I had lunch at Blue Inc. on Tuesday. I got distracted by the bathroom ecclectica, so I failed on that day to post about what actually matters when you go to a restaurant –the conviviality of the bar staff. No. Well, yes. Okay, that too. But actually, the food and the atmosphere and the service.
My ultimate verdict is that Blue Inc. is good. It’s good enough that I will go back there again. But I’m going to blather on for a while before I return to that conclusion.
Blue Inc. was gearing up for opening last summer as I was having a daily fight with myself about taking a restaurant job, and combing over Boston Chefs and Craigslist postings daily. Blue Inc. posted a lot. Jason Santos seems to have a big personality, a big idea of who he is, and was trading (appropriately) on his big time tv exposure. There are images on the website of both Santos and Ramsay and they are shot such that their heads appear (physiologically) large. At one point, there was a picture on the site of tables near (what I mistook for) a window. I got the impression that the restaurant was huge.
Honestly, the swagger and the (illusional) size of the restaurant combined with his (I thought) clever-for-it’s-own-sake menu totally turned me off. I pre-judged the whole affair as a well-funded, probably-mediocre-but-famous impresario chef who would draw celebrity-chef hanger-ons and be a bloated, circus-like food-sore in the Boston restaurant scene. But then some folks I trusted recommended it, sang its praises in fact, particularly for lunch. So I had a friend date and we went, and well what’s better than being (very) pleasantly surprised?
Lunch is at a FANTASTIC price point. And that clever-for-it’s-own-sake menu is actually a lot of fun. And the ‘bloated’ restaurant I was imagining is probably 625 square feet or less. I didn’t count covers, but it’s small.
We shared the Kobe meatball sliders, the gouda truffle tater tots, and a butterscotch truffle milkshake (all growed up w/frangelico and Captain Morgan). The sliders were very good, though for my palate they could have used some zing – a good dose of black pepper, or even a touch of cayenne.
The gouda truffle tater tots were well fabricated. The shredded potatoes were cooked very well. The tots were crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. They were not gouda-y enough (in either texture or flavor) and the truffle kind of buried everything but I think the tots themselves are a good idea.
The second hit of truffle was not a strategic move. The butterscotch truffle milkshake is very good. I would have another one. I would use it as a meal replacement. Back to back with the gouda-truffle tater tots it was a truffle too far.
My two criticisms are I think the flavors are too mild. They are present but not deep or bright or big. However, this would be a fun place for your meek eaters. I also think the truffles are overwhelming, but I am at least partly to blame for that conclusion.
My biggest commendation is our waiter. Tuesday. Lunch. Small tickets. Nobody’s drinking. Businessfolks, maybe some tourists, not always your best tippers. The house isn’t crowded so the floor doesn’t generate its own buzz. It would be really easy to phone it in. But our waiter was engaging and joked with us. He was full of smiles and charm and he really added to the fun.
So, Blue Inc. is good. Go for the fun of it. Don’t over -truffle yourself, but do have a milkshake. You deserve it.