Since it opened its doors in 1990, The Rattlesnake Bar and Grill has been a hot spot. People have gathered for after dinner drinks and a solid late-night vibe. It wasn't until 2009 however, that people began to see it as a hub for its culinary exploration as well. What constituted the change? Chef Brian Poe is your answer. Arriving from his Chef and Director of Food and Beverage position at Seasons Restaurant (one of Lydia Shire and Jasper White's most memorable ventures) and a few globe trotting stints, Chef Poe decided it was time to make a change that would make our tummies happy at one of Boston's most loved establishments.
For about a year now, I have been hearing whisperings of the neat things coming out of Chef Poe's kitchen and after the Buritto Bowl II, I decided it was time for me to experience them! And so, this past week, I took a couple of friends and together, we were walked through some of Chef Poe's favorite menu items, by Chef Poe himself!
What intrigued me most about Brian's culinary style, is the marriage between South American and North American influences. It was pretty apparent in all of his dishes. The first dish, pictured above, was a prosciutto-wrapped tuna with queso fresca. It came delightfully crispy, a perfect combination of salty meat with the freshness of the tuna. A creamy corn sauce served as a cool condiment and the queso fresca made for an interesting contrast in texture. I really enjoyed it!
After an interlude of Grilled Cornbread with a spicy queso fresco accoutrement, we were served a sampling of their grilled avocado salad topped with lobster-accented with lavender. Although I love both avocado and lobster, I found the lavender to be a bit overpowering - with such a great, natural taste, I find lobster is best when served on its own...or with warm butter as a dipping option:)
Going on to entrees, the Swordfish tips (not featured on the regular men) were served with mashed potatoes infused with olive tapenade and topped with spinach. This meal was very well rounded and will actually be featured on Chef Poe's upcoming and much anticipated new restaurant The TipTap Room..shhhh:)
Our final savory piece was ended up blowing me away. It was a lamb Osso Bucco served with mashed potatoes, a delicious tomato-influenced ragout complete with brussel sprouts and bacon and crispy baked kale crisps. The meat was tender and easily fell off the bone (just the way I like it!) and the bright flavors of the ragout held up very well to the flavor of the lamb. And of course, as with any dish, once you add bacon...I am over the moon!
For dessert, and yes, we had room for dessert! (I believe it is a proven fact that we have a separate stomach for sweet endings.) A pecan tart, in a beautiful crust topped with cinnamon ice cream and surrounded by a sweet caramel sauce may have seemed too daunting after such a fantastic array of dishes..however, I somehow managed (and without any complaints) to polish off the entire thing. The incorporation of black salt was genius as it made for a perfect contrast to all the sweetness.
Chef Poe is certainly shaking things up in his kitchen. I am so glad I finally got to experience some of his exotic creations first hand! Now, when I think of The Rattlesnake, I will not just think of grabbing a drink with friends, I will think of delicious, innovative food, from starters straight through to dessert. Indeed, I would make a trip for pretty much any one of the dishes we were presented with that evening.
I cannot wait to see what Chef Poe has in store for us in his upcoming venture....the sky is the limit for this man and I intend on exploring it!