Grill 23
Oct 02, 2006

Last night, Jessi and I went to Grill 23 for dinner. For those that don't know, Grill 23 is a steak house in Back Bay that's been around for over 20 years, since 1983. The same company, American Food Management, also runs two other premier Boston eateries: Excelsior and Harvest, neither of which, sadly, have I tried yet. I've only been there twice, but Grill 23 is, by far, my favorite restaurant in the Continental US (there's an amazing Japanese/Korean place in Honolulu that might challenge it, sadly I can never remember the name). Jessi had the same thing we both had last time we went, the 14 oz. dry-aged New York steak. It was fantastic, although not exactly cooked to my liking. I'll let her talk about her steak if she wants. I, on the other hand, tried something different this time and ordered 'The Berkeley' off the weekly menu. It consisted of a 16 oz. Dry-Aged Ribeye steak, Château Potatoes, and Utica Greens with Cheese & Bacon. One of my favorite things about this restaurant is that, when you order your steak rare, your waiter asks you if you'd like it 'red and cool'. You're damned right I would, and that's exactly how it came, a perfect rare the color of a nice red wine in the middle. I don't know what they do to their steaks, perhaps they marinate them in butter, but I've never had anything as good: tender, juicy, and amazingly flavorful. They beat the pants of my favorite West Coast restaurant, Tulio, in Seattle—where they also make a fantastic Dry-Aged Ribeye, and a grilled veal chop that is to die for—which is really saying something. Executive chef Jay Murray really knows what he's doing. Dessert was, for a second time, the most amazing Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée. I'm not a huge fan of sweet foods and rarely eat dessert, but Grill 23's crème brûlée is just amazing. Incredibly smooth and not over-sweetened, with a fantastic creamy flavor, you'll find little bits of ground vanilla bean on the bottom of your dish to let you know that it's made entirely from scratch. My hat, metaphorical though it may be, is off to pastry chef Molly Hanson. They have a fantastic wine list as well, with over 1000 selections to choose from. I won't say too much about the wine, that's Jessi's area, but I've been tremendously pleased with the bottles we've gotten both times. Beyond the food and wine, the service pushes Grill 23 way over the top. With it's classy dark wood and brass decor, the amazingly friendly, professional, and courteous staff simply complete a perfect package. Our waiter, Bill, has actually served us twice now, and I think next time we go, and there will be a next time, we may have to specifically request him. The service really makes you feel like you're getting your money's worth, and make no mistake you'll be spending a fair amount when you go here. I've had no problem, both times Bill has served us, tipping far more than the full price of dinner at most restaurants we go to. I really don't know what I can say about the exemplary service at Grill 23 to really convey how amazing it is. I can say, however, that if you are away from the table for a minute or two, don't be surprised to find, when you come back, that your napkin has been folded and draped over the arm of your chair for you. Now that's service (courtesy, last night, of Hercules). [Edit: guess I'm not the only blogger with a restaurant review from this weekend, Jen Stewart (another transplant to Boston from California) has something to say about Bouchée]
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