BOSTON – The city of Boston has never seen a truly upscale, luxurious, fine dining, seafood-centric restaurant – until now. Ostra at One Charles Street in the Back Bay is a Mediterranean inspired restaurant, perfect for popping champagne or popping the question.
“Honestly what makes it so special, it’s the high ceiling, the bright colors, the dark floors. It really compliments our dishes very, very well. We are all about the food. The simplest dishes can taste the best,” said General Manager Alex Hage.
“I think what makes us special is very simple preparations. A lot of really nice olive oils, fine sea salts, really just showcasing the fish,” Executive Chef Mitchell Randall added.
Ostra really represents a combination of simplicity and extravagance. The atmosphere is dominated by beautiful ocean-inspired photographs, and the seafood is so fresh, it’s displayed like a jewelry case.
Chef/owner Jamie Mammano and Executive Chef Randall have created one of the most ambitious menus in Greater Boston, featuring world-class crispy fried oysters and an other-wordly sirloin steak. You can start your meal with Japanese Hamachi tuna, and end with a French-inspired Chocolate Hazelnut masterpiece, featuring popcorn ice cream and salted caramel.
Even with all of these incredible options, the complimentary bread might be the best thing coming out of the kitchen.
“It’s a ciabatta base bread, and then on top we’re using fingerling potato and a Vidalia onion. Right out of the oven. Steaming hot, with just butter and extra virgin olive oil. You can not beat a fresh bread baked that moment out of the oven. A little sweetness from the onion and a little earthiness from the potato; it’s great,” said Chef Randall.
The word “Ostra” actually means “Oyster” in Spanish. And you won’t find them shucked so perfectly, or presented so beautifully anywhere else.
“All of these oysters are coming directly into Boston. The best quality picked every day by our fishmonger,” Chef Randall explained. “The classic accompaniment you would want with any oysters: Tobasco, lemon, a cocktail sauce, we’re making all of our horseradish in house, and a mignonette which is vinegar sauce with cracked pepper, shallot, and we’re finishing that with champagne.”
The pastas are all hand-made, from Spaghetti with littleneck clams and jalapenos, to fluffy ricotta gnocchi with lobster and shaved black truffles. If you’re a lobster lover who’s not afraid to “shell out” some serious bucks, the three pound, $62 Broiled Maine Lobster with herb butter is worth the splurge.
“Any three pound lobster is a splurge and delicacy for sure. Very simply done. Just a little bit of garlic, butter, and herbs. Very light sauce with butter and lobster stock. So everything is out of the shell, and the tail is put back in the shell,” Chef Randall explained. “Then we roast it, so after it’s back in the shell we have that nice roasted flavor.”
General Manager Alex Hage has another favorite dish he recommends to wow first time customers: the Salt Crusted Branzino.
“That is a must have when dining at Ostra. We fly them from Greece about 5 times a week. It roughly takes about 45 minutes in the oven,” he said.
“Classically done in salt, sea salt, and the crust is made with a little bit of egg white. And that’s pretty much it. Filleted tableside and then dressed with lemon, olive oil and fresh herbs,” described Chef Randall.
“If I have to describe in one word for this dish, it would be it’s elegant,” Hage said. “It’s an extremely delicate fish, very light yet extremely flavorful. Once you serve it to them, on their first bite you just see their facial expressions and it says it all.”
The dish that gets the biggest reaction, by far, is the one-of-a-kind dessert wonder known as the Snow Egg with a delicate spun sugar top.
“The presentation is breathtaking. It’s a piece of art,” Hage said.
“It represents a snowball, which is a pavlova which is a very light meringue. It’s filled with a lemon mousse, underneath a basil sauce and fresh raspberries,” explained Chef Randall. “I just think the Snow Egg here at Ostra really matches that other cuisine. I mean it all flows together. From light ciabatta bread into the next course, oysters or the gnocchi with truffle, to the salt crust branzino. Light flavors, ending with a couple spoonfuls of a really nice meringue with lemon mousse, it’s just perfect.”
“The dining experience here I find it one of the best in Boston,” Hage stated. “Just the minute you walk in, you get all the fresh seafood across, the beautiful white marble slabs, the live pianist that we have seven nights a week. It’s just a very, very well rounded restaurant and I feel very fortunate to be part of it.”
You can find Ostra at 1 Charles Street South in Boston, or online at ostraboston.com.
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