The Hot and Cold Chicken Salad
361 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02116
(617) 247 – 4777
493 Massachusetts Avenue (on the corner of Mass. Ave. and Tremont St.)
Boston, MA 02116
Full Menu till 1AM every night, last call at 2AM.
Monday through Saturday 11:30am - 2am
Sunday 12pm – 2am
So I have actually never heard of this restaurant / cafe before, and was only led to eat here because a friend wanted to meet up here for lunch. When I first walked in, I noticed that there was a large bar, and a very nice homely atmosphere. There were specials written in chalk on the walls, and there was very nice clean and tasteful decor. But the biggest thing that I noticed was the sort of open kitchen where the food would materialize. Our server seated us right in front of this magical port where all sorts of deliciousness would emerge, such a vast array of sandwiches and colorful salads. Immediately I knew that the pictureless menu would offer me no aid in choosing a meal.
I like the decor as I had mentioned earlier. Also, I like the tables and chairs, a weird observation, but I have an affinity to these all wooden places. And I liked the way the bar was set up. As for ambiance, it was both really busy when we first arrived, so it was pretty noisy, but as time passed, it definitely quieted down a lot and had a much more refined feel. So depending on the day, time, and crowd, it can feel like a cafe, or a much nicer bar.
When I finally took the server’s suggestion of the “Viera” sandwich, I was pleasantly pleased with her favorite choice. The steak was plenty tender and flavorful, and the asparagus salad was incredible. The cooks managed to take the clearly large and tough asparagus and saute it into something that was manageable and delicious. My only complaint was the the bread was toasted to a consistency where the crunchy exterior wreaked havoc on the roof of my mouth, causing it to eventually bleed (this is not an exaggeration!). But the sheer deliciousness of the sandwich compelled me to finish the entire sandwich even though it was such a masochist ordeal. As for the other dishes, the “Hot and Cold Chicken Salad” was somewhat plain, nothing too special about it except that it was laid over a foundation of rice, otherwise nothing special. The “Nicoise Salad” on the other hand had a rare tuna steak that blew me away. It was definitely high grade sushi level meat that was perfectly grilled to have a nice firm texture on the outside, but absolute melt in your mouth interior that screamed freshness. But other than the tuna steak, and standard but very fresh salad with good sauce.
I really enjoyed my sandwich and the grilled tuna, and because my initial experience was so positive, I definitely want to try other sandwiches from their extensive selection. They even have special sandwiches that were created by fellow cooks from other restaurants in the Boston area, which is cool because you get to try tastes and cooking styles of other restaurants all in one place, albiet in sandwich form. I would recommend this place, though I personally would not go through too much effort to eat here other than a more casual lunch, the food is a definite winner.