The libations were plentiful and tasty; the portions generous and abundant with Southwestern flavor; and style and service was nothing short of great.

439 Tremont St.
Orange Line New England Medical Center
617-338-8884 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              617-338-8884      end_of_the_skype_highlighting

One of my friends had done a little research on the Masa website which paid off for us. They were having a special promotion where pitchers of Sangria were only $5. The pitchers were served in beautiful, if not small, glass carafes that contained approximately 1.5-2 servings of beautifully rich and flavorful red wine sangria flavored with a hint of cinnamon.

The restaurant was definitely in full force and completely crowded from the moment we stepped in at 6:45 p.m. until we left, full and completely satiated to the extreme at about 9.

As good as the restaurant week menu choices appeared in print, the taste was even better. The first course offering of duck empanadas was amazing. The duck was moist and plentiful and delicious, and the mole sauce was sweet, thick and completely authentic. It was served with a refreshing watercress salad that complemented the empanada in its flaky and sturdy crust and spicy sauce perfectly.

The chipotle spiked clam chowder had a very earthy taste and was served with brioche crackers. The tender romaine salad with crispy red corn tortillas was served beautifully with roasted green chile dressing and smoked cotija cheese. When I first looked over the menu it seemed to be the least impressive choice, but the flavor was incredible. It was delicious and the perfect way to start the meal. I definitely asked for more than one bite from one of my fellow diners, and friends, (as we whined over who hated their boyfriend more that day).

I had been eying each plate as it passed and was excitedly anticipating our entrees. Lucky for us, there were four offerings and four diners with my party, and we each ordered a different item.

My Southwestern style steak frites with chile dusted fries was incredible. I asked for the steak medium rare, with an emphasis on rare, and that is how it arrived. Perfectly pink, deliciously and liberally spiced and overflowing with juice and flavor. The chile lime arugula salad was the perfect recipe to calm the heat. Paired with a Guajillo bourbon sauce, I was in pure heaven. It was one of the best entrees I’ve had of this March 2009 Restaurant Week in Boston, or any other of my past Restaurant Week adventures.

The blackened rare ahi tuna steak with yellow mole was equally pleasing. It was served with Yukon gold potatoes and wild mushrooms. I would’ve preferred the tuna to be less cooked, but that is a personal preference (caused by a bad experience with blackened tuna that was half cooked all the way through and completely unappetizing which resulted in a trip to the emergency room and a Benadryl shot in my behind).

The vegetarian offering, a spicy tres chiles polenta served with marinated mushrooms, arugula and cotija cheese was on the very hot side, which my friend was not warned about. It was hearty and filling, a treat for vegetarians who often find themselves out of luck and out of choices at many restaurants during restaurant week. The chicken was well seasoned and overall spiced well with Adobo and had a refreshing corn avocado salsa.

We forged on toward dessert; the third course offering. We had a sampling of them all, and the molten chocolate cake, despite being delicious, had nothing molten to offer up, at all. Expecting a liquid, creamy and rich center we were slightly disappointed to find the cake solid, through and through. The selection of sorbets: pineapple, strawberry and lemon were divine, refreshing with real fruit taste served in the perfect size, not too much and most definitely not too little.

The flan, however, fell flat. It was a bit too solid, and not being a fan of flan, that did nothing to change my mind about the quivering dessert.

Overall, this was an excellent Restaurant Week choice and a great experience with friends. The lively atmosphere and inventive and delicious food paired perfectly for a great South End dining experience.

This is most definitely not your Chili’s Southwestern experience!

About The Author

Dinah Alobeid is a Blast correspondent

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