Lunch at Eastern Standard (Boston, MA)
What I’ve heard about Eastern Standard is the good cocktails and it is close to Fenway Park. Though I’m not a baseball fan, it’s fun to see the diners and locals (some wearing the Red Sox’s jerseys) hanging out at the large bar before the opening day game taking in the excitement.
This decade-old restaurant is a big, bustling brasserie that isn’t overdone or self-conscious. On one side is the dining room, with burgundy banquettes and white tablecloths crowded with thick, red-rimmed china platters filled with food. On the other is a large bar, a length of white marble with red leather stools, facing a row of high tops. The lighting is not too dark and not too bright, cast by lamps with red shades and overhead globes.
No surprise, I’m here for the food and drinks. The drinks are very good and indeed balanced. My friend’s Rockhorse Park made of Bulleit Bourbon, Campari, salted cucumber, and ginger beer is refreshing and quaffable. I’m imagining this would be great for a warm spring or summer day. I had the Queen Christina mixed with bourbon, Swedish punch, lemon, and sugar. It’s a darker drink with warm spices like cardamom and nutmeg that feels appropriate for the winter days.
Our appetizers of roasted bone marrow and foie gras torchon surprised us. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting a properly executed roasted bone marrow that’s smartly topped with pickled sport peppers and radishes to refresh the palate from the fatty unctuousness of the marrow. The foie gras torchon didn’t excite us as much but the dab of whipped lardo added more creaminess to the foie gras slices and a streak of blackberry vinaigrette on the bottom of the plate was appreciated so the fruity acidity doesn’t obstruct the foie gras’ delicate flavor.
The main courses were not as thrilling the appetizers were but they were still tasty. The steak tartare (grande size) was served in its classic way, a heaping side of perfectly fried frites topped with fresh chopped parsley and tossed greens. However, after eating halfway through that dish it tastes monotonous and probably needs some capers tossed in to throw an occasional briny bite than creamy, silky beef. The seared Maine salmon was cooked perfectly that it’s still juicy and cooked through and the sauce gribiche was lovely. However the bed of beluga lentils does not do much in terms of flavor (for me, at least) besides adding substance to the dish.
Desserts were done pretty well. We liked the rhubarb crisp the most since we truly taste the tart fruit and there isn’t too much of the crisp’s topping (I prefer to have more fruit than topping). The caramel millefeuille topped with chantilly cream and topped with fresh blackberries were fine. I was hoping for crispier puff pastry layers but it’s still a tasty dessert.
Overall, Eastern Standard is a very solid restaurant. The service was friendly and professional. The food and drinks were very good and it’s not pretentious. It makes sense why this restaurant is popular with the locals and tourists, like myself. I won’t hesitate to have another meal if I were around the area.
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528 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
Phone: (617) 532-9100