Some restaurants know how to do restaurant week, and others, well, let's just say they don't put their best foot forward. Luckily, The Blue Room falls in the former category. When my friend and I were making plans to get together and she suggested we head to The Blue Room, I was in. I really miss The Blue Room. I used to go to the lunch grill almost every week in the summertime when I worked just around the corner, and it had been a while since I'd been back.
We happened to be making our plans during Boston Restaurant Week, and over the years I've learned that restaurant week can be pretty hit or miss. I had a really good feeling about Blue Room though, and it turned out my gut was right.
We were seated right away at a plush booth with a great view of the open kitchen. Our waiter greeted us promptly, asked our choice of water, and offered to answer any questions about the menu.
We looked over the restaurant week options and decided to add on the optional wine pairings. I loved how each dish had a particular wine selected to go with it. After we placed our order, our waiter brought over some fresh bread and butter, which was soon followed by some complimentary marinated olives.
My friend and I are really good at sharing, so we make sure not to order the same thing when we go out together. We decided to split the crispy artichokes with mozzarella di bufala and arugula salad for our first courses.
We were both surprised at the appearance of the artichoke. Whenever I've had fried artichokes, they've been battered or breaded. This was neither. It was simply the artichoke fried on its own. Paired with mozzarella di bufala and lightly salted, the crisp artichoke was a delight. (I only wished there had been more than one, as the menu did say artichokes.) With it we sipped the Malvasia, Pietrantonj, 2010.
The arugula salad featured pecorino, honey, and pistachios. It was lightly dressed and had great sweet and salty contrasts to pair with the peppery greens. The wine selected to go with this dish was the Vermentino di Sardegna, Argiolas, 2010.
For entrees we shared the vermicelli with preserved tomatoes, capers, and garlic and the pork scaloppine with polenta. The vermicelli dish featured thin strands of pasta and richly flavored, sweet tomato sauce and was paired with Cannanau di Sardegna, Vigne Surrau, 2009, a sweet red wine.
The savory, buttery pork scaloppine sat atop a super smooth and creamy wood-fired polenta, circled by flavorful oil, and was paired with a palate-pleasing white: Grillo, Valle dell'Acate, "Zagra," 2010. I was definitely pleased with both dishes, finding them flavorful and just the perfect size.
Unfortunately, we had to cut our evening out short when my friend received a call from her boyfriend. He and a friend were locked out on the back deck and had no way of getting back in the apartment and out to the basketball games they had tickets for that evening.
This was no problem for Blue Room. They simply packed up our desserts to go. We brought them back to my friend's apartment and ate them there. They traveled surprisingly well too (though these photos don't do them justice).
The torta caprese with chocolate sauce and almond crema was rich and nutty and satisfied our chocolate cravings.
But the winning dessert for both of us was the blood orange panna cotta with olive oil caramel sauce. I love panna cotta, but I love it even more when the texture is perfect, as it was here. The olive oil caramel sauce was smooth and sweet, and we chased it around the to-go box with spoonfuls of panna cotta and blood orange, scooping up as much as we could.
We had a lovely evening with great food, interesting wines, and attentive, friendly service. Thank you, Blue Room, for doing restaurant week right.
Did you make any restaurant week reservations?