I’ve been a fan of the Beacon Hill Bistro for a long time. They have always consistently delivered on food and service over the near 10 years that I’ve been going there. I also like their compact and well-chosen wine list. There are always appealing and affordable options to be had.
Dan and I ended up having dinner there after my lovely city hike and tour of the gardens on Saturday. I had encamped myself there at the bar drinking the first of the season’s gin and tonics. When he called after his chamber music coaching was over, I invited him down to join me for a bite to eat.
The menu is full of wonderful options. Our server emphasized that their pastas were made in house, and also pointed out the specials for the night, of which Dan ordered two. Dan joined me in a g&t while I finished my second, and I opted for a nice bottle of Barbera produced by Pio Cesare. The spicy dried cherry flavors of the wine went well with our food, and I was glad to see such a revered producer represented on their list.
My first course was a tagliatelle with clams and bacon. It was a generous portion, the pasta was cooked just right and did indeed taste fresh. I really enjoyed the smoky flavor of the bacon against the briny clams – a classic combination, but nonetheless, delicious.
Dan ordered the pork belly from the specials menu. It had lovely flavor and a firm texture. We both expected that it would fall apart a bit more, but enjoyed the meatiness of the dish. However, as I write these lines, I’m also remembering that the pork was from a Tamworth pig, so the texture makes sense, although this did not occur to us at the time. It was paired with what I believe was rhubarb. It gave a nice tart accent that refreshed the palate while eating an otherwise very rich first course. It was also nice to have a little crunch incorporated into the dish with the crispy seared bits on the pork belly and the crunch of the rhubarb.
I had the tea cured duck breast with an Asian sauce for my main course. It finished with quite a bit of luxurious tamari soy sauce and served with asparagus and a creamy buttery sorrell risotto. I enjoyed the unctuous salty character of the tamari against all of the other intensely rich items on the plate. The duck was nicely cooked and had delicious crispy seared skin.
Dan had the bucatini special, which was really more of a spaghetti. Neither of us could see the whole on the inside of the pasta. The pasta, whatever it was, was again delicious, but isn’t bucatini supposed to be hollow? Regardless, it had just the right texture and again tasted fresh. I liked the simplicity of the dish – just bacon, some herbs, and grated cheese over the top – a lovely lighter style of carbonara.
Often, restaurants that put so much energy into their savory food don’t deliver on the dessert end of things, but the BHB fortunately follows through when it comes to sweets as well. Both of our desserts were wonderful. I had a light and airy Meyer lemon cheesecake and Dan had a hazelnut “gateaux.”
Our only complaint was that the gateaux was really more of an ice cream cake and tasted more like coffee than hazelnut, although the hazelnut flavor was definitely there. Although the dessert delivered on every count: presentation, flavor, and originality, Dan was a little disappointed since he was expecting cake without so much emphasis on ice cream, and we felt the description was the tiniest bit misleading. In any case, we devoured both desserts and felt quite satisfied after the meal.
Service throughout the meal was gracious and accommodating from the bar to the maitre-d’ to the dining room. Plates were cleared efficiently and the food was served in a timely manner and succinctly and elegantly described.
Although we don’t frequent the BHB more than once a year or so, it does remain one of our favorite spots in Boston. Likely, if we lived in Beacon Hill, we would be there a great deal more often. You’re assured a pleasant dining experience when you go there, and please tell them that CQ sent you.