Dinner at Asana at the Mandarin Oriental is a very pleasant experience. As soon as we walked in, we were enveloped by its soothing and sophisticated atmosphere. We were greeted warmly by the servers and ushered to our table, and we sank into the plush seats. It was almost like an oasis away from busy Boylston Street.
My girl friend Val and I had come from a long day of shopping and found ourselves hungry for dinner. Usually, my go-to places for post-shopping bites are Sel dela Terre and Braserrie Jo, but on this night we decided to try something new. I didn’t know what to expect at Asana – in fact I thought it was Japanese food – but upon looking at the menu, I realized they serve local, New England cuisine.
We decided to split a couple of appetizers and small plates:
the bread basket came with cranberry jelly and pickled papaya
asparagus and poached quail eggs
Confession: I ordered this only because of the quail eggs. I wanted to try them poached, and there is something so incredibly cute about them, so it was just an added bonus that I happen to like asparagus too.
braise veal cheeks and sweet breads
Val and I are both from the Philippines, and this dish reminded us of all the good food there. Veal cheeks, especially when cooked correctly, are succulent and this was no exception. It was so tender, we didn’t even need a knife to cut it. And the sweetbreads, along with the earthy mushrooms, fava beans and squash puree, provided textural contrasts and added more flavors to the dish.
tempura squash blossoms with baby vegetables
This dish was so pretty and delicate, we took us a whole minute admiring it before digging in. The squash blossoms were stuffed with a little bit of fresh mozzarella, not ricotta which is what I normally associate with squash blossoms. And the vegetables were cooked perfectly, soft but with still some fresh crispness.
fries and truffle mayo
This wasn’t particularly remarkable, and we only ate a small portion. I should’ve just made green been truffle fries at home!
Of course, no date night dinner is complete without dessert. We shared a wonderful one:
coffee semifreddo with caramelized hazelnuts
During the whole meal, service was impeccable – almost like well-orchestrated dance between the hostess, the servers and the sommelier. And the whole atmosphere is just so relaxing and chic. I had a really nice time having dinner at Asana and will plan to come back soon.
Have you tried veal cheeks or sweetbreads? Where?