Sunday, April 3, 2011
The first thing I have to say about Boka was that their entrance is hard to find. Boka was the second restaurant that I went to for Restaurant Week, the event where diners can get a three course lunch or dinner for $22 or $33, respectively. It was named for the owners, Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz and is run by executive chef, Giuseppe Tentori. The night that I went, February 20, was very rainy, and I ended up walking by the entrance three times. I knew where the restaurant was, I just couldn't figure out how to get in. At one point, I walked to the alley behind it because there is another restaurant that I like that has an alley entrance (Cafe Absinthe). There was an alley entrance but it was for employees and deliveries so it probably wouldn't have been a good idea to come in there. I finally returned to the front where I found a courtyard where the entrance was. After that things went much more smoothly. The dining are was divided into two rooms. One had the bar and the other had a wall hanging. I was sat in the room with the wall hanging which I found out after asking was called the "sail room". There was a line of tables under the "sail", a line of tables in the center of the room where I was sat, and a few tables along the other wall. It was a good place to watch people. I am going to talk about the wall hanging for a moment. After I was told, I could see the resemblance to a multisail ship but the first thing that it reminded me of with the way it was layered and the form was an old-style corset. While I can see how someone could see a sail, I still see a corset. Now back to dinner. When I was seated, I was given three books and a paper menu with the Restaurant Week Menu on it. The books were the regular menu, the wine list, and the reserve wine list. With all of this, I was actually missing something, the cocktail list. I flagged a waiter down (there were many and while they all seemed to have a few tables, they would all work the room) who brought me the cocktail menu. I ended up giving my drink order to someone other than the person to whom I gave my dinner order. This caused a slight hiccup later. For my drink, I ended up getting what was called a "Dealer's Choice" with that, you told the bartender what base you wanted (gin, vodka, tequila, rum, rye) and what flavor profile (sweet, spicy, bitter, sour, neutral) and he did the rest. I ordered vodka and sour and was returned with a drink in a martini glass that was pomegranate red. I asked what was in it and was told Tito's Handmade Vodka, Averna Bitters, and Lemon. I think there was some salt in there as well but I am not certain of that. It was a very good drink. For my dinner I ordered a Maine Diver Scallop with black forbidden rice, pickled onions, and a broccoli puree for my appetizer, pork belly with kimchi and deep fried oysters for my entree, and ginger kulfi for my dessert. All of the courses looked as well as tasted very good. For the appetizer I thought the idea of the broccoli puree was a little odd but it did make it easier to combine the flavors together. The pork belly in the entree was very tender and it was nice to see the layers of meat and fat. The kimchi was cut into a slaw like texture and stacked like a short pedestal on which the deep fried oysters were placed. There were three of them. While I looked up kulfi before I went out, I still was kind of unsure what I would be getting. Kulfi is an Indian dessert similar to ice cream although it doesn't have milk in it. The texture is a little different, but it was still good. With the kulfi I got a flourless Agentinian chocolate cake and a tangerine gelee which was shaped like a tangerine slice and placed on the cake. It was a truly a fusion dessert and it was very good. I really enjoyed my meal here and the service was very good. The only hiccup came at the end when they were bringing me my bill. The first bill that they brought me only contained the drink. When I informed someone, it was quickly corrected. The food and service here were very good but it is the type of place that I would only go for a very special occasion. Hopefully, I can find a special occasion to have that excuse.