Restaurant Review: Grill 23

It is not difficult to understand why Grill 23 is considered by most to be Boston’s best steakhouse. The dining experience will most certainly leave you wanting to come back for more.

Upon entering the restaurant, you could easily think that you had entered a country club in Pinehurst. The dining room evokes a feeling of old school grandeur – dark wood furnishings, heavy brass fixtures, high ceilings with intricate molding held by large marble columns.

Start the evening off with a cocktail at the congested bar – perhaps a “Du Barry”, a dry vermouth martini spiced up with the essence of orange and anise and complemented by a touch of bitters. Fittingly, the two bartenders on duty maintain an attitude that allows no rush to service the mass of smartly dressed and commonly attractive 30-somethings surrounding the bar area.

To begin your dinner, choose a wine from the most extraordinary wine list I have seen in a long time. Over 900 bottles, extending 41 pages, fill the wine menu focused on American, French and Italian wines. This is not a place for the faint of heart wine-drinker – most bottles cost in excess of $75, with the range extending well into hundreds of dollars per bottle.
Starters range from salad and soup to a strong selection of seafood delicacies, including tuna sashimi – a fusion twist, served with olive oil, tzatziki, white pepper and chives – or crab cakes – hearty, meaty and bursting with flavor.

Mains are offered in traditional entr‚e style, or   la carte. Try the Grill 23 Meatloaf – a hearty yet chic version of the classic dish – a rounded form of prime meats settled within a rich mushroom sauce and accompanied by a creamy mash. A la carte options offer choice cuts of meat in various sizes and may be complemented by a wide array of side dishes. I chose a 32-oz. portion of grilled lamb – three very large pieces of meat lightly attached to the bone, marinated in a delicate blend of rosemary and thyme and served with deeply caramelized onions and a few sprigs of watercress. The meat was tender, cooked to perfection, and flowing with juices. The side of spinach, lightly saut‚ed with slivers of browned garlic, added nicely to the meal. After this very healthy serving of food, we opted to end the meal without dessert.

For brilliant carnivorous fare, served in a distinguished setting, Grill 23 is one stop you surely can’t miss during your time at Harvard Business School.

Dinner for Two ~ $150
Grill 23
161 Berkeley Street
Corner of Berkeley and Stuart Streets
Back Bay
(617) 542-2255

November 2, 2004
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