We are in the midst of a very busy week here at A Boston Food Diary as it is the week of my 30th birthday and I have jam packed a ridiculous amount of activities into the week. Last night we were supposed to head on over to 28 Degrees in the South End to check out their new design and their new menu creations. Recently chef William Kovel formerly of the sadly now departed Aujourd hui, teamed up with 28 Degrees as a consulting chef. This spells excitement to me. Unfortunately, schedules got conflicted and my date with 28 Degrees has been put on hold for a bit. However never fear- a delicious meal was still had. It was suggested that we check out Metropolis Cafe also located in the South End on Tremont Street. The suggestion included a hearty endorsement for their Asparagus Tartar- it sounded fantastic and so the decision was made. Off to the South End we traveled.
Metropolis Cafe gives off the warm comforting vibe of a favorite neighborhood spot. It is one of those places that you know you would feel comfortable falling into on a cold winter's day when crave simple comfort. Their food falls in line with this idea, but with unique twists and turns to make it interesting. We started, of course, with the Asparagus Tartar which I was convinced that John wouldn't eat because it had avocado in it. I was wrong. The Tartar was served as a molded round with the beautiful crisp Asparagus mixed with the creamy pieces of avocado making up the base layer. This was topped by fried leeks, and a drizzle of aged balsamic decorated the plate. What a gorgeous dish, and amazingly tasty! The flavors were so well paired together, and the textures combined so well it was just perfect. I loved the contrast of the soft avocado pieces with crunch of the asparagus and the crisp of the leeks. It was really lovely- light and refreshing a perfect appetizer for the summer months.
We originally planned to stay for just a couple of appetizers and then move on, so we also ordered the Duck Confit Gnocchi. Oh my delicious. Little puffs of potato pasta served with decadent duck and shaved brussel sprouts with a rosemary jus. The duck was so tender it basically melted in your mouth, and the gnocchi had just that wonderful pillow-y softness that you always look for with gnocchi. I really loved the shaved sprouts, both in their texture as well as visually with their bright green color against the mostly beige background. The rosemary jus was a wonderful addition- just enough flavor without overpowering the delicacy of the other ingredients.
We were so in love with the appetizers we shared, John and I chose to stay right where we were and enjoy dinner at the Metropolis Cafe as well. Continuing his quest for Steak Frites, John selected their version served with Truffle whipped potatoes and watercress, and I selected their pan seared sea scallops paired with lemon Fregula and Arugula. My scallops- perfectly seared with that lovely crust that scallops can get- were delicious. Light lemon flavor absorbed from the Fregula hinted at freshness without overpowering the lovely natural flavor of the scallop. I have never had Fregula before, but really enjoyed it as an accompanying dish. I learned today that it is a type of pasta made from rolled Semolina dough. These little pearls were full of flavor and a great doughy consistency that really worked, especially when combined with the peppery arugula served with it. This dish had great texture combination as well as flavor pairings.
John's steak was another winner. Well seasoned without being obtrusive, and well cooked so that the naturally tough meat was easy to enjoy. The Truffle whipped potatoes had distinct flavor of Truffle, a big win in my book. Additionally the potatoes were silky smooth which John loved and couldn't stop raving about. I have to get in gear when I make them for him since my potatoes contain the ever charming lumps :-).
We couldn't resist dessert from their menu, especially when we spied a Banana Split listed. I can't tell you how long it's been since I've indulged in a Banana Split so we just had to share one. I feel as though I need to call Metropolis and ask where they got their ice cream- it was DELICIOUS! Perfect vanilla flavor, not too sweet, creamy and just the perfect little scoops. I loved it. It was topped with a drizzle of hot fudge, a squirt of whipped cream and walnuts, of course with a banana surrounding it all. This dessert brought me right back to my teen years when I worked at an ice cream stand during the summers and I loved every minute of it.
I must say- it was a happy scheduling conflict that landed us in the welcoming arms of Metropolis Cafe. This is an absolutely cozy spot that makes up for it's small size with full flavored dishes, and imaginative creations. I can't wait to return!
Asparagus Tartar is one of the more unique dishes I've had- full of interesting flavors and textures. What is the most unique dish that you've had in a restaurant?
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