Blue Inc.: A Whimsical and Delicious Addition to Boston’s Restaurant Scene

11 Sep

Sorry for the long hiatus, everyone! I’ll kick off the fall with one of my favorite dining experiences in the past few months: Blue Inc.

My family and friends know that I don’t mess around with birthdays—and definitely not with birthday dinners. When my birthday approached this year, I spent a good 45 minutes researching and vetting potential spots for that night’s dinner—reading reviews, looking over menus, etc. And I ultimately landed on Blue Inc. in Boston.

At just eight weeks old, this restaurant is a newborn, but its credentials are not. The restaurant is owned by Chef Jason Santos, the former executive chef at Gargoyles on the Square in Somerville, Mass., and a finalist in season 7 of the FOX cooking competition “Hell’s Kitchen.” A molecular gastronomist, Santos favors Asian, French, and traditional American flavors, and combines all of the above in very unexpected and unique ways. His style is certainly whimsical, which is reflected in everything from the bee pollen in the Lobster & Summer Truffle Soup to the cocktail list (which features drinks such as the “Anorexic Model,” the “Chilled Chocolate Afro Puff” and the “Study Au Broad”). Most importantly (in my mind at least), he doesn’t force his molecular gastronomy techniques down your throat (no pun intended). His use of foams, emulsions, dehydration, espumas and the like are quite restrained, used as sparing accents.

At this point I should apologize to you, readers, because I did not intend to review this restaurant—with it being my birthday, I wanted to focus more on enjoying the food and the company than snapping photos and writing down flavors. But after dining there, I felt compelled to write something about it, as it was incredible. So I apologize for the lack of photos!

The restaurant is at the end of Broad Street in the Financial District, with a small patio for outdoor dining. The décor is clean and almost beachy, with white-washed walls and blue accents.

The menus are dazzling. As mentioned before, the cocktail menu is intriguing and sardonic, the bar menu has some great options and the dinner menu is small but has many tempting dishes.

Since I couldn’t decide, I got the hand-rolled potato gnocchi from the dinner menu to start (house-made lamb sausage, charred broccoli raab, piquillo peppers, and shaved parmesan), followed by the buffalo duck drumettes (celery, blue cheese crumbles, ranch dressing) and the crunchy lobster tacos (chipotle crema, mango salsa, habañero pipette), both from the bar menu.

The gnocchi was impossibly light (it almost melts in your mouth) and the lamb sausage had a lot of flavor. The buffalo duck drumettes—an instant hit with me since I haven’t been able to find proper buffalo chicken in San Francisco, and am a sucker for duck—arrived as three drumsticks about 8 inches long. I wouldn’t exactly classify them as buffalo, as they weren’t very spicy and had more of a barbeque flavor to them, but they were still crispy, tender and delicious. I didn’t even use the side of ranch dressing because the crumbles of fresh blue cheese on top perfectly balanced the sauce. Finally, the lobster tacos (without the mango salsa, as mango is in the nut family) were great, heaping with lobster and not too much mayo. The habañero pipette was quite literally a pipette; it looked like a tiny test tube. I think I still prefer a traditional lobster roll, but this was a really unique spin.

My dad got the spicy P.E.I. mussels to start, which were delicious—really flavorful and fresh, without being too fishy or salty. The garlic bread accompaniment, dipped in the broth, was amazing. For his entrée he got the pan-seared scallops (crispy farm egg, chorizo emulsion, shallot-radish salad, fresh & freeze dried corn) which were fresh and perfectly seared, with lots of flavor. The crispy farm egg was a poached egg that was lightly fried, so when you cut into it the yolk came oozing out. Delicious.

My mom got the braised veal cheeks (with green peppercorn syrup, potato purée, frisée salad and watermelon tartar), which just melted in your mouth. The potato purée was a lighter take on mashed potatoes, and the watermelon tartar was an interesting addition.

For dessert, we got the Chèvre Cheesecake (with graham cracker tuile, compressed melon and lemongrass ice cream), which was impossibly creamy and delicious. It was the perfect portion—a few sweet after-dinner bites that don’t tip you over the edge into uncomfortably full—and was presented beautifully, even down to the “Happy Birthday” in chocolate.

The Chèvre Cheesecake (birthday edition)

From the level of service, you would have no idea the restaurant was only eight weeks old. Our server, Stephanie, was wonderful—funny, helpful and attentive. When I asked her about nuts, she was very understanding, and checked with the kitchen on everything (and even reminded me between courses that she was doing so). But here was the most amazing part of all—my brother was supposed to join us, but got out of work very late and didn’t end up making it there until after we had finished our entrees. When he told us he was on his way, we put in an order for the boneless buttermilk fried chicken (with celery root mousseline, habañero bbq syrup, wilted greens, avocado salad and farmers cheese), and the food arrived before he did. After about five minutes, Stephanie asked us if we wanted it under the heat lamp, and we said not to bother because he wasn’t picky and should be there any minute. She kept coming back and urging us to put it under the heat lamp, and we kept refusing, until the manager came over and we assured her as well that it wasn’t a big deal. She insisted on taking back the dish and making it all over again right before he got there, so it would be hot and ready to go when he arrived. Now that is service.

The restaurant is a bit on the pricier side, but not outrageous, and definitely worth it for the delicious food. If you find yourself in Boston, I highly recommend you find your way over there!

RATINGS

  • Food: 9
  • Presentation: 9
  • Menu: 9
  • Service: 9
  • Ambiance: 7
  • Allergy-friendliness: 8
  • Cost: $$-$$$

Overall: 4.5 out of 5 stars

THE DEETS

Blue Inc.
131 Broad St
(between Wharf St & Wendell St)
Boston, MA 02110
(617) 261-5353

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One Response to “Blue Inc.: A Whimsical and Delicious Addition to Boston’s Restaurant Scene”

  1. Janice September 12, 2011 at 4:41 AM #

    An impressive meal and menu

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