Sunday, November 8, 2015

Thanks For Putting Up With Me For A Year

Smith and Wollensky - Boston, MA
Rosemary buns. Look at them. Have you ever seen something more beautiful?

     I wouldn't say we're very traditional, but for our one year anniversary, David and I wanted to go someplace nice for dinner where we could get all fancy, since that is not the normal for us. I spent hours (the day before) doing some extensive internet research and using my phone-a-friend lifeline in order to find just what we wanted. In the end, Smith and Wollensky was just the place. It is one of Boston's best steakhouses, and the location we went to was inside a castle in Back Bay. Yes... an actual castle. It was built in 1891 and served as the headquarters for the First Corps of Cadets. It honestly had a very unique, European castle feel with its intricate wood carvings along the walls and ceilings, statutes, and art. We were so out of our element it was hilarious.
     On to food. I was so excited for the complimentary bread and was ecstatic when it came because it was perfect. It was a bunch of rolls in the shape of a flower, it was fresh baked with a slightly crispy crust, and it had a hefty dose of rosemary and salt on it. Each roll was so flavorful because of the oils assisting with the crispness of the crust and the herbs that there was no need for butter (even though we still used it and it was still delicious). While a necessary element, the only thing I would change would be the coarseness of the salt. Sometimes the salt chunks were far too big that they were almost painful on your tongue.
Too quick of a picture means it smelled too good to
postpone any longer. 
     As an appetizer, we got the Wollensky salad that had a beautiful light dressing, lots of vegetables and little fried potato chunks on the sides. It was the perfect start. For our meal, the highlight was the 24oz dry-aged ribeye for 55 dollars. Yes, 55 dollars. I was so excited for David to have a steak like this because it was his first steak of this caliber. This ribeye was perfectly medium rare and was as tender as can be. Each bite just melted in your mouth but was simple in flavor. It felt clean and was beautifully marbled. It was exactly how I would've wanted him to experience a good steak. 
     We also got the salmon, which was served with garlic kale, wild mushrooms and onions. The salmon had a very unique and crispy crust which I couldn't figure out. This dish was also a tad salty for me, but on its own, the salt level would've been perfect. My favorite part was the mushrooms. They were some sort of different wild mushroom that I'm not sure I've had before. But they were soft and chewy and full of flavor.
     As a side, we got the truffled mac and cheese with the little cracker crumbs on top. It was like a big fat rich punch in the face. So rich. So delicious. Salty again, but delicious. the cheese and noodles were on the more dry side, which I like as opposed to the noodles swimming in a goopy cheese sauce.
     I'm sure dessert would've been spectacular, but there was no way. Smith and Wollensky will probably be a once in a lifetime thing (primarily because of the $$$), but it's worth it. The atmosphere is great, the people watching is fabulous and the food is even better.


Al Dente - Boston, MA
The Al Dente Special

     For Head of the Charles this year, we had more alumni than ever before come into town. It was like a big happy reunion. Add rowing and it's one of the best weekend's of the year. Plus, it gives me excuses to go eat at restaurants with the nomads. This year Kevin organized a dinner at Cambridge Brewing Company (which I've written about before) and Meagan organized one to Al Dente down in the North end (Boston's little Italy). I've heard this place was good before, so I was very excited to finally true. It's a very typical north end restaurant in that its a small, family run restaurant with a dimly lit dining room and charming music playing overhead. The free bread was abundant and the dipping oil (which unfortunately showed up when I was already 4 rolls deep) took me 6+ rolls into a bread coma before the food even arrived. 
     David and I split a meal, which was smart financially and logically (especially after the bread fiasco). We ordered the Al Dente Special which was sautéed chicken, veal and shrimp tossed with broccoli, mushrooms, red and yellow peppers and artichoke hearts in a white wine vinegar butter sauce...all over pasta... obviously. Another win for wine sauces in my book. They're making a comeback with my taste buds (I'm sure the whole "butter" part of "white wine vinegar butter sauce" probably helped it out a bit). All of the meats and veggies were perfectly cooked and went so well together. I liked how many elements there were to the dish and the variety of flavors. I all tasted very fresh, with the slightly rich sauce to level it all out. I was very impressed with Al Dente and would definitely say it's one of the best restaurants I've been to in the North end so far. That gnocchi from Euno still writes my love songs.

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