Top Picks for Boston Restaurant Week 2014

Boston Restaurant Week 2014 (now called “Dine Out Boston”) is coming soon and with 200+ menus, your choices are prodigious. I’m sure you’ve picked out a few places you want to go for restaurant week, but you should celebrate Boston’s two weeks of deliciousness by making sure to go out every night. Dine Out Boston runs from March 16 to the 28, but Saturday nights aren’t part of the festivities, so the official dates are March 16-21 and 23-28. This year’s per-person prix fixe offerings fall into three tiers for lunch or dinner, and the pricing is dependent on how many courses are offered. For lunch, you’ll pay $15, $20, or $25; for dinner you’ll pay $28, 33, or $38.

I’ve looked through all the available menus for this year’s selections and listed my favorite choices in each price tier for lunch and dinner. Boston, let the feasting begin!

The Dean’s List ($15 Lunch)

The Dean’s List offers a selection of delectable-sounding sandwiches, but the one I want to try is called The Green Monster. It’s assembled from fried green tomatoes and apple-wood smoked bacon, then topped with gruyere, and these ingredients are all layered on top of arugula and red peppers tossed with a sun dried tomato pesto, then contained within two slices of Iggy’s sourdough. The Dean’s List pairs this monster of a sandwich with soup. Now, I know you’re from Boston and that clam chowder is a dime-a-dozen for you, but I’d like to try The Dean’s List’s award-winning cup, because soup that wins awards is usually worth the hype. Lunch here is served with a bonus: a free fountain soda, iced tea, or coffee which means I won’t get green-eyed with envy over someone else’s soda while I’m consuming my Monster of a meal. 5 Blossom Street | 617.742.7630

5 Napkin Burger ($20 Lunch)

The folks at 5 Napkin Burger aren’t kidding when they say that their food requires five napkins to eat. Their food sounds both messy and fantastic. For my restaurant week pick, I’ll be ordering the warm Bavarian pretzel stick appetizer, which is meant to be dipped in cheese fondue, and my entrée choice is the Original 5 Napkin Burger, which is a patty served with caramelized onions, rosemary aioli, and gruyere cheese. Rosemary aioli sounds incredible on a burger. Their lunch special also offers the choice of a soft drink. 105 Huntington Avenue | 617.375.2277

Miel Brasserie ($25 Lunch)

Miel Brasserie may be located inside a hotel, but their food sounds fun and creative, and the restaurant certainly has out-of-the-box ideas. I’m excited about the Warm Pear Tarte appetizer that’s served with caramelized onions, watercress, roasted almonds, and blue cheese. To continue with more luscious dinner fruit selections, I’d choose the Vermont Goat Cheese Fig Stuffed Gnocchi entrée, which comes with a hazelnut sage emulsion. This lunch offers a dessert as well, and I’d order the Honey Candied Pumpkin Riz au Lait (a French rice pudding), served with vanilla-cinnamon ice cream. Yum! 510 Atlantic Avenue | 617.217.5151

Aquitaine ($28 Dinner)

The food at Aquitaine sounds like a texture-filled experience that makes me impatient to crunch into their Salade of Hand-Dug Heirloom Carrots appetizer, tossed with frisee, fines herbs, and a toasted almond vinaigrette. Those hand-dug carrots make me want to ask more questions though, like “Where are the carrots originally?” and “Who’s digging them?” For my entrée, I’d order the smooth-yet-crispy Parmesan Gnocchi Gratinee, served with spinach fondue, then sprinkled with herbed olive oil bread crumbs. (I’d add the Confit of Pork for $5 extra). For dessert, I have to try the Genoise Chocolate Roulade filled and topped with crème caffe and ganache. 569 Tremont Street | 617.424.8577

Papa Razzi ($33 Dinner)

There are many Italian restaurants in Boston, but Papa Razzi’s menu really stood out to me while I was ordering, due to their great flavor combinations. For my appetizer, I’d order the Butternut Bisque topped with a spiced apple crème fraîche, and for my entrée, the Carne di Male makes me drool over its rosemary-maple-brined pork loin, apple celeriac purèe, and pancetta-roasted Brussels sprouts. For dessert, I’d order the Golden Raisin Bread Pudding served with a vanilla gelato. 159 Newbury Street | 617.536.9200

Kitchen ($38 Dinner)

Kitchen offers a decadent menu for restaurant week that sounds like a bargain. For my appetizer, I’ll be trying the Roasted Marrow Bones served with escargot, parsley, anchovy, and garlic bread because it’s hard to find marrow and the idea of pairing marrow with escargot sounds like a texture and flavor knockout. For my entrée, the Thermidor sounds great. It has lobster (of course), which is accompanied by spinach, cheese, mustard cream, and Parisian gnocchi. For dessert, the decadence will continue when I order their selection of donuts, including flavors like berry jam, cinnamon, brown sugar, and vanilla sauce. 560 Tremont Street | 617.695.1250

Maybe the 200+ offerings aren’t enough to satisfy you, or maybe you’re out of town during this cold, cold March, but in case you’re in the mood for more tasty Restaurant Week goodies, don’t forget Cape Cod Restaurant Week, May 12-18. Now, go enjoy some fabulous food, Boston. I’ll see you there.

Photo licensed for use by Jennifer