Thursday, August 23, 2012

Climbing All the Way Upstairs (on the Square)

The second stop on my Restaurant Week journey was Upstairs on the Square (, located right in Harvard Square.  Susan Regis, who has been named the "Best Chef in Boston" twice by the Improper Bostonian and recognized as "America's Best Chef - Northeast" by the James Beard Foundation in 1998, serves as the Executive Chef.  

The restaurant is divided into two separate dining rooms:  the Soirée Room and the Monday Club Bar, with the former being the slightly fancier of the two.  Both have a very whimsical feel as if after climbing that mountain of stairs, you've somehow arrived in Wonderland.  

Both dining rooms offer their own Restaurant Week Menu, although the Soirée Room costs a little more at $43.12 for the three courses.  We decided to go with this option.  

We were already starving by the time our reservation arrived, so were happy when they brought the bread around.  They also kick started our palates with a beautiful Amuse Bouche (a tiny bite of food meant to literally "amuse the mouth") of thinly sliced zucchini topped with smoked salmon and jalapeños.  It was the perfect little bite to get me excited for the meal.  

For my first course, I opted for the Corn Velouté, which is a kind of sauce/soup.  Right in the middle was an irresistible scallop, perfectly seared and seasoned.  I started out with the velouté, which was creamy and sweet and smooth.  Then I took a bite of the scallop with the soup.  Mouth fireworks!  At the end, my sister and I both lamented that it wasn't socially acceptable to lick the bowls clean.  

A gorgeous bowl of Corn Velouté surrounding a Diver Scallop

Unfortunately, the only disappointment of the night happened in between the first and second courses, at which point we had to wait for what seemed like an eternity to get our entrees.  Luckily, I had some excellent company, so the only part of me that was truly upset was my stomach.  

When my Canard au Cerises (duck) finally reached me it was a little bit on the chilly side, but it was pretty tasty looking, so I didn't let it damper the experience too much.  It was served two ways: a seared breast and confit leg, both over a cherry glaze and some greens.  

Canard au Cerises

The breast was tender, but the skin could definitely have had a little bit more crunch.  The leg, on the other hand, was super crispy.  The cherry sweetened thing up nicely.

Up to this point, my meals had achieved the perfect combination of salty and sweet, but now it was time to give in wholeheartedly to the sugary side of things.  And what better way to finish a (relatively) classic French dinner than some Chocolate Mousse?

The mousse was so creamy and rich it came close to being pudding, but its airy weightlessness kept it firmly in mousse territory.  A sweet cherry sauce lined the glass in which the mousse was served, adding depth to its already wonderful chocolately goodness.  For the second time that night, we restrained ourselves from lapping the remainders up with our tongues.  I did my best with a spoon:

I left feeling perfectly contented, and of course, full.  I also had a pressing urge to use the restroom, as the servers never left my water glass less than half full.  If only my duck had come out hot, this dinner would have come close to my idea of perfect.  I'm sure I'll be giving them another chance to get it right soon enough though.  

Are you enjoying any restaurants this week?  Let me know where you're eating and what you think, and maybe I'll stop in too!  If you have any suggestions, questions, or comments, feel free to email me at!

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