Monday, August 30, 2010

Tavern On The Water

You go for the atmosphere.

You go for the view.
Do you want the good news or the bad news?

Good news is the brunch is pretty damn good.
A surprise of sorts! When the menu lists home fries these little nuggets of herb crusted hash browns are the last thing you expect to see on your plate.
They were absolutely delightful. The entire plate was a pleasant surprise. I really enjoyed the addition of lemony fresh greens to the standard 2 egg, sausage, english muffin breakfast.

Bad news is, the bloody marys were awful.

I've had a lot of bloody marys in my life. I know when they taste good. I know when they taste bad.
They look awesome. I look so excited to drink them. They even have a golf tee holding the garnishes in place.

Ironically, Tavern On The Water offers a make your own bloody mary bar. As fun and inviting as that sounds, we were too lazy and tired to make our own after walking all the way to the Charlestown Navy Yard in the 90 degree heat. We opted for the bartenders batch. I was in the kind of mood that if I wanted to make my own, I would have. At home.Surely, the bartender can make a better drink than us. Also, Adam never orders a bloody mary. I have no idea why he did today. I guess he wanted to try something new. Good for him. Or not so much. The taste was exceedingly more awkward with every sip. We kept making faces inadvertently whilst drinking but didn't discuss it until afterwards. I guess it was as painful to admit defeat as it was to drink! As we walked down the pier toward home, Adam was perplexed how anyone could like these, and chalked it up to lack of booze in the mix. I reassured him that was not the case. I'm just saying' - it did not taste like spicy tomato juice sans vodka. It tasted more like a stale drink mix of sorts. Honestly, I have no idea where they went wrong. I have no idea if this was just a fluke batch, but it definitely left me feeling disappointed.
Be wary the Bloody Marys.
But definitely stop in for a beer or two.

Tavern on the Water on Urbanspoon

Friday, August 27, 2010


Despite the excellent meals I've had out and about in Boston and Cambridge over the past two weeks, I have yet to partake in Restaurant Week, which coincidentally ends today. With 3 course lunches offered for $20.10 it would be a real shame if the Summer Lunch Series missed this opportunity. And what better way to conclude an amazing season of meals. Technically flex time wraps on September 3rd, but since I have big plans for Labor Day Weekend it is with bittersweet emotions I write my last post in the series. I know, it is silly to feel emotion towards an event I made up, but it's more than that. It's back to normal 8 hour days and 5 day weeks, it's saying goodbye to summer in the city, it's the change of the seasons, it's the passing of time. As much as it is familiar change and as much as I embrace Fall; there are parts of me that wants to hang onto neighborhood strolls in the sweltering heat, sun drenched days in the park, lunches on patios and Friday's off....
So for the last time this season - lets do lunch!
Woodward is a Modern Day Tavern located at 1 Cross Street in the luxury boutique Ames Hotel. I wasn't sure exactly what to expect as I had never been inside before. I was greeted first by the doorman and second by a mobile of sparkling silver branches.
I strolled into Woodward where I debated with the hostess if I should sit inside or out. I only questioned because the interior was so sharp and inviting - but the weather was way to nice for me to even be debating. She offered me a seat at the bar while she cleaned off a table for one on the patio. I pulled up a red leather chair and felt welcome as the group of staff to my right who seemed to be really enjoying themselves acknowledged me with smiles and nods. The bartender offered me a water as I scanned the cocktail menu. Woodward's list of handcrafted and innovative cocktails presented me with a tough decision.The bartender seemed impressed with my choice of the Hot Nantucket Night ($15). He got right to it, slicing the jalapeno, muddling the cranberries, measuring the agave nectar and crafting me one of the best cocktails I've ever tasted, hands down. Also one of the most expensive. After tip this was a $17 cocktail. I know. Go big or go home!The layers of flavor evoked in a single sip are pure genius. First you taste the tartness of the cranberries and the ever so slightly sweet notes of agave nectar. Then the heat of the jalapeno seeps in slowly before it finishes with a kick. Unexpected at first but a welcome spicy kick none the less. The Don Julio Blanco is definitely the right tequila to pair with the range of spicy, tart and sweet ingredients. Conceptually, this cocktail is a masterpiece. Who thinks to pair ingredients like cranberries and jalapenos, anyways?! My table was ready shortly there after my life changing experience at the bar.
Forget the roof deck scene, I am pretty sure I just found the hidden gem of all hidden gems out here on Woodward's patio, right there in the middle of Downtown Crossing and Government Center. Sometimes these undiscovered spots are right under your nose. Or maybe I'm the only one who gets excited about city scape and clock tower views. Either way.
The historic Old State House to my right, the vibrations of the T (Orange Line) running underneath and skyscrapers surrounding at all angles, this is downtown Boston in one of her finest hours. In general I'm pretty content, but in this moment I found some sort of inner peace.
Feel free to peruse the menu.
The appetizer choice was a no brainier, the entree took a few seconds of debate between the burger and the scallops, but it was the dessert that really gave me some trouble. My waiter without hesitation told me which dessert I should order. He also smiled approvingly at my entree choice. "Best dish on that menu" he stated matter-of-factly.
I began with the Chilled Corn Soup with Roasted Corn and Jalapeno.
Let's just stare at that for a moment, shall we?
Jalapeno is fast becoming a theme of this meal! The heat it gave off in the soup was very subtle, with thin shreds of the pepper laced throughout. It actually complimented my cocktail quite well. Most importantly, this bowl was full of creamy, comforting sweet corn flavors. The cold taste and velvety smooth consistency were magic to my taste buds. About every other spoonful welcomed crispy corn kernels. This soup achieved well balanced bites of delicate textures and bold flavors.
My waiter speaks the truth, the Seared Scallops with Corn and Bacon Succotash was the highlight of my meal.
Three large golden brown and crispy on the outside, white and springy on the inside scallops sat over a hearty pile of succotash. Yet another theme I'm embracing at this lunch - corn! I welcomed those sweet kernels once again, along with small but hearty cubes of potato. And those little slices of bacon - I almost forgot the dish had bacon until I tasted the familiar bite of salty goodness. Scallops and bacon, a classic pairing we all know and love was elevated to an incredible dish honoring one of summers favorite vegetables.
So, I actually noticed I require at least four shots of a dish to capture it fully to my liking.
So, there you go!
Time to give you a rundown of the atmosphere, because really, a restaurant review post wouldn't be complete without that either. The contemporary-meets-rustic-meets-comfy patio furniture-meets-bustling city streets creates a unique vibe. You've got elegant marble Victorian tables on one hand, and smooth stone tables with legs in the form of wooden tree branches on the other. You've got high backed wicker chairs, next to steel industrial cafeteria style seats, next to wooden benches with comfy pillows. It is basically a hodge-podge of random furniture out on that patio, but it works.
The perimeter is outlined with green rectangular shrubs and dotted with red umbrellas.
For my dessert course I was going to choose the poached peach with almond cake and whipped cream. Going to....
Once again, my waiter did not steer me wrong. He understood the menu, was quick and to the point and also offered truly genuine service.
Oh hello Warm Brownie Sundae with Peanut Butter Ice Cream and Chocolate Sauce.
Chocolate sauce and sliced almonds formed an avalanche down the slopes of that mountain of perfectly scooped peanut butter ice cream, which was insanely good.
I will say I prefer my brownies a little more moist and chewy. This one was a tad rough around the edges. It wasn't a huge deal. Overall I thought it was awesome. What else can you say about a brownie sundae? I almost finished all of it. After two full courses I'd say I did a pretty respectable job.
I seemed to have slipped into the land of oblivion and forgot I was getting all this for twenty dollars and ten cents. (What are you talking about a seventeen dollar for one drink bar tab!?) Ancient history. Full and happy, it was time to explore the Ames Hotel.I took a quick shot of Woodward's upstairs interior before I made my way out to the second floor balcony.
And into the stairwell.
And finally, back down to the lobby,where randomly placed black and white pieces of furniture make bold statements.
Can I move in? I'm imagining the rooms are just as aesthetically pleasing.
Don't worry, I didn't photograph all of it should you decide to come here and want to be surprised.
Woodward at the Ames on Urbanspoon

It has been a rewarding summer of Friday lunches to say the least. I have experienced so many new-to-me Boston restaurants, traveling to various neighborhoods to broaden my horizons and just explore. I embraced the concept of eating out alone, and truly enjoyed doing so. I've also spent some memorable afternoons in the company of best friends and family. I hope you've enjoyed reading this series of posts as much as I've enjoyed writing them. Until next summer.....