Redemption In Boston

After my last food review of chicken tenders, I decided I needed to have a meal that I had never had before. When I went to Boston one recent weekend with my dad, I found myself presented with the perfect opportunity. We ate at Ostra, a restaurant that bills itself as “a contemporary Mediterranean seafood restaurant.” I had never eaten at a restaurant with such a billing, so I met the opportunity to eat there with both trepidation and excitement.

When we arrived at the busy restaurant, we were seated at the bar in high, comfortable chairs. The bartender brought over a full menu, and I cracked it open, half-hoping for chicken tenders and fries. However, what I found was a variety of seafood dishes along with a few steak options. One of the specials that evening was fettucine: handmade pasta with a butter sauce, topped by generous slices of truffle and a hint of parmesan. I quickly decided on this option, along with a calamari starter. My dad ordered oysters to complement his octopus and paella. He thoroughly enjoyed his octopus, saying “The octopus served with garlic and capers was slightly charred and grilled perfectly–neither too raw or overcooked and rubbery, but firm and delicious.”

The raw oysters were the first to arrive, along with “House Made Horseradish Cocktail, Lemon, Sparkling Mignonette, Tabasco.” I had never tried oysters before, but after some urging from my dad, I caved and had one. He showed me how to make sure the oyster was separated from its shell. I then placed a dollop of horseradish sauce on the oyster, tipped my head back and slid the oyster into my mouth. After two or three attempts at swallowing the oyster and the briny water that came with it, the oyster finally slid down my gullet. I ended up having a second oyster, again adding a dollop of horseradish sauce. The oyster did not have much taste, so all I tasted was the horseradish sauce, which I found to have a slightly spicy taste and the briny water, which tasted like the ocean.

Oysters

Oysters.

My next dish was a generous basket of calamari, which I’ve only ever tried once before. I enjoyed the calamari; it was soft, and the breading melted away in your mouth, leaving you desiring the next bite. The calamari went perfectly with the various dips provided. I particularly enjoyed the Spicy Bouillabaisse Brodo, which offered even more flavor to this already delicious dish.

Calamari with Spicy Bouillabaisse Brodo and Garlic Aioli

Calamari with Spicy Bouillabaisse Brodo and Garlic Aioli.

While I was unable to finish the whole basket due to the incredible volume of calamari, it was a perfect complement to the oysters. However, despite the incredible first half of my meal, the second half was what convinced me that Ostra was worth the acclaim it has received. My fettucine was some of the best pasta I have ever had.

Fettucine

Fettucine.

As soon as the piping hot dish was placed in front of me, I went to work, moving the noodles and truffle around in hopes of finding a perfect bite of truffle and pasta. I found myself having to slow down and savor each bite. The truffle dominated the dish, which offered a pleasant and enjoyable surprise.

After finishing my pasta, and a quick scan of the dessert menu, I quickly settled on the warm chocolate torte to finish the meal. After about 15 minutes of anticipation, my dish arrived. The small, warm torte was complimented by a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

My chocolate torte

My chocolate torte.

I quickly cut into my torte, and a stream of chocolate began to flow from my incision. I tried to scoop up as much of this chocolate as I could before putting my spoon full of chocolate in my mouth. My next bite was a mixture of vanilla ice cream and torte, a combination I found delectable.  

My visit to Ostra was one of the best dining experiences I have ever had. As for the service, the bartender who took care of our party was incredibly attentive, my water glass was always filled, and whenever I came back from the bathroom my napkin was neatly folded at my place. The restaurant, which is located in the heart of Boston, had a great atmosphere with music and lively conversation permeating throughout the room. It is clearly a favorite of local residents, as the area behind the bar was packed with people by the time we left. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Ostra and recommend it to anyone visiting the Boston area.

All photos by Will Woods.

About the author

Will Woods is a senior at Collegiate.