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Metropolis Cafe (JP Review)


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We had nothing going on for Friday night and no plans for dinner. After deciding we didn't want to cook, Abby suggested trying a place she walked by every day to work, the Metropolis Cafe. We tried going here a couple of years ago for brunch, but every time we went, there was a 30 minute or more wait and we were never patient enough to try it.

I quickly opentabled the restaurant at 5:30, and there was an opening at 7:30. (There were openings all night long in fact, but that didn't deter us from making the reservation.) We walked over in the heavy rain, sharing one small umbrella, both our arms on either side got soaking wet. We arrived a few minutes early, but that wasn't a problem at all.

Metropolis Cafe is a small restaurant located on Tremont St, between Clarendon and Dartmouth. For some reason I always thought that the restaurant had a huge dining area that stretched well beyond the large center bar, but I guess not. As you walk in, you see the large center bar that can seat 10-12 people and running along the right side are booths and along the left side a few tables. That's it. The high ceilings really made the place seem that much bigger, and even though the center bar took up a lot of square footage, the servers and guest could walk easily around it and not bump into anybody.

When we arrived, all the booths were full, there were a couple of diners at the bar, and a couple that was having dinner in the corner. It seemed empty for a Friday, but it was early on in the night, and the weather might be affecting people's choices to go out. They only serve beer and wine here, but that was fine by us. We both asked for wine tips, and the waitress quickly answered our questions with no hesitation. (I asked her about the two Spanish reds on the menu, and she immediately suggested to get the Rioja.)

The menu is small, which I like. There were a couple of items on the appetizers list that sounded really interesting. We had a hard time deciding between the asparagus tare tare or the gnocchi with duck confit. (This normally would be a no brainer, since we are avid duck fans, but brussel sprouts were somehow incorporated on the dish and neither of us are that fond of brussel sprouts.) We decided on the gnocchi, damn if we didn't make the right choice!

The gnocchi was served in a soup-like fashion, with the potato filled goodness swimming in a brown broth. I'm assuming it's duck broth, or stock, but I didn't really know. The brussel sprouts and confit of duck were shaved over the top of it, as well as some thyme. I highly recommend this dish. We used up all the bread trying to soak up the broth, and had to restrain ourselves from licking the dish clean.

We had a little bit of a wait for our entrees, as the restaurant began to get full. We sat near the front window and could see a large group entering as well as a few couples. Guess we came at the right time and beat the rush.

When we ordered, I had a hard time deciding between the Tagliatelle Bolognase (made with veal and beef) and the Hanger Steak (with whipped truffle potatoes and endive salad). Again, the waitress came through quickly and with no hesitation and said get the steak, so I did. Abby got horseradish crusted salmon with a cucumber creme fraiche sauce...that sounded absolutely yummy.

My hanger steak was cooked perfectly, with a nice sear on the outside and perfectly pink in the middle. It tasted like most hanger steaks I've had recently at restaurants, which is not a bad thing. The steak was not overpowered by any special sauce or dressing, and the meat was allowed to speak for itself. The potatoes were very, very good and while the endive salad on time probably is meant to add some green to the dish, it didn't really do much for me. (Not that it was bad, in fact it was really good and offered a nice texture and some contrast when I paired it on the fork with a piece of steak and some potatoes, but it could have been left off and I would have been fine either way.)

Abby gave me a taste of her salmon, and WOW! As the Andelman brothers would say, "That is the dish worth driving to."

We decided against desert and just got another drink. Our bill wasn't that bad, considering we had 2 drinks each. Appetizers run about $7-9, and entrees were $18-$22, which I felt were about average for a place on Tremont St. At the end of the meal, I already knew I would be coming back to try to tagliatelle. I give Metropolis Cafe a 4 out of 5.

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