Monday, December 1, 2008
Upstairs on the Square
It is great to see so many upscale restaurants in Boston offering vegetarian options. Gone are the days where dining at high end establishments meant steamed vegetables and lettuce for vegetarians. Restaurants all over Boston are offering vegetarian tasting menus that cater to the vegetarian palate.
I was delighted when Upstairs on the Square invited me to try their Vegetarian Tasting menu. The tasting menu consisted of five and seven courses at first I thought the meal would be heavy and overwhelming, but instead it was light and delicious. The vegetarian tasting menu is served in the Soiree room and consists of a 5 ($55) or 7($70) course meal with additional wine parings for $32, $45.
The ambiance of Upstairs on the Square is a delightful experience all on its own. As a guest at Upstairs on the Square your eyes will feast on the pink colored walls,the mirrored glass ceilings, and the beautiful bay windows that overlook Harvard Square. As many patrons will say, you really do feel like you are dining in Alice in Wonderland.
The evening started with a glass of 2007 Kung Fu Girl Riesling, a cool crisp white wine that evoked mild sweet flavors of apple, pear and lime. This was one of the best Rieslings I have ever had. The first course was the Roasted Baby Beets served with a strong, but delicious, horseradish panna cotta and drizzled in passion fruit sauce. The passion fruit sauce was simple but added a nice sweet citrus flavor to the dish.
The Potage of Jerusalem Artichokes, a smooth creamy soup topped with crunchy sorrel and chive oil. This was my favorite course and I was amazed that this dish was thickened without cream but with the base of a sunflower. Embedded in the soup were tiny fried black trumpet mushrooms which added to its texture. The Ravioli of Pierre Robert Cheese was draped in lovage butter and finely chopped green apples. It was tasty but a bit too pungent and salty for my liking.
Following the Warm Artichokes and Haricots Verts, was the Harvest Vegetables and Tiny Ricotta Gnocchi. Instead of the usual cream sauce, the Gnocchi was served in a flavorful cardamom wine broth with shitake mushrooms and mint.
The meal ended with a decadent dessert which had adorable presentation and was a miniature tasting all on its own. The dessert consisted of a small cup of almond hot chocolate, topped with marshmallow fluff, a tiny chocolate almond cake and two pieces of dark almond chocolate.
The service at Upstairs on the Square was exemplary and our waitress went over every dish in detail. Overall Upstairs on the Square was a luxurious experience and the vegetable tasting menu was perfect, not too heavy but enough to make you want to come back for more.