It would appear that I have some unfinished business to attend to. Once upon a time when it was summer, I had Friday's off from work and I went out to lunch! You remember those days? Long gone are they now, but not forgotten. I can't start something and not finish it, so without further a due, the final installment of my beloved Summer Lunch Series.
The opening of Blue Inc. in the Financial District had my interest peaked long before it even had a name. Chef Jason Santos was set to display his eclectic twist on traditional dishes in a funky, modern space located at 131 Broad Street, minus this one small detail. Since naming his new restaurant proved such a challenge, he announced a contest to the public. His affection for the color widely recognized thanks to his signature dyed-do, the winning submission aptly fits the bill.
I began my afternoon at the bar where the spirited bartender was more than welcoming and highly engaging. She took interest in my photography, which then led to a discussion of our favorite Boston restaurants. I happily conversed with her, sipping my Blue Inc. Sangria ($8) until Megan arrived and we sat for lunch. The signature red wine sangria with aloe vera and tangerine was a striking presentation with juxtaposing colors, animated further by a touch of blue in a test tube. I'm not sure the squirt of blue liquid added much taste wise to the already successful sangria, but frills and fun and blue fit right in, so it worked. Megan ordered The Anorexic Model ($11), this wildly named martini blends pierre ferrand cognac, lychee bubbles and St. Germain, and garnishes it with "twiggy & berries" an eye catching bunch of mini grapes. For lunch, we decided to share a couple appetizer plates and a salad. The chef's creative tweaks paid off in some dishes, but failed to impress in others.
Perhaps the appetizer I was most looking forward to trying (which ended up being one the waitress initially forgot) were the Mini Kobe Corn Dogs ($9). A half dozen short and fat hot dogs in an onion and cheese batter come with three dipping sauces - honey mustard with a kick, chipotle aioli and homemade ketchup. I wanted to love these as much a I love my carnival fare staple, but this version did them no justice. The batter was much too greasy for what was only a paper thin coating of it, namely the ratio of dog to corn tipped completely off scale in the dogs favor. The fluffy enveloping exterior I craved (which is certainly allowed to be somewhat greasy) was completely a miss. Twists on classics can succeed straying even far off the beaten path, but I fear corn dog lovers will experience the same level of disappointment we did. The Three Lobster Tacos ($14) followed up on a much brighter note, pairing finely chopped lightly dressed lobster with mango salsa, shredded lettuce, cilantro and lime. I wished there were more mangoes, and ripe ones at that, present in the taco, but otherwise I enjoyed the dish. Black Truffle is a recurring ingredient on the menu; I favored mine in finely shredded strands atop Tater Tots ($6) which were soft mashed potato mounds of pure comfort, stuffed in the center with Gouda cheese and wrapped in a thin crispy skin. The Hell's Kitchen Wedge Salad($8) incorporated black truffle in vinaigrette form, drizzling it over a lettuce wedge studded with red grapes, candied walnuts and crumbled goat cheese. I enjoyed the dressing, and the components - but overall wasn't blown away by this salad.After finishing off my sangria, I was enticed by our waitress to try another cocktail. I'll give it to them - the bartenders at Blue Inc. sling some seriously gorgeous looking libations. The pretty in pink and green Strawberry Fields Forever ($9) muddles strawberries with house infused basil vodka, lime and bubbles. This drink was balanced and refreshing, just as easy on the taste buds as it was on the eyes. For dessert, we fancied ourselves a mid-day milkshake in the flavor of Rootbeer & Toasted Marshmellow ($8). Made with liquid nitrogen, a mystical whoosh of tingling, cold, bubbly air swarms around you and before you know it, you've got a shake that's anything but - it's frozen solid! The kitchen was kind enough to split the shake into two glasses for us and return with additional liquid nitrogen to enhance the effects. Once the mist clears and the shake melts enough to be pierced with a spoon - a thick, smooth, clay like substance is flooded with liquid lying underneath and within, proving this milkshake that strays far off the beaten path, works.
Megan and I were witness to what looked like a media demonstration where Chef Santos assumed a spot behind the bar to whip up a milkshake for a press photographer. Fun!Accompanying the check in a shot glass is your classic childhood bank teller treat: A blue lollipop! Proving a convivial experience; the atmosphere, cocktails and food at Blue Inc. all exude a unique fanfare. While not all of the dishes I sampled during my final summer lunch outing won me over, I was more than happy to accept an invite to check out the dinner menu with friends this past Tuesday. How did the Greenway hotspot fare on my second venture? Hopefully my next review won't take as long as this one did!