Friday, February 1, 2008

Boston "Public"

The new, purportedly Asian-fusion restaurant “Boston Public” throws us into an environment that has been drained of all color, and most of the light, apparently as an intended contrast to its attempts at bold flavor and presentation. Unfortunately, the drab and soporific interior draws all too clear and tragic a parallel to the food served.

Perhaps the Eastern European owners are attempting a nostalgic plaisanterie with the grey oppressive environment. But, despite the strained and worried smiles tenuously clinging to the lips of the well-intentioned staff, no element of the evening afforded the slightest pleasure or comfort.

We hope that these efforts are simply the result of amateur and untried menu design, rather than an attempt to “fuse” the taste of Eastern Europe with the grey and solemn days of Asia during World War I, when the Chinese subsisted on large piles of grey, pickled vegetable matter as an appetizer, followed by flavorless meat, nearly raw for want of cooking fuel.

I ordered the eggplant with mint leaves as an appetizer. An intriguing combination on paper, I imagined a warm, fragrant, braised aubergine anointed with shredded fresh mint. Instead, what arrived was a shock of cold grey mechanically-shredded canned pickled “eggplant”, injected with a toothpaste-like mint overlay that did little to conceal the chemical taste of this would-be war ration. The enormous mass served, if ingested in toto, would no doubt cause cause severe gastrointestinal distress. As my father would say, a "belly bomb".

Inexplicably, similarly pickled vegetable preservations invaded every dish we were served. Perfectly innocent wild salmon, Kobe beef, and free-range chicken could not run from the assault of unwanted pickled preserves, randomly bitter and unpleasant spices, and dry soured goat cheese that overpowered each dish, repulsing the diner, as its undercooked blood ran down the furrows of the plate.

Your correspondent will not be able to report on dessert, as were were forced to make a retreat from “Boston Public” shortly after the main course. Even so, the heavy toll of nearly $400 for four was a terrible and unwarranted cost to pay for such an atrocity.

Zero stars.

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