Dinner at Asana

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:

cranberry jam

the bread basket came with cranberry jelly and pickled papaya

asparagus

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.

veal cheeks

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.

squash blossoms

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

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:

dessert

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.

val and bianca

happy diners

Have you tried veal cheeks or sweetbreads? Where?

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10 Responses to “Dinner at Asana”

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    1
    Maria @ Kale and Cupcakes posted September 24, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    I haven’t tried them, since I eat meat very rarely! Your resto experience looks great – will have to look into it the next time we’re in Boston!

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    Daisy posted September 24, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    Great review! All those dishes look insanely good. Sorry the fries werent remarkable but at least everything else was.

    So the tartare at Mistral?! Never tried it. We should plan a date!

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    Megan posted September 24, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    The quail egg is adorable… and that dessert looks fabulous!

    I have not tried veal cheeks or sweetbreads… not sure I’m brave enough.

    And I agree with Daisy above… I haven’t tried Mistral’s tartare either.. I haven’t even been to Mistral yet! We should definitely plan something!

  4. #
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    Tina posted September 24, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    Haven’t tried them! How nice to find another good dining option. I love finding new places that are good.

  5. #
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    Michelle posted September 24, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    I love sweetbreads! I had fried sweetbreads with mini waffles at L’Espalier. AMAZING!

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    MelissaNibbles posted September 24, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    Great review! I’ve never had either of those dishes. We should get together sometime and eat veal and bone marrow!!!

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    Sues posted September 25, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    Oooh everything looks so well-presented and delicious! I’ve never had sweetbreads, but have always been tempted to try. I need to check out Asana! :)

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    Lea @ Healthy Coconut posted September 26, 2010 at 11:49 am

    I like quail eggs, I’ve eaten them poached and also with stir-fry.

    My dad cooks a lot of filipino dishes when we have filipino parties so I’m sure he has made veal cheeks before but I just didn’t know it at that time. Filipino food is so flavorful and I forget to ask sometimes what is in the dishes.

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    Dana posted September 26, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    Everything you ate looks good, but the dessert takes the cake for me (no pun intended)… glad you had a great meal!

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    10
    Beth posted September 28, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    The food looks amazing. I’m glad you had such a good time.

    Plan B

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