New restaurants seem to be popping up everywhere in Boston, but especially in the Back Bay area. I might just be a little bitter that when I worked in the area we definitely did not have such a selection, but I will have to get over it and make the trek to the area to check out all of the new spots.
This past Sunday night, I got together with monthly dinner dates Megan, Emily, Daisy, and Amy to try The Brahmin, situated in the space that 33 Restaurant occupied for years. After a fairly unimpressive and slightly suspect experience at 33, I was hoping that our experience at the address’s new occupant would be better, and I was definitely pleasantly surprised.
I arrived first, naturally, and was immediately smitten with the swanky décor inside The Brahmin. It coupled perfectly with my weekend in Newport, luxe lighting and leather couches filling the expansive space, making an ideal cocktail lounge.
Speaking of cocktails, their selection of classic and handcrafted drinks, along with a small but interesting wine list, definitely make The Brahmin a place for sipping with friends. I went the handcrafted route and ordered the Saltonstall, a mix of Maker’s Mark, fresh raspberry puree, lime, simple syrup, and soda water. The drink was delicious, slightly sweet with a hint of bourbon in the back. The fresh raspberry really was the highlight of the drink, and this delightful concoction made me excited to try their other creative cocktails.
Once we were settled with drinks, we put our order in. Our waitress was awesome in timing the food, many small plates, into courses for us so that we didn’t end up with 10 dishes all at once. That is something I , as a slow eater, appreciate immensely. We got to savor each round, and when we were nearing the end, she brought more.
First up, we had the arugula and goat cheese salad, topped with crispy prosciutto, green apples, and lemon vinaigrette. The arugula was fresh and peppery, but the standout of this dish for me was the prosciutto. It was deliciously crisped and salty and provided a nice contrast to the other ingredients. Our healthy salad was accompanied by an old favorite, fried pickles with a sweet pepper sauce. The pickles were nicely fried and hot but could use a little bit of salt. The sauce could definitely have used a little more flavor. While the dish needs a bit of work, I still liked it and would probably order it again.
We decided to also throw in the fritatta, for $3.50 we figured why not? We were all pleasantly surprised by a heaping wedge of fritatta topped with a flavorful salsa, definitely an unexpected favorite.
Other small plates included white asparagus wrapped in Serrano ham and topped with lemon vinaigrette. I don’t recall any dressing, but I did like the combination of the ham and asparagus, again nicely salty.
When there is truffle mac and cheese on the menu, it just has to be ordered. I have to say, though, I wasn’t very impressed with this one. The sauce was inconsistent throughout. Some bites offered a delicate, earthy truffle flavor while others came up bland. I did enjoy the crunchy topping though!
Another dish that ended up being a favorite for me were the short ribs with cauliflower-parsnip puree. The spices were very Autumnal and slightly sweet, and the meat was rich and hearty. A little bit definitely went a long way.
Tomatoes and mozzarella, prawns with chipotle sauce, and tuna two ways rounded out the meal. None of these three dishes was very exciting or memorable. The tomatoes and mozzarella (ordered simply due to the fleeting nature of the tomato season!), were standard and good while my shrimp was pretty dry, tough, and flavorless. The tuna was paired with watermelon, a creative, refreshing option and a solid choice.
Overall, everything at The Brahmin was good, but I was most excited about my cocktail. It’s definitely a place I would return to for drinks, and since we sat outside to enjoy the warm weather, I look forward to cozying up on their couches this fall.
Have you been to any new restaurants lately?