Posted by: Erin | March 19, 2009

Barkeep! Another Valentino!

The wondrous fortnight known as Restaurant Week in Boston has begun!

My friend Morgan is my Restaurant Week buddy – she’s far better at remembering when it is than I am, so she calls me and we make plans. We only have two rules: it has to be somewhere that would normally be out of our price range, and somewhere that we’ve never been before.

This time, we chose Beehive. It’s a relatively new restaurant in the South End, at the Boston Center for the Arts. I’ve heard good things about it, and have seen pictures, so I was curious. The restaurant itself is very cool – lots of exposed brick walls, great metal and crystal chandeliers, rich draped fabric with beaded fringe. When you first walk in, you go downstairs, and there’s a small section of tables around an even smaller stage. Off to the left is another seating area with a bar in the back. (There’s also an upstairs area, which I think has a bar as well, but it was hard to tell from where we were sitting.)

It’s been a crazy few weeks at work, so I was psyched when Morgan told me she’d heard they had good cocktails there. I had what they call a Valentino, which is vodka, blood orange, and passion fruit, garnished with a thick slice of orange. It was excellent. (It has also lead me to wonder if I might make a similar cocktail with a new juice I bought this week. Will try over the weekend and report back later.) Morgan had a blonde sidecar (I think that’s what she called it – though the music was nice, it made it a little hard to hear each other), which was also surprisingly good, and the glass was rimmed with lots of sugar. Yum.

We had some trouble deciding what to choose as our appetizer, so we decided to each order something and share. Morgan ordered the baked goat cheese with honey, and I ordered the chicken tamale with salsa. The chicken tamale was pretty good, but I’m not a big fan of salsa in general. The goat cheese, however, was pretty awesome. I’m not sure what kind of chips were served with it (they were sorta like pita chips, but not really), but it was a nice mix. I would never have thought to put honey and goat cheese together, though it does remind me of a sandwich at Crema Café that I’ve been meaning to try.

Morgan knew as soon as we sat down that she was going to have the Blackened Shrimp with Grits and Fire-Roasted Peppers. I was torn between the Truffle Mac and Cheese and the Roasted Porcini Pork Loin with Asparagus. I had a pork chop for dinner on Monday night, but I decided that goat cheese, mac and cheese, and cheesecake would be enough dairy for the entire month of March, so I went with the pork loin, because I was really curious about the baked goat cheese appetizer. The pork, it turns out, was an excellent decision. It was cooked perfectly and it was HUGE. Like freakin’ enormous. Like I will be eating the leftovers for dinner tonight. (I hate asparagus, though, so Morgan happily took that off my hands.) In general, I don’t think I like mushrooms, but the porcini stuffing was really good. I can’t explain the taste very well, but it definitely added “something” to the dish.

After being defeated by my entree, we moved on to dessert. Much to my dismay, there was nothing involving chocolate on the menu. Our choices were a spiced brown sugar cake with cream cheese frosting, and Irish cream cheesecake. We did the same thing with the desserts that we did with the appetizers – Morgan got the brown sugar spice cake, and I ordered the cheesecake. The brown sugar spice cake wasn’t bad – there was a nice balance between the cinnamon/nutmeg taste and the juicy raisins. I usually hate cream cheese frosting, but this was fresh whipped frosting, which I think makes a difference. It complimented the cake nicely. I just tend to prefer desserts with chocolate and/or fruit.

The Irish cream cheesecake was also nicely done. I am, on the whole, a cheesecake purist – flavors/additions always SOUND like a good idea to me, but they always end up disappointing me. I believe cheesecake should be cheesecake, possibly with berries on top, but that’s it. No mixed in cookie dough, chocolate, whatever. This will be my exception, however. The Irish cream flavor was light and worked into the cheesecake filling (not in a chunky swirled manner the way some store-bought cheesecakes are made). It was topped with fresh whipped cream and a few blueberries (which I could have done without) and a huge juicy blackberry, which was awesome. I wouldn’t put blackberries and Irish cream together, but I think that was just the garnish, because the brown spice cake had the same berries on top of its frosting, too.

On the whole, the food was good, the portions were large, and the atmosphere was pretty cool. It’s a little on the expensive side regularly, but for $33.09 during Restaurant Week (for appetizer, entree, and dessert – drinks are not included), it’s worth it. Looking forward to my leftovers tonight!

Edit: I forgot to add that the hostess and servers were great as well. Originally, we were going to be seated at a table far away from the stage (and the live music), but at our request, the hostess quickly and happily led us to a better table. Water glasses were always full (which is a Thing with me – I hate trying to flag someone down for 20 minutes while I’m sucking on ice chips), and the servers were very polite. And despite it being Restaurant Week, no one rushed us in the least. So, gold star for them. 🙂

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