After seeing the ballet at the Boston Opera House, or before a late night showing of Oz at AMC Loewes, theater-goers have a massive number of restaurants in Boston’s Theater District to choose from.
Dinner and a show is perhaps one of my favorite things to do in the city. Unfortunately, many restaurants accustomed to a pre-dinner crowd have formed the bad habit of rushed, chaotic service. Fortunately, at the Artisan Bistro at The Ritz Carlton, service is one of their most exceptional qualities. This, in conjuntion with their extensive pantry of produce and full gluten-free menu, makes the Artisan Bistro my premier choice for pre or post-show dining in Boston.
Whether you’re with friends, family, or on a romantic date, the upscale variations on classic European and American dishes guarentee there’s something everyone will enjoy on the menu. And with an “anything you want, we can make” motto, no patron will leave unsatisfied.
Recommended Dishes: The Beet Canneloni was a surprising and delicious dish. Typically, canneloni is a cylindrical stuffed pasta. What I expected, based on the menu description, was exactly this – stuffed with beets, Vermont chevre, and the other mentioned ingredients, topped with a pomegranate balsamic. This was a dish I anticipated sharing with my mother and father, and writing off as my “indulgent” dish of the evening. Yet this imaginative dish was a “canneloni” of thinly sliced golden beats, filled with toasted wheat berry, broccolini, and topped with a modest crumble of cheese and a side of red beets. Crisp, refreshing, and extremely healthy, I was beyond thrilled, and considered ordering a second for dinner. The garden salad contains unique ingredients, such as pickled kohlrabi and hearts of palm – I substituted the chestnuts and Manchego cheese for tomatoes and cucumbers to lighten it up, but was grateful for the citrusy orange slices and acidity for the kohlrabi on my mixed greens.
The Not-So-Good Bite: Unless you dine at the Artisan Bistro on a Monday, and have the opportunity to try their Cauliflower Gratin special, there are no vegetarian dishes explicitly listed on the menu. Fortunately, the Chef at Artisan is more than happy to take any side or accompaniement available on the menu and transform it into the dream vegetarian dish of your liking. Brussel sprouts, turnips, tomatoes, and carrots were the focal point of my dinner, served over a warm wild rice and cabbage salad with a few other vegetables mixed in. This medley was lightly roasted, and sauce-free, making it extremely light and naturally sweet.
The Good Bite: Indulging in a night out is always better when the food is worth its weight in cost and calories. A large basket of crusty, house-baked bread is served at the onset of the course with salted Vermont butter – the perfect vehicle for soaking up leftover pomegranate vinaigrette or the sweet carmelization from a cippollini onion. Furthermore, dishes are large (appropriate for the cost) but not over-the-top. You can eat everything on your plate without overdoing it and stretching your stomach beyond reason. If a dish comes with cheese, it’s a reasonable portion, and sauces are served in a moderate amount. Only the soups appear to be plated contrary to this – my father ordered a cup of clam chowder, and received a massive, deep bowl that could easily have served all three of us. If you’re interested in the hearty vegetable minestrone or creamy clam chowder, reserve these for the main course, and try to take some home.
The Best Bite: At the Artisan Bistro, service is the key to a perfect night out. With everything cooked to order and a wait and kitchen staff eager to please, it’s possible to truly relax and enjoy the evening. There’s never a rush to turn over tables, and with one of Boston’s most renowned bars, the Avery Bar, right across the hall, it’s best to make Artisan the after-show stop. Take your time, and slowly sip one of their fantastic, expertly crafted cocktails. Just be wary of the bar nuts, which – while delicious – are an easy way to undo an evening of healthy, fresh bites.
The next time you’re out for an evening of entertainment in downtown Boston, make sure to stop in to the Ritz. Check your coat, try the bread, and don’t be afraid to ask for exactly what it is you want – even if it’s not on the menu.
Until next time,