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A Little Bit About a Lot of Things

A lifestyle blog with a focus on my food adventures

I have to say that the experience I had at Asana was excellent…I would expect nothing less from the Mandarin Oriental. The service was professional and polite every step of the way, from the valet who parked my car (there’s something more trustworthy about a man in a uniform than an 18 year old valet talking on his cell phone isn’t there?), to the bellman who opened the door, to the host that sat us, to the waiter that served us. We went for restaurant week-I expressed my concern to the waiter about how we had been to other restaurants and the food on the restaurant week menu was sub par to the regular menu. She explained that the chef really worked hard on the restaurant week menu-no caesar salads and dry fish here. Here is the menu:

ASANA RESTAURANT WEEK … $33.11

PUY LENTIL SOUP HOUSE MADE MERGUEZ SAUSAGE ◦ YOUNG GARLIC CHIPS ◦ LEBNA
OR FLEUR DE SEL CURED ATLANTIC SALMON-WATERCRESS ◦ PICKLED JALAPENO ◦ LOCAL RADISHES PRESERVED LEMON CRÈME FRAICHE
OR CRISPY FRIED BABY ARTICHOKES V ROASTED GARLIC – PARSLEY CRUMBS ◦ SHAVED PARMESAN ◦ TRUFFLE AIOLI
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CRISPY SKIN SEA BASS FREGOLA SARDA ◦ BRAISED FENNEL ◦ CAPER BERRIES ◦ LOBSTER BROTH
OR HOUSE MADE GNOCCHI BRAISED OXTAIL ◦ UPLAND CRESS ◦ CIPOLLINI ONIONS ◦ GREMOLATA MUSHROOM JUS
OR HARISSA RUBBED KABOCHA SQUASH STEW (V) CHICKPEAS ◦ PEPPERS ◦ BABY SPINICH ◦ CORIANDER ◦ NAAN BREAD

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WARM BLUEBERRY CLAFOUTIS MASCARPONE & HONEY ICE CREAM ◦ CANDIED MEYER LEMON
OR BANANA MOUSSE & CARAMEL CRÈME BRULEE MILK JAM SAUCE ◦ ROASTED BANANA ICE CREAM
OR CLEMENTINE & PISTACHIO MOUSSE CAKE MILK CHOCOLATE & LEMON VERBENA SORBET

While I was intrigued about the restaurant menu after her suggestions, she also said that her personal favorite was the red wine braised osso bucco ($36) with home made gnocchi and winter root vegetables (see above).She said that every time she comes to eat there, that is what she has. My friend ended up getting the Hudson Valley seared duck breast ($36) with Sparrow Arc farms spaghetti squash and brussels sprouts and juniper jus. The waiter was quite knowledgeable-we really liked her. I can’t remember her name but she looked remarkably similar to Jodie Foster. Here’s what made her a great server: she was knowledgeable about food, she could explain the dishes in other, more in depth ways-rather than repeat what was written on the menu, she was able to give a variety of suggestions and reasons why the dishes were good. Waiters, in essence, are sales people-and you have someone who knows what they are doing, it makes the experience much more pleasant (especially when you are paying $36 per entree).

The veal was so moist and tender-it’s a great winter dish as well-it fills you up. The gnocchi was delicious-tender and light. The veal came with the bone-and you had a nice helping of bone marrow. Yum! My friend said that the duck was very tender and moist, and not too fatty as some duck can be. We were a little hesitant about having dinner at a hotel, sometimes hotel restaurants can be….well..you know. We were pleasantly surprised with Asana-the food was excellent. The decor was chic and modern. The restaurant was about half full on a week night-so it was pretty quiet and low key. We were already plotting the next time we were coming back and what we were going to order!

We ended the night sharing dessert. They call it the strawberry shortcake ($10). There are strawberries, fresh cream, shortbread cookie crumbles, more strawberries and what the waiter termed “strawberry caviar”.  The chef takes a dropper and drops the fresh juice (see small cup on right) and puts it into a bath (of what, I can’t remember) and the reaction is that these little gel like bubbles are formed-they fort of remind me of bubble tea. Usually I don’t go for “deconstructed” desserts, but this one was really excellent. Light and fresh-a nice ending to our meal. She did mention, and thus I feel like I should mention in this post, the quintuple chocolate cheesecake, with all different percentages of chocolate-it sounded to die for…we decided we would save it for next time when we weren’t stuffed to the gills and could actually appreciate a dessert like that. This was an really exceptional meal/experience-I can’t recommend this place highly enough based on our time there.

Asana

in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel

776 Boylston Street Boston, MA

617) 535 8800

http://www.mandarinoriental.com/boston/dining/asana/default.aspx

Asana on Urbanspoon

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