Every once and while, we adventure outside of Providence and head into the next closest food meca: good ol’ Boston. This time we decided to try Ostra, a Mediterranean inspired restaurant that seemed like the perfect place for a special night out.
Although their food has a Mediterranean flair, the decor is intriguing but clean and contemporary. You’re greeted with crisp, white walls, a cool black and white octopus painted onto them and metal horseshoe crabs intermediately hung in varying places. There’s a slick bar area that turns into a view of the kitchen and a beautiful spread of oysters on ice. The dinning room is large and open, with high ceilings, white pendant lanterns that look like jellyfish, giant black and white photos of the sea, and tables plated with cool horseshoe crab charger plates that I wanted for my own home.
I feel like I just keep saying cool over and over again, and really, that’s the best way to sum it up. The atmosphere certainly leaves quite the impression and you definitely get the hint that you are going to enjoy some darn good seafood. We will warn against the noise level though. It is a little higher due to the ceilings, the kitchen and the mid-sized dinning room.
For the service, our waiter was amazing! He was well versed in the unique cooking techniques, the flavors, and my favorite, the wine. He definitely doubled as a very knowledgeable sommelier. We ordered the Termes 2010 from Bodega Numanthia, a beautiful dry red with sweet berry flavors and a hint of vanilla. Our waiter shared the history of the winery and the creation of that specific bottle. It was probably one of the best reds I’ve had.
As for the food, the first thing that was brought to us, as most restaurants do, was bread. But this bread had thin slices of potatoes cooked into the top of it. It was a telltale of the attention to detail and excellence that the chef would present as the meals progressed.
For appetizers, we ordered the Grilled Spanish Octopus (pictured at the top), which was tender on the inside and wonderfully crispy on the outside. As for the flavor, it had a light acidic taste that blended nicely with the sweet meat. We also ordered the Rhode Island Calamari because it’s the only way to eat calamari! This rendition was served with a garlic aioli and spicy bouillabaisse broth. It was good but not the best – but I think we’re a tough crowd when it comes to calamari.
What really wowed us were the main entrées. They were so good, we never made it to the dessert menu – we couldn’t part with our dinner to make room! Eric ordered the Roasted Local Monkfish Loin, which is served on top of a mushroom ragout, and garnished with shaved black truffles. Who can turn down truffles? No one that knows about them, that’s who. For those that have not tasted monkfish, the texture is that of lobster but has a flavor all it’s own. Paired with the hearty and earthy ragout, you would think you were eating a dish featuring something that walked on land, not swam in the sea.
I ordered the Salt Crusted Branzino: a light, white fish that was cooked literally in a thick, salt crust. You would think that the flavor would be a dehydrated salty mess on your plate, but it’s the exact opposite. The fish was juicy and was perfectly salted with a light lemon flavor and was topped with fresh herbs. It was the best fish I have ever had. Hands down. Drop everything your doing, book reservations at Ostra and go order the branzino.
All and all, we highly recommend Ostra. It was a bit pricey but with the cooking techniques the chef wowed us with and the quality of the food, you will not be disappointment in the money you spend. The food was cooked to perfection and the flavors were simple but memorable. The perfect ode to Mediterranean-style cooking. The service was amazing and the wine list was certainly impressive. And probably one of my most favorite details is there’s a parking garage (though not free) in the same building as Ostra. Easy, nearby parking in Boston is always a win!!!
Have you been to Ostra? Do you plan on going? Let us know! As usual, we always love hearing from you.