Wednesday night, I went to Sel De La Terre on State Street in Boston with stealth_eater, plumduff and Asano-mama.
First impression? Service was excellent. Our waitress made sure that we were never in want of water or bread. And the bread? Yummy. Asano-mama was addicted to the olive bread while I was fond of the fig bread (and so pretty!). The place is clean and pretty. And somehow, it was never too loud. We got there just before 6:30pm before there was much of a crowd. When we left, it was pretty full. And yet, throughout the dinner, there was no need to yell or talk very loudly to hold a conversation. You can come here in casual clothes or a little dressed up. It’s all good.
The food? Here’s what was ordered:
Stealth_Eater – Flatbread pizza with hummus, olive tapenade, mozzarella, spinach, caramelized onions and bacon $11 (we think it was a lamb bacon). A salad of romaine, endive… I think it was officially the Winter salad of roasted beets, pears, walnuts, red endive and Maytag blue; red wine vinaigrette $10. Rosemary pommes frites $6.50. Vanilla crème brûlée with fresh fruit and homemade cookies $8.95.
Me – The Restaurant Week fixed price menu of $33.08. I selected the forest mushroom soup, braised boneless beef shortribs with olive oil whipped potatoes and sautéed winter vegetables, and chocolate+espresso pots de creme.
Asano-Mama – The Restaurant Week fixed price menu of $33.08. She started with the pate tray, had the shortribs like I did, and finished with chocolate mousse service in phyllo cups. She did, however, order a glass from the specialty drinks list – a lambic/champagne mix.
plumduff – Baked aged goat cheese salad with arugula, pine nuts, red onion and balsamic $10. Oven roasted free range chicken with confit foie gras boudin, fried artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers and chickpea purée; verjus-honey sauce $25.
Food impressions? Everything was yummy. Portions were just right. The mushroom soup was so delicious! A little salty, but that didn’t stop me from wanting more. The whipped potatoes hidden under the short ribs were so light in texture but still very traditional mashed potato-y in flavor. The chocolate cream was very good, more chocolate in flavor than espresso. And Sel De La Terre is known for their short ribs – they braise it until the meat is absolutely tender. You don’t even need a knife to cut it.
I didn’t try the salad, the pate, the goat cheese, or the chocolate mousse cups. Asano-mama seemed to like the pate, cheese, and mousse very much. I think plumduff liked the goat cheese even though it was Asano-mama who finished it. Mmm, the flat bread smelled really good, but the lamb bacon was weird to me. I guess I’m really picky about how lamb is prepared or else it is just too overpowering. I did taste plumduff’s chicken – that was very, very nice. I guess the rosemary
french friespommes frites are as legendary as their short ribs, and while they were tasty, my reaction was kind of average. They were good, but they are still just potatoes with rosemary. lol! I guess I don’t understand why someone would gush over it. (I think it was a co-worker who told stealth_eater that the frites were a must.) I’d rather gush over the mushroom soup or the ribs or the desserts.
Speaking of desserts, the creme brulee was awesome. The first time I ever had creme brulee was at Devlin’s, I think. It was an Italian place run by very Irish people, and it was the first time [nickname shall be Blondie] and I had ever hung out together outside of work. And Devlin’s did a very good job of it. Since then, I’ve ordered it at other places, but, seriously, most restaurants can’t get the burnt sugar topping right. Sel De La Terre did, and I was so happy sneaking a few bits off of stealth_eater’s plate. At least, though further away in terms of distance, Sel De La Terre is easier to get to than Devlin’s so it’s nice that if I want to indulge myself on nice desserts, I know know where I can go.
Sel De La Terre also has a small counter when you first enter the location – the boulangerie. In their words:
“At Sel de la Terre we pride ourselves in the unique practices of freshly baked artisan breads, classic French pastries, and house-made charcuterie.
We are committed to the concept of traditional, handcrafted breads; intensely flavored, perfectly textured, with crackling crusts and tender centers. Our bread program is a focus, which consistently receives local praise and accolades including Boston Magazine’s “Best Bread” in Best of Boston 2005. Our bread can be found in our boulangerie, on the tables of our restaurant and in our gourmet sandwiches, as well as at various retail locations and other restaurants throughout the greater Boston area. Some of our favorite bread varieties include homemade country sourdough, black olive, fig and anise, rye, baguette, multi-grain, wheat, brioche and potato breads.
Our retail case highlights a passion for house-made hams, sausages, pâtés and terrines, which we encourage you to enjoy at home with one of our fresh baguettes.”
I’m definitely coming back some time, if only to pick up something at the boulangerie. But I’d like to come back for a meal too. 🙂
It didn’t occur to me that night to bring a camera. Maybe next time. And I’ll post it on the Awesomesauce Eats blog.
The only downside, if they can be counted as such, was the wicker/rattan trash can in the bathroom (I’d rather have a step can even if it’s uglier) and that stealth_eater forgot her umbrella in the umbrella stand. It’s really easy to pass by that stupid umbrella stand, and stealth_eater has a habit of losing things more easily than I do.