Metropolis Cafe first opened in the South End in 1995 and is the first of what are several successful restaurants all owned and operated by The Aquitaine Group. Dinner for two including a shared appetizer, two main plates and shared dessert (not including drinks and tip) costs approximately $50-$60. Chef William “Billy” Nurse and the loyal and knowledgeable waitstaff provided a pleasurable dining experience. Since we hadn’t been to Metropolis for dinner in nearly 5 years, we asked for and ordered some of their most popular plates. We started with their green salad that came with two crispy crostini, toasted walnuts and a delicious Dijon vinaigrette ($7.95) as well as the roasted mushrooms ($7.95). If you enjoy mushrooms, I really would suggest requesting extra bread, which the restaurant will happily bring to your table, and order the mushrooms.
For dinner we also ordered two of Metropolis’ favorite plates. The salmon comes with a horseradish crust on the top which is surprisingly light and adds some great texture to the filet that sits on a bed of warm cucumbers and crème fraîche that really makes the dish sing ($18.95). The chicken (may be the restaurant’s favorite plate) was seasoned and crispy on the outside and perfectly cooked. The plate sits on a bed of oyster mushrooms and potato purée (19.95). Both dinners were more than satisfying in flavor and portion.Normally we refrain from ordering dessert but for the sake of “research” we opted to share something sweet to end what was a very savory meal. Below is a photo of the chocolate pudding cake with vanilla ice cream ($7.95), which is served piping hot and best accompanied with a cup of the restaurant’s coffee.Metropolis Cafe 584 Tremont Street (617) 247-2931
Reservations are strongly recommended for this tiny Cafe on Tremont Street
According to the Advocate Magazine, the Seattle Weekly has posted on the Internet a previously secret list of more than 100,000 people who signed a petition that tried to overturn domestic partnerships in Washington. After the contentious vote (which failed), the group that organized the petition, Protect Marriage Washington, tried to keep the petitioners’ names private, but a judge ruled earlier this month the names would have to become public.
This story reminds me of the hateful petitions that turned up in Massachusetts back in 2003 after the State Supreme Court ruled banning Same Sex marriage illegal and conservative groups started petitions to have gay marriage brought to the ballot. A local non-profit called Know Thy Neighbor started publishing the names of people who signed these petitions. Despite the best efforts of conservative groups to try and keep these names secret, every court sided with Know Thy Neighbor.
The morale of the story is, you are entitled to your opinion but your neighbor is also entitled to know because bigotry tends to shrivel and whither by the light of day. So I say cheers to the Washington State court that ruled these names could be made public.
Personal Note: The image above was taken outside the MA State house. I was there – not in the picture, but I was there and met that sick, demented man so I always like to post this photo because it reminds me of what hate looks like.
This weekend Union Bar and Grille shook things up by changing their menu, presumably to entice more patrons. The new menu is essentially divided into four sections: Snacks ($2-$4), Salads and Appetizers ($6-$12), Main Plates ($15-$24). The menu also has several sides (referred to as xtras) as well as a section noted by a large bold asterisk that includes a few raw options and a daily charcuterie plate. A number of new cocktails have been added, and I think tequila drinkers will definitely enjoy, Conquistador ($9), which is very smooth and fragrant with its citrus and clove garnish.
In an attempt to sample a bit of everything we ordered two “snacks” as the menu refers to them. Maine crabmeat toast ($3) and pork & pickled onion taco ($4). The toast depicted bottom left was good but I preferred the taste of the grilled pork soft tacos which were served as a pair.We followed the “snacks” with another new plate, the squash gnocchi ($12), which is listed as a “first” (a.k.a. appetizers). The buttery sauce combined with squash, “garlic fudge” and fresh cheese was to be my favorite plate of the night. Although this is listed as an appetizer, one could have this and a salad and leave very content for the night. It was refreshing to see so many new options, but I was curious to try the burger which had changed last year (they no longer include the ground sausage) and was one of the few items to be kept on the new menu. I loved their original burger but found it hard to critique the option on the menu now. Union still has one of the best burgers in town (albeit one of the more expensive ones too at $15). We also tried a new entrant to the menu, the bourbon glazed pork chop with rice ($23). I found this the least interesting of all the food we tried and a tad over cooked. While dining we were able to see several other plates served and the other options at least visually were far more interesting. The restaurant’s move is bold considering signature dishes like their 10K Tuna (which I thought to be one of the best in the city) is now gone. Will long-time patrons be pleased with the changes? Will the new menu with a lower price point and more options win over new customers? Its hard to say, but the plates and price point puts Union more in line with many South End restaurants like the South End Gallows, Stephi’s on Tremont and Stella.
Union has a knowledgeable and friendly staff as well as a talented chef in Langlois so I’m hopeful that with a few tweaks the menu will be a hit.
Union is located at 1357 Washington Street (617) 423-0555 Reservations are strongly recommended.
Union Bar and Grille, a signature fine dining restaurant owned by the Aquitaine Group, will be introducing a new menu that may take some by surprise and delight many. This is not the typical summer to fall menu change Boston diners are seeing around the city as chefs substitute plates with ingredients more in line with the season.
The new menu which will roll out later this month will include more small plates and a lower price point. Why the change? Why now? Contributing factors are likely the soft economy and the fact that small plates is a dining trend that remains popular; especially in the South End.
Union has been a destination restaurant almost since its first day, but the landscape in the South End has changed and revamping their menu is a smart move. This foodie will be excited to sample the many new options and if you live in the area – I’d encourage you to do the same.
Union Bar and Grille is located at 1357 Washington Street in the South End.