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Sunday, May 29, 2005

Restaurant review: Great Bay

I'm a foodie. I love cooking and eating (well, mostly eating). If I see something on the menu that I've never tried or better yet never even heard of, that's what I'm most likely to choose. My dream is to one day become financially independent enough to stop working for a while and study at one of the culinary institutes like the Cordon Bleu or the CIA. So I figured one good use of this blog would be the occasional food/restaurant review.

In our younger days, my wife and I would eat at restaurants quite a bit. This was in the early 80s when "nouvelle American" was all the rage. Since our son was born, we've had to curtail those activities a bit but when the opportunity arises (like tonight, when my son had a sleepover at a friend's house), we logged on to Open Table to see what was available. We decided on Great Bay in Kenmore Square in Boston.

Great Bay is in the relatively new Hotel Commonwealth. It's a beautiful restaurant in a wide-open space big enough to accommodate enough tables for a hotel restaurant while still ensuring that the tables are spaced far enough apart for an intimate dining experience. We were there on a Sunday night and so it was fairly quiet. I'm not sure what the noise level would be on a busy Saturday evening.

We were immediately brought to our table, which turned out not to be to our liking since it was somewhat close to a service station. The hostess very pleasantly agreed to seat us at another table. Big points for that one. I had my usual Chopin martini, which was perfectly made. For appetizers, my wife had a fresh corn soup and I had a red curry and lobster soup. Both of these were out of this world. The corn soup was sweet and smooth as silk. The curry lobster soup was rich and had just the right amount of kick for me. Some folks might find it a bit on the spicy side. My wife then ordered the golden trout and I had the sea scallops. Both dishes were perfectly done. These might have been the best scallops I've ever had. Perfectly seared on the outside and creamy on the inside. I was in heaven.

One thing on the menu that initially confused us was a reference to a "full island menu" that was available on request. At first we just thought that "island" referred to something from the Caribbean or Hawaii. Turns out that "island" refers to their raw/ceviche bar that is attached to the bar like a kitchen island.

The waitstaff was very attentive and professional and the meal was perfectly paced. This is not an inexpensive restaurant. I'd say that an average dinner for two (excluding drinks, wine, and tip) would come to about $90. Add back in drinks, wine and tip and you're approaching the $200 range. In general, hotel restaurants tend to be a bit more expensive but I'd have to say that this restaurant was well worth it.

Highly recommended.

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