lunch? Why not.
But there is always a “why not” factor. The why not factor can be high prices or far locations of the restaurant, not right for the occasion, and so on and so forth. In this case, it was the very mixed range of reviews from previous diners. While some couldn’t have been happier with their dining experiences, others left harsh, disappointed reviews saying that the only thing the restaurant had to offer was the view, without good food or service. I was nervous, not wanting to take a friend I hadn’t seen for half a year to a mediocre restaurant.
Because this restaurant has always been on my to-go list, I decided to try it out regardless of all the bad reviews. I made a 2:00 lunch reservation for four, half excited and half skeptical.
While getting to the restaurant… of course I had to get lost! Story of my life. It took me twenty minutes to find the reception area to go up the elevator, which took me to the 50nd floor just to come back to the first floor and then back up. Luckily, I got to the restaurant just in time (ok, I was actually three minutes late), and was greeted by my friend and her boyfriend. We were then seated right away.
The view, as expected, was magnificent. The restaurant has windows all around, so we could really appreciate the view of Boston. We could even see Fenway! When I checked the weather few days before the lunch day, I was worried since the forecast had said that the day would be rainy and cloudy – luckily, we got a cloudless, sunny day.
One of our friends was having trouble finding her keys, so we had to wait for her. The restaurant was very patient and understanding. But then 2:30 came, and the kitchen was about to close to prepare dinner, so we had to start ordering if we still wanted lunch. We all got the prixe fixe menu, and just in time, our friend came out of breath. Yey! We could all order together.
The waiter tried to be patient and not show that he was in a hurry to put our orders in, but it showed from the way he cut us off and basically told my friend what to get. We understood that our last person arrived late and the kitchen was closing so he had to hurry; however, it still did bother a little.
For the first course, I got the soup of the day, which was the Onion Cream Soup. It was rich and creamy, but it was overly salty. The crispy onions on top were a nice touch of different texture to what could have been a plain soup, but I did not finish it.
My two friends ordered the Romaine Wedge, which didn’t seem like much. It was basically chunks of lettuce with cheese, onion, and cherry tomatoes with a piece of pork rind. They said it was ok, but I felt that it was very uninspiring.
Alaskan King Salmon (if I remember correctly) was on special that day and we were told that we could go with that instead of the other choices, so I immediately decided on the salmon. I love salmon! I love it raw, smoked, grilled… anything.
The dish was presented well, with bright yellow, red, and green colors from the garnish. I liked the fish, which was moist, and loved the slightly crisp skin on the fillet. The flavors went well together; however, I do wish that there were a bit more acidity or some kind of kick to bring the dish alive, and that the dish were warm. Although the first few bites were nice temperature wise, the dish quickly cooled. Small details could have made it better.
The friend who came late and my other friend’s boyfriend both ordered the Pan Seared Georges Bank Haddock. I did not try their dish, but both said that it was very good.
Lastly, my friend from out of town ordered the Panko Crusted Chicken Breast, which she said was good, but didn’t finish. I wouldn’t know – I didn’t try this dish either. In retrospect, I should have tried the other dishes!
The waiter (who was by then a lot calmer) came back after we were done with the main courses, and asked what we would like for dessert. Honestly, I wanted the molten chocolate cake they have on their regular menu, but I went with the Crème Brulee. It was great! The crunch from the burnt sugar was there, and the smoothness was flawless. One thing, though, is that they could make the serving size a bit smaller. I love sweets, but even I felt a little gross from so much cream and sweetness towards the end.
Two ordered the Carrot Cake, which I personally thought was decent, but a little dry. The ones who ordered it, however, said it was amazing. We each liked our own desserts better than others’, so it worked out in the end, I guess!
Top of the Hub is a beautiful restaurant with high ceilings and a spectacular view. The service was, for the most part, excellent, and the atmosphere was great (maybe because it was lunch and less crowded).
I did think that the food was uninspiring and lacked attention of small details, but given the price of $22 for a three-course lunch, it was fair and somewhat solid. I might return sometime to try their dinner with the night view of Boston. There are, however, many better restaurants in and around Boston that I hope to go to.
800 Boylston St
Boston, MA 02199