Thursday, March 26, 2009

Day 2: Boston Restaurant Week: Om, Pt I

Black was the color of the evening. Although we're not usually so spiffy in suits, dresses and heels, we dressed up for Boston restaurant week. Kudos to the seniors who accompanied me to OM Restaurant and Lounge. OM exceeded my expectations. It was still daylight out when we arrived at 5:30 p.m. sharp. Yun (who turned out to be quite the culinary expert!) met us there after work. We ordered a bottle of white wine (Azienda Agricola Conti-Zecca Leverano 52-7 --> that's what the cork read). Yun and I drank off most of it.

Rachel and I were both uncomfortable in our three-inch heels treading precariously on uneven brick pavement and dusty sidewalks through Harvard Square, where OM is located. Across the street is Grendel's Den, a British-style pub crawl that satiates the craving for all things thick, gooey, viscous and comfort food-related. From Sunday through Thursday, the entire menu is half-price from 5-7:30 p.m. Get your happy hour on!

In an effort to maximize business sales, OM extended restaurant week to restaurant month through March 2009. OM also offers a two-course lunch for $15.08 and a 3-course lunch for $22.08.

Happy Family, minus Yun.

Immediate impressions: Warm lighting. Tiny cylindrical tea candles hung from the ceiling, along with a colorful tapestry in the shape of a wheel. Goddesses were painted in shades of teal/brick/beige/dusty blue. Service was friendly and efficient. Good thing we came early. I spotted only three other parties when we arrived -- middle-aged couples in both dressy and casual attire. No rude attitude from our waitress, which could easily have been the case since high-end restaurants tend to look down their noses on younger diners because they think we'll tip badly. (We didn't.) They didn't card us but toward the end of our meal I overheard our waitress and another waiter chatting behind us --

Male waiter: Are they legal?
Waitress: I don't know.
MW: I hope so (They both laugh).

Well, none of us got drunk, if that was the issue at stake (and yes, we're all legal, even if we're youthful-looking).

Ambiance: Intimate, Soothing, Tranquil, Hip, Artistic. The decor was evocative of a Southeast Asian country, complete with Bodhisattva statues, a Zen-like waterfall and, on the second floor, bronze statues and figurines placed in four narrow alcoves above a row of two-person tables. A wall of carved sculpture depicting soldiers riding an elephant stuck out in uneven grooves, casting a historical, globetrotting aura.

At the entrance, the front door was made of heavy wood intricately carved into a Tibetan(?) sculpture. Inside, on the first floor, waterfalls and neon lights converged. Rachel accidentally "zapped" the waterfall. Enter the lounge. Mod low-laying black tables with beige cushions made the ideal environment for sipping on a lavender blackberry mimosa or whatever the specialty of the day happened to be. The Maitre'd, host and waitstaff were all very courteous. Our waitress, a curly-haired strawberry blond in her late 20s/early 30s, beamed after she saw the tip we left for her.

The extensive wine list included red, white, merlot, champagne, Zinfandel, Riesling, Pinot Noir...upwards of $90. I'm glad we agreed on the $24 white wine. Wine for four bucks a glass? Not bad, with a dry relish. Our individual totals were $47, including tax and tip. I would gladly do restaurant week again.

On the house: Truffle oil popcorn.

I'm not very familiar with truffle oil, but this was a pleasant starter to our meal. Truffle oil is actually not made of truffles but is a synthetic product, one of many organic aromatic odorants, found in real truffles. The olive oil base adds moisture to an otherwise dry batch of popcorn. Although I wouldn't say truffle oil tastes anything like actual truffles, it was certainly delectable!

My Appetizer: Spring Vegetable Soup.

The portions were not too model-sized (Read: We didn't starve). Each course had several options. The creamy spring vegetable soup had an almost cheesy consistency, with a slight kick of herbs. It consisted of a pureed blend of broccoli, peas, carrots, and other vegetables.

More details on the food in the next entry...

OM Restaurant and Lounge
92 Winthrop St
Cambridge, MA 02138

Grendel's Den
89 Winthrop St
Cambridge, MA 02138

1 comment:

  1. hi sarah! you're so cute. :) please visit again! hopefully i can make a new york trip happen some time soon.