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Raduis Review


Schneier
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Sometimes I worry that I'm too jaded. I worry that I can't possibly enjoy these sorts of meals anymore, that I find fault in everything, and that I might as well not even bother. I felt that way after my dinner at No. 9 Park on Monday night. Thankfully, my dinner at Radius the next night reaffirmed my faith in tasting menus.

The kitchen started us off with a tiny portion of lobster, served with celery leaves and white grapes--more for sweetness than anything else--and a while gazpacho.

Course 1: "Maine Crab Salad--cucumber, shaved radish, and cantaloupe soup." 2001 Domaine de la Quilla Muscadet.

This dish was served cold, and was very good. I especially like the way the cantaloupe tasted with the crab salad.

Course 2: "Spice-Crusted Skatewing--basquaise peppers, zucchini pearls, sweet 100 tomatoes and pistou." 2001 Fournier Sancerre.

Another "wow" dish. The flavors worked perfectly--the ones listed above, as well as the spinach, the celery root puree, and the grapefruit sauce--the wine worked perfectly, everything worked perfectly.

Course 3: "Pacific King Salmon--maitake mushrooms, sweet corn, escarole, and lemon thyme." 1998 Guy Bocard Meursaut "Les Narvaux."

Corn froth... Trendy, but I'll let the kitchen have its fun. As I will with the egg sauce and the delightful touch of oregano on the dish. Wine of the night, too.

Course 4: "Vermont Quail--hon shemeji mushrooms, artichokes, confit tomato, and tarragon." 1996 Guiseppe Traversa Barbaresco "Starderi."

Another dish I have absolutely nothing to complain about.

Course 5: "Slow-Roasted Prime Ribeye--robuchon potatoes, baby carrots, haricots vert, and red wine reduction." 2000 Chateau La Grange Clinet.

The weakest dish of the night, but mostly because it was a hunk of meat with sauce. The vegetables, served with a tarragon sauce, were delicious. Nice wine.

I don't think the cheese course was part of the standard menu, and that the only reason we got one was because I asked. It was a beet salad with freselle, honey, and nuts, served with a mild fresh French goat cheese. Really tasty.

We each got a different dessert, so we could trade.

Course 6a: Lichi-nut ice cream served on melon balls with ginger, lemongress, and lime juice. Really yummy. I especially appreciated the wide variety of tiny melon balls and the sauce that made the sweetness of the fruit pop. The ice cream was fabulous.

Course 6b: Goat cheese cheesecake with huckleberry ice cream and huckleberry sauce. Fabulous. Better than fabulous. The cheesecake...the berries...the combination. Wow.

Radius is a pretty restaurant, but more of a business-dinner restaurant than a date restaurant. Where are the romantic restaurants in Boston, anyway?

Bruce

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Bruce,

It looks like you had some time to eat well here in Boston. For romantic, a couple of nice places are L'Espalier and Sel de la Terre. Traditional French and Provencal-focus respectively. They're both chef-owned by the same chef. They both do wine dinners that are very good for the $. L'Espalier also does a cheese dinner that looks excellent.

I've had the tasting menu at both Radius and No. 9, both with the wine accompaniments. Radius impressed the hell out of me and No. 9 completely disappointed me. No. 9's portions were just ridiculously small and they varied greatly between the party of four that each had the tasting menu. One course was chestnut farfalle with some bland reduction sauce. Each plate had five(!) bowties all neatly lined up in a row with about 1/2 teaspoon. of brown, tasteless sauce.

I will say that the service at both is truly excellent.

I've since gone back to No. 9 and ate on the bar side and had a terrific meal with some excellent wines. I would recommend the restaurant highly to Boston visitors and residents, just avoid the tasting menu. Also, the bartenders are a great bunch and know their wines and how to pour a nice drink.

Was there a computer security event here in Boston? I can't imagine you came here just for the food!

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I've had two terrific meals at Radius - one dinner and one lunch. Easily my favorite restaurant in Boston. The room is modern and does have more of a business feel to it. Very solid new american fare - nothing really innovative, but everything well-executed and beautifully presented.

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I always have trouble deciding my favorite between Radius and Clio. Perhaps for a tasting menu, Clio would win out. Usually improvisational and 'in the moment', the extended tasting menus Ken Oringer has cooked for me have been among my most memorable. But I really like the space at Radius and Michael Schlow's food, too. I like Barbara Lynch, and her style, at No. 9, but I'm not sure I would put her in the same league as Ken and Michael.

Schneier, your desserts at Radius sound similar to those of the long-departed pastry chef, Paul Connors. From Boston locals, I'd be interested in hearing if desserts at Radius have shifted in the last year and a half. Also, what is currently happening on the sweet side at Clio? My last visit to No. 9 saw desserts that were a little too Claudia Fleming-esque; any changes there?

Michael Laiskonis

Pastry Chef

New York

www.michael-laiskonis.com

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  • 9 months later...

I ate at Radius last Thursday evening. The chef de cuisine, Brian Reimer, had left just a couple of nights before so the head chef, Michael Schlow, is going to be presiding in the kitchen for foreseeable future. I did get a chance to speak to the chef about the future. He's looking to go with 3 sous chefs instead of promoting or hiring a new chef de cuisine. There's also going to be a new menu soon.

Since Michael Schlow was in the kitchen, I decided to go with the 4 course tasting menu and added the foie course. My meal started with an amuse of cervice of white fish with jalapeno, cilantro, and lime. Very refreshing and a great start to the meal. The chef sent out the next complimentary item: a tartare of marinated fluke with cucumers, radish, yellow pepper jus and espelette pepper. While this item was delicious, it was too similar to the amuse and did not make as much of an impact as it should have.

I then had a grilled striped bass with braised artichokes, baby fennel and carrots, and nicoise olives. The bass was tender and well spiced and the vegetables perfectly cooked and crisp. The chef then sent me another free item: a miso soup with porcini mushrooms red jalapeno, scallions, and cilantro. The soup was excellent and the jalapeno was very strong. However, my fears of the jalapeno ruining my palate for the next items was unjustified.

The next item was probably the best...the potato gnocchi with chanterelles, summer truffles and parmeggiano reggiano. The gnocchi melts in your mouth and the paper-thin chanterelles were very good. The pan-seared Hudson Valley foie gras with riesling-braised peach, thai basil, and spiced cashew came out next. The foie was tasty and the peach complimented the flavor of the foie very nicely.

After all that, we got to the entree, which was port loin and pork confit with a garnish of diced tomatoes, baby turnips and cattors, local beans, smoked bacon and nepitella. This was probably the weakest item. The pork was extremely tender but I think it could have stood some more seasoning. The jus was excellent though. At this point, I was fairly stuffed and couldn't finish.

After a cleanser of celery sorbet (very interesting flavor), dessert came. It was guava begnettes covered with powdered sugar with a guava dipping sauce and a guava smoothie with rhubarb and tapioca pearls. A completely decadent ending to a great meal. The begnettes were so light that they dissolved as soon as they hit my mouth.

The experience at Radius was inspiring. The service was excellent. I sat at the bar and the bartender comped me both a glass of champagne and espresso. Chef Schlow was very nice and his buddy, Peter Wolf from J. Geils, sat down the bar from me. I'll be back.

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