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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Mistral: You made my heart sing & stomach smile

It is my favorite time of the year and that's not just because the weather is getting nicer, but it's because Boston Restaurant Week is upon us. There are 12 beautifully delicious days of discounted feasting. I had heard rave reviews for Mistral in Back Bay and wanted to know if the rumors were true. In order to orchestrate the event, I booked a table months ago. This is the type of place that I would usually go to once or twice a year for a truly special special occasion. The regular menu is definitely in the fine dining price category, so being able to eat three courses for $33.12 was a steal. I'm not kidding here, the restaurant week menu was less than the cost of one entree usually. Sometimes I shy away from situations like this because part of the beauty of going to such a nice restaurant is the service. In the past I had bad experiences with service on restaurant week, but Mistral showcased excellence.

For the meal, we both ordered Caesar salads to start. I ordered the statler chicken with risotto, asparagus and mushrooms. My sister got a steak with red wine reduction, Gorgonzola butter and potatoes. For dessert I got a devils food cake with ice cream on top and caramel sauce decorating the plate, and she got profiteroles. Prior to our meals, we got to enjoy perfectly baked bread with butter and a garlicky homemade hummus. In order to keep a girlish figure, I am rationing my bread intake during restaurant week to one slice/roll per meal. This was hard to do because the spreads were so delicious. See below for the bread picture.

The Caesar salads were delicious. Last weekend I learned about how important it is to showcase really good cheese and Mistral clearly got the hint. The dressing was light with the perfect amount of seasoning and cheese. They put Parmesan cheese on top. The croutons were homemade and I did not want the salad to end. Luckily once it did, we were greeted with the most beautiful main courses.

For the main courses my sister was dead set on steak. She had been counting down to a good steak and boy was it delicious. The steak was perfectly cooked and the potatoes were a nice compliment to the hearty sirloin. I normally can't stand blue cheese, but I tasted her dish and loved it. One of my favorite things about dining with a close friend or family member is that we can order different dishes but experience them all together.

When it comes to ordering, I want to know the story and what the waiter or waitress thinks. I learned early that if they are enthusiastic, the dish is usually good. I was planning to order the salmon, but I asked Natalie, our waitress about the chicken or the salmon and her face lit up about the chicken, so I went with her recommendation and I am glad I did. Chicken was a staple in my house growing up, so I rarely would choose to have it out, but I have evolved. The chicken was outstanding. The skin was perfectly crisped and the inside was moist. The cut of the chicken was the Statler, so it was white meat. I always thought chicken was simple, but there have been countless times where I've had dry white meat. This chicken was moist and delicious on top of a risotto. The portions were perfectly sized. It was so tasty that I wish I could have eaten more, but I needed to save room for dessert.

I love dessert especially chocolate desserts with ice cream. We both had ice cream filled chocolate desserts. Between the profiteroles and the devils food cake, I think the profiteroles were slightly better than the devils food cake. I say slightly so that if you have to choose between the two you know which is best. I recommend that you order both and just share them. The devils food cake was a perfect chocolate cake with creamy vanilla ice cream and a lace cookie on top. I could not get enough. The profiterole was delicious. The pastry was flaky and the ice cream and chocolate sauce bountiful. We both concluded at the end or the dessert course that it was inappropriate to lick our plates because we were at a fancy restaurant. Had we been at home, the plates would have been licked.

Overall Mistral was outstanding. It deserves all of the praise it gets. The service and food were both outstanding. I feel lucky that we were able to eat like queens and not break the bank. I can't wait to go here again next year for restaurant week or for a celebration. Looking forward to trying brunch. If you are trying to figure out where to go for restaurant week, I would call daily to see if they get cancellations.

Photos all taken as the food was served.

1 comment:

  1. Oh. My. Goodness. Foodie, you have left me speechless, yet my mouth is salivating!!! Wow. I'm headed to Capital Grille and Ruth's Chris for this restaurant week, but I can't wait for August to come so I can put this on my list of MUST VISITS! You sold me! Thanks for sharing the experience. I truly feel as though I was right there with you :)