A Guide to Summer’s Restaurant Week

By Bryanna Cappadona
 
Summer Restaurant Week in Boston is creeping up on us (August 19th-24th and August 26th-31st) and it’s finally the time of the year when restaurant-goers are encouraged to try out some of Boston’s best and often priciest restaurants at a discounted price.  Every participating restaurant creates an original menu with fixed prices: 2-course lunches priced at $15.12, 3-course lunches at $20.12 and 3-course dinners at $33.12.  As an experienced Restaurant Week go-er from the winter season, these were the spots that I found where you could get the best meals for your money, as well as some locations that may not be worth it this time around.
 
Market by Jean Georges
@ the W hotel
100 Stuart Street, Boston, MA 02116
617-310-6790
Market’s Parmesan Crusted Chicken. Photo by Bryanna Cappadona.
           Market is the place for those who enjoy contemporary dining and extreme creativity.  The entire restaurant was dimly lit with accented purple and blue lighting around the bar area and the sides of the windows.  The décor was elegant and gives a nice flair to classic restaurant pieces;  The tables were glass with an eccentric green plant as the centerpieces, and on the outskirts of the restaurant were segregated lounge areas that were curtained for reserved parties. The bar had endless bottles of liquor lined against its back wall, glowing in front of blue and purple shadow lights.  Even the bartender himself had an edgy look with his hair dyed to look like cheetah fur.
             Market’s food was just as daring as its décor; guests were able to try new flavor combinations and explore spices from Asian and Middle East regions mixed in with traditional American dishes.  For starters, Market offered Arugula and Boston Lettuce Salad, Spring Pea Soup, and Beet Carpaccio.  The Spring Pea Soup was the popular choice amongst the table.  The waiter arrived with a small amount of green liquid, then poured a creamy Parmesan sauce into the dish and topped it off with the tiniest of sourdough croutons.  For the main course, Market offered Parmesan Crusted Organic Chicken, Salmon with Lemon Crumbs, and Soy Glazed Short Ribs.  The Parmesan Crusted Organic Chicken was served with steamed white asparagus and lemon-basil butter.  The portions at Market were small compared to those of an Italian restaurant or even an American pub, but the advantage is being able to eat more without feeling full – leaving room for dessert.  Their dessert menu was more than satisfactory, offering Salted Caramel Ice Cream Sundae, Mango Upside Down Cake, and Homemade Cheesecake.  Their Salted Caramel Ice Cream Sundae was homemade and the perfect balance between sweet and salty, topped off with chocolate sauce, peanuts and caramel popcorn.  My dining partner went with the Homemade Cheesecake, creamy and with a very thin and subtle layer of sour cream on top.
            Market offered a wide variety on their Restaurant Week menu, the savings was decent and the environment was certainly entertaining.  This is one restaurant worth going to.  Market is open for dinner Sunday through Thursday 5:00PM-10:00PM, and Friday through Saturday 5:00PM-11:00PM.  Reservations are suggested and can be made via telephone or online at marketbyjgboston.com.
 
My Courses
Actual Price
Fixed Restaurant Week Price
Total Savings
Spring Pea Soup
$11.00
   
Roasted Organic Chicken
$27.00
   
Salted Caramel Ice Cream Sundae
$10.00
   
Total
$47.00
$33.12
$14.88
 
 
 
Anthem
101 S. Market Street, Boston MA 02103
617-720-5570
Anthem’s fried Twinkie. Photo by Bryanna Cappadona.
            Business was slow at Anthem’s Bar and Kitchen at about 6:00PM, and but immediately picked up following the start of the Bruins’ game at 7:00PM.  People seemed to enjoy the intimate and low-key environment, nevertheless, as Anthem is usually known for being upbeat and busy with such a large bar and plenty of televisions.  Located in Faneuil Hall, people dining sat along the frame of its signature floor-to-ceiling windows and the bar sat dimly lit right in the center of the dining area and lounge.
            Anthem offered Suban Sliders, Soft Shell Tacos and Sweet Potato Soup as appetizers.  The Sweet Potato and Carrot Soup was the starter of my 3-course meal, made with fried sweet potato sage dumplings, mixed with coconut milk for a creamy texture and a dash of red thai spicy curry.  On the menu for the main course, Anthem had Braised Pork Ribs, Meatloaf Stack, and Four Cheese Mac & Cheese.  The pork ribs had a tangy taste, made with spicy barbeque sauce and served with buttery corn on the cob, but the meat was slightly overcooked and dry.  My dining partner’s macaroni and cheese was a generous serving of pasta doused in a creamy, but overall flavorless four-cheese sauce.  The dessert options were the Fried Twinkie, a Desert Pizza and an Ice Cream Sundae.  The Fried Twinkie seemed appealing, served with thick whipped cream and raspberries, drizzled lightly with raspberry sauce.  My dining partner chose the Desert Pizza, consisting of a layer of hazelnut cocoa spread, caramelized bananas and toasted marshmallows, all doused over a soft pizza dough crust.
            Overall, the service was friendly, but the meals were mediocre and the savings between two people were far from generous – this is a location you can skip during Restaurant Week.  Anthem is open 11:30am-2:00am Monday through Sunday, and reservations are welcome.  Visit anthem-boston.com for the full menu.
My Courses
Actual Price
Fixed Restaurant Week Price
Total Savings
Sweet potato & carrot soup
$8.00
   
Braised pork ribs
$21.00
   
Fried Twinkie
$7.00
   
Total
$36.00
$33.12
$2.88
 
Clink.
The Liberty Tree Hotel
215 Charles Street, Boston MA 02114
617-224-4000
 
Clink is a modern American Restaurant located in Beacon Hill’s Liberty Tree Hotel – the old Charles Street jail.  As a fairly popular restaurant in the heart of Boston’s finest neighborhood, Clink had a lengthy seating wait even with a reservation.   Clink was fascinating, however, because the remains of original jail cells were turned into cozy nooks for intimate dining.   Warm gold leather seats, butcher-block tables and granite accents added contemporary style to the whole environment.  The kitchen was open for the people to watch as their dishes were prepared in front of them.
            For starters, Clink offered Gem Lettuce Salad with Herb Dressing, Turnip and Apple Soup, and Mozarella Burrata.  The sweet macomber turnip and apple soup had a subtly sweet taste, made with brown butter, saba and celery root.  For meals, the options were Black Pasta with Local Shellfish, Farro Pasta with Mushroom, and Pappardelle with Lamb Rangu.  The Farro Pasta with mushroom and Salmoriglio was salty, made with a light Italian oil-based sauce with garlic, oregano and parsley.  Clink had a variety of options for desserts: Apple and Rhubarb Cobbler, Chocolate Fondue, and Pineapple Tarte Tatin.  The Pineapple Tarte Tatin was served with Caramelized Bacon Ice Cream.  Bacon and ice cream is an interesting pairing, but was the perfect balance between sweet churned ice cream and salty toppings.  My dining partner ordered the cobbler, served hot from the oven with sweet caramelized apples and crumbling breaded pieces.
            As impressive as Clink’s meals were, the wait with a reservation was dissatisfying and the Restaurant Week savings was not as much as expected.  Pass on Clink during Restaurant Week, and save it for an extra special night out.  Clink is open Monday through Sunday, 6:30-11:00AM for breakfast, 11:30AM-3PM for lunch, and 5:00PM-11:00PM for dinner.  Clink welcomes reservations.

My Courses
Actual Price
Fixed Restaurant Week Price
Total Savings
macomber turnip and apple soup
$10.00
   
Farro Pasta with mushroom and Salmoriglio
$19.00
   
Pineapple Tarte Tatin
$10.00
   
 Total
$39.00
$33.12
$5.88
Marco Cucina Romana
253 Hanover Street, Boston, MA 02113
North End
617-742-1276
 
            Marco’s is located in Boston’s historic North End, and features some of the best Italian cuisine while paying homage to other regional dishes.  The dining room décor was exquisite yet classic as it featured wooden tabletops, exposed brick walls and worn hardwood floors.  It had a rustic charm with mahogany wooden beams circling along the ceiling and wall.  The space was fairly small, but meant to be intimate as you sit by a dimly lit fire in the fireplace.  A small wooden counter was next to the kitchen, set up like a casual kitchen counter, where others enjoyed their meals and sipped on large glasses of red wine.
            Perhaps the best aspect of this restaurant was the large portions of food.  Marco’s gives a traditional 4-course Italian meal: Antipasti (Appetizer), Insalate or Zuppe (Salad or Soup), Piatti Principali (Main Course), and Dolci (Dessert).   In total, you’re actually getting an additional course for no extra cost.  Marco’s also offers $7 side dishes if interested.  For Appetizers, Marco’s options were Gamberto Bruschetta, Antipasto, Calamari and Frittelle di ricotta.  The Gambero Bruschetta was lightly toasted bite-sized bread pieces with shrimp, grilled foccacia, garlic, white wine, butter, tomatoes and capers.  The classic Ceasar salad was decent as well, with homemade dressing and big, chunky croutons.  Marco’s also offered Beet Salad and Caprese Salad.  Marco’s had a large list of options for main courses:  Rigatoni alle polpette di maiale, Melanzane Lasagna, Salsiccia (homemade sausages), and Sogliola origanato.  The Rigatoni alle polpette di maiale consisted of homemade pasta created thick and cooked al dente, served with small Berkshire pork meatballs and embellished with red tomato sauce.  Marco’s offered the classic dolci d’Italiani: Tiramisu, Chocolate torta (chocolate cake), Gelato (Italian ice cream), and Sorbetto (sorbet).  The tiramisu had tender lady finger biscuits soaked in espresso, leaving a moist texture with light vanilla cream spread sprinkled with cinnamon on top.
            Marco’s is an authentic Italian restaurant where you will really get the most food for your money along with a generous savings.  You absolutely do not want to miss out Marco’s during Restaurant Week.  Marco’s requires a reservation during Restaurant Week.  It is open Tuesday through Thursday 5:00PM-10:00PM, Friday through Saturday 5:00PM-11:00PM, and Sundays 4:00PM-9:30PM.
My Courses
Actual Price
Fixed Restaurant Week Price
Total Savings
Gambero Bruschetta
$15
   
Caesar Salad
$11
   
Rigatoni alle polpette di maiale
$25
   
Tiramisu
$8
   
Total
$59
$33.12
$25.88
 
 To find out more information about pricing, participating restaurants, upcoming events and newsletter registration, visit restaurantweekboston.com or follow Restaurant Week on twitter @RestoWeekBoston.
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