After a whole week of performances, Sunday evening rolls around and I find myself quite exhausted. When I get very tired, my ability to make decisions disappears and I become a very difficult person to make plans with. A good friend of mine always seems to be at the receiving end of this indecisiveness... and so, lo and behold, this Sunday, after completing our first week of Don Quixote, it took my friend and I about two hours and a billion text messages to figure out where we were going to go for dinner.
I wanted to try something new, but I did not want to walk or take the T, I wanted something casual and relaxed, nothing too fancy and certainly nothing pretentious. Area Four came to mind, but that was too far, Citizen Public House in Fenway was another idea, but I was not all that fond of the meat-heavy menu. Out of nowhere it seems, I got the idea of trying Met Back Bay, located on Newbury and Dartmouth in Boston.
With its proximate location, simple, but enticing menu and a bar with a decent reputation, it seemed the perfect fit for a particularly indecisive Sunday evening.
At The Met Bar, you can opt for a finer dining experience in their upper-floor dining area, you can settle down for a whiskey in their Library Bar, or indulge in their bar menu on the lower level. The great thing is that you can actually order from any menu wherever you are, the only thing that changes then, is the type of atmosphere you choose.
We opted straight away for their bar and lounge area, which even on a Sunday evening, had a nice buzz going. We started with some drinks, I tried their 'Tantric', an interesting and subtle blend of gin, ginger, ginger beer, cucumber and passion fruit. The drink was delightfully refreshing, with no ingredient overpowering the whole.
On top of its various menus, this restaurant also has a few nightly specials and by some stroke of good fortune, Sunday nights happen to be their Grilled Cheese Night. For $5.95, you can choose from a selection of delectable grilled cheeses and for $2, you get three shots of soup. It is a great deal and the grilled cheese selection is really quite impressive.
We opted for their 'El Amigo' — queso fresco, shredded short rib, and jalapenos grilled between their house bread. It was spicy and sweet with a generous amount of short rib. I was duly impressed with the sandwich and for $5.95, it is a steal. We also tried their roasted tomato, ginger-carrot and chicken and pecorino soups. I loved the first two, they were thick and rich and perfect complements to the sandwich. I was not a fan of the chicken and pecorino, which I thought lacked flavor and intensity.
Just to add a component of 'lightness' to our meal, we ordered their tartar duo — salmon and tuna. I was worried that it might be a bit 'sauce' heavy, but both were incredibly well executed. The tuna was a fabulous deep-red color, the salmon was also vibrant and fresh. The duo is served with salty, taro chips which can never hurt.
All in all, it was a gem of a meal and I plan on not only returning for future Grilled Cheese Sundays, but I also hope to experience their Taco Tuesday soon.
he Met Back Bay is an interesting space with a wide range of dining experiences - I would particularly recommend it if you are accompanied by an indecisive individual.