Red Lantern is one of this summer's hottest new restaurants. It opened about a month ago and boasts a seating of 250 people, open kitchen and sushi bar among its impressive Asian decor.
Upon arrival, you can already feel the different vibe that sets Red Lantern apart from other Back Bay/South End locations...petite and quaint do not fit into this place's vocabulary. Every thing is big and bold, colorful and ornate—it is more like a New York restaurant than anything in Boston.
My friend and I ventured in on a weeknight for a drink and dessert. The menu itself looked alright, a little pricey and only a few noodle dishes tickled my fancy. The drink menu however is great. They introduce different kinds of alcohols into fun sounding cocktails, like their Yin and Yang scorpion bowls, sake takes a prime position as well. I was actually lured in by their Tranquility Bubble Tea, which is, as its name indicates, a bubble tea cocktail. How ingenious! The drink is delicious and an immediate favorite - so long as the tapioca bubbles have been cooked properly—as I had to initially send it back for tweaking.
Red Lantern also had an impressive dessert list. It was not overwhelming, with only five options, but each sounded so tantilizing. In the end, we opted for their crème brulée trio which came with an assortment of espresso, passion fruit and hibiscus crème brulée. Each was delicious, but our favorite was the hibiscus, which had a subtle floral taste while remaining more reminiscent of true crème brulée than the other two.
I was actually so impressed that I returned the night after and had their Sangria which was very tasty, but missing in the 'fresh fruit' department... always disappointing. I would absolutely go back however, for dinner, more drinks and dessert. The place has a great vibe, lots of options and price ranges—oh—and it serves food until 1:30 am...what a novelty!