I think I am spoiled by my office's non-Financial District location. When I go out for a walk during lunch, I don't have to walk behind excruciatingly slow tourists on the Freedom Trail or face the temptation of discount shopping. And of course, with my office being a stone's throw from the Back Bay and the South End, I have no shortage of restaurants to choose from for after-work noshing or beverages.
Up until sort of recently, there were very few options in the Financial District for just that-- Faneuil Hall tourist traps and chain sandwich shops weren't exactly anything you'd look forward to at the end of a long work day. However, with the opening of Kingston Station and the Good Life on Kingston Street, things are looking up.
I met Skylar for some dinner at Kingston Station on a Thursday night around 7:30. When I walked in I was almost knocked over by how loud it was inside. I have had a better time hearing what the bartender in Hennessey's is saying with a live band playing than I did with this poor hostess. I am not an old person, but seriously, it was deafening!
Luckily, once we left the lounge area, which had a large bar and many tables for groups to congregate at, the restaurant part was quieter. We were seated at a small two top. The decor was modeled after a sort of glammed up train station (hence the name) with tiled walls and wooden detailing. Our waitress was young and cute and recited the specials with such zeal that I have a sneaking suspicion she was new-- or maybe KS's wait staff is that well-trained? Sky started with a grapefruit martini ($10) and I had a glass of wine.
We were both quite ravenous so we ordered a lot of food, all to share, with the exception of one onion soup gratinee ($8)-- that was all Skylar's. First came the spicy tuna tartare ($13) flavored with sriracha and cilantro and accompanied by homemade potato chips that tasted like gourmet Cape Cod potato chips. This dish was excellent; the spices added heat and complexity without overwhelming the fresh tuna flavor, and the salty potato chip gave an excellent crunch with the soft and pillowy tartare. Even more incredible was the amount they gave you-- it was served in a soup cup, equivalent in size to a large scoop of ice cream!
Next came the mixed greens salad ($9), an extremely boring name for a vibrant and delicious dish. Tossed in a toasted hazelnut and lemon vinagrette with sliced pear and goat cheese, it was large enough that this could easily be an entree. The dressing was so yummy I was tempted to ask to take some home; lemony and fresh with a bite from the hazelnut, it is a perfect transitional dressing from winter to spring.
Lastly came what arguably I was most excited for-- the truffle frites with gruyere ($10). Listed as an appetizer as opposed to a side, this monstrous basket of fries was glistening in oil and had globs of gruyere on top. Frites is definitely the wrong word to describe these large and fat slices of potato. They were good, but I wish they had been a little bit more subtle and gourmet-- they reminded me of something you might get at an Uno's or Friday's.
Kingston Station at first glance might not seem like a bargain, but once you see the portions you'll see that it really is. I walked out stuffed to the brim, and as I saw suits sitting at the bar, laughing over martinis and baskets of truffle frites, I had a thought that truly shocked me: I wish I worked near to here!