In preparing for our trip to Boston, my wife and I did considerable research to select a hotel and restaurants. Depending on which culinary survey you believe, either Mistral or Ostra or Davio's is the No. 1 restaurant in town. But, since we were staying at the XV Beacon Hotel, we chose to eat at Mooo on one occasion. When choosing the best restaurants in Boston, Mooo has to be included in the conversation. Coincidentally, chef Jamie Mammano put his distinguished brand on Mooo--and he also opened Mistral in 1997. So we had to see if Mistral is as good as advertised. Yes, indeed. Located at 223 Columbus Avenue in Boston's South End, Mistral is an elegant French bistro that thrives on its French Mediterranean cuisine. And the menu featured some of our personal favorites, including Dover Sole, Branzino and profiteroles. We started with escargot, Caesar salad and Faroe Island salmon tartare. As soon as I spotted Branzino on the menu, I was sold. Since being introduced to the Greek Mediterranean fish a few years ago in Florida, I can't resist ordering it whenever it appears on a menu, which is becoming more and more common. Meaty, full bodied, tender, without a fishy taste, Branzino is one of a kind. My wife opted for Dover Sole with lemon and capers, sauteed spinach and onions and fingerling potatoes. I chose shrimp and tomato risotto for a side. Mistral's list of entrees is very impressive. It's hard to pass up pan roasted halibut, roast rack of Colorado lamb, pan roasted Cornish Game Hen, grilled tenderloin of beef and half whole roasted duck with wild mushroom risotto. For dessert, there was no debate. Whenever profiteroles with vanilla ice cream and dark chocolate sauce is on a menu, we can't pass it up. Even if Belgian chocolate sorbet, warm blueberry Crostata, warm chocolate tarte with vanilla ice cream, creme brulee with raspberries and Valrhona chocolate s'mores cake with roasted marshmallow sauce are so tempting. Yes, Boston is a good restaurant town. It should be more props than it does.
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