The other night, I got to check out BoMA, one of the newer restaurants to join the crowd on Washington Street in the South End. It emits a casual vibe with lengthy exposed brick walls, heavy wood paneling and soft gray booths. Potted plants, funky firecracker light fixtures, and tall open windows that overlook the street add a little character to liven up the dark elements of the space. The scene is rather subdued at 7pm on a Wednesday evening, a few tables are having dinner and there's a small crowd at the bar. My sister and I settle in at a high top near the front of the room and start with some cocktails (all $12). The BoMA's Delight - cucumber vodka, muddled basil, agave, lime juice and soda, and the Fresa Fizz - tequila, elderflower liqueur and prosecco with muddled basil and strawberries, come served in fun goblets and both are refreshing, sweet and fizzy.
BoMA opened in November 2012 in the space which formerly housed Pho Rebublique and Bombay Club, and has recently acquired a new executive chef - Ryan Kelly, who trained under Ken Oringer at Clio, spent time at Foundry on Elm and Canary Square, and most recently opened Tonic in Jamaica Plain.
With his inaugural spring menu placing an emphasis on local seafood, we didn't hesitate to start with the Tuna Tartare ($14) featuring Atlantic Tuna with house soy vinaigrette served in a crispy fried wonton. With so many elements on the plate including a gorgeous aji amarillo sauce sprinkled with tobiko, pickled vegetables, avocado mousse, and even a quail egg nestled on top, I was impressed how well everything came together without overpowering one another. Each ingredient truly served to highlight the fresh fish.
Next we ordered glass of Pratsch, Gruner Ventliner ($11); I'm always happy to see a Gruner offered by the glass, and it paired nicely with our seafood entrees. The Day Boat Scallops ($25) came perfectly seared and springy, accompanied by a playful take on confit daikon radishes (you could easily mistake the radish for a scallop, but look closely at the texture and you'd realize what was what). Topped with grapefruit wedges and candied zest over a sweet parsnip puree laced with balsamic, the many elements, once again, worked to create a harmonious pairing. This was a really outstanding entree. My sisters Mahi ($25) was equally fantastic, over a somewhat overwhelmingly large bed of lemon and mint couscous, topped with pickled mustard seed and a warm mango, pineapple and pomegranate seed chutney, with a pomegranate juice reduction.As we glanced over the desserts, nothing seemed to strike a chord or felt in line with the rest of the menu. It seemed to be lacking in creativity or inspiration. We went with the Creme Brulee anyways alongside some strong Cappuccino Martinis. Chef delivers us our dessert, admitting this is the part of the menu that's not quite up to par as they work to replace the pastry chef. (Now it makes sense!) Regardless, all of our food was terrific and while there's certainly some stiff competition throughout the neighborhood (especially right next door with The Gallows and now Boston Chops in the mix) hopefully BoMA can draw the crowds it seems to so deserve (and will certainly need to outlast its predecessors!)
*this meal was complimentary, all opinions are my own.