Restaurant Review: Stranded at the Station

by Caroline Carney

A restaurant review of Kingston Station

25 Kingston St.

Boston, MA

(617) 482-6282

kingstonstation.com

Type of Food: French/American Bistro

Vegetarian Friendly: 

Price Range:  $ $ $

Beer or Wine List:

Atmosphere:

A self-described “urban bistro,” Kingston Station’s atmosphere lived up to that depiction. The dark lacquered wood tables and cozy red booths set the scene. In true bistro style, the menu, cocktails, and on-tap beers were listed on mirrors. The long zinc bar was jam-packed with the after-work crowd and littered with tall, frothy beverages and stylish cocktails. Within this inviting scene, I could almost hear the barstools calling…

Food:

The appetizer list was heavy on the cheese-laden and fried food, but did offer such bistro favorites as steamed mussels, onion soup, and tartar (diced, raw meat or seafood). I am a sucker for tartar so had to try the tuna with sesame sriracha (thai hot sauce), wasabi, and house-made potato chips. The sesame complemented the delicate tuna, but my friends and I barely touched the overdone, almost burnt tasting chips.

There had been talk about the popular truffle French fries. A decadent dish: thick-cut fries, drizzled with truffle oil, and topped with melted Gruyere cheese and scallions. They looked amazing, served in a metal wire basket with waxed paper. I actually had visions of Paris dancing in my head, which fluttered away as I bit into the soggy French fry. It doesn’t matter how good truffle oil tastes, if the fry is mushy, the truffle cannot redeem it.

Kingston Station does pan-sear a mean fish. The delightful Cajun-spiced salmon was cooked medium rare and lusciously silky on the inside with a perfectly salty crust on the outside. The halibut, topped with a light herb-bread crumb mixture, was tender, mild, and flaky. The sides of cucumber salad and sugar snap peas were both fine, but barely worth mentioning.

Service:

The waiter literally drove me to drink. When he finally arrived, he asked for cocktail orders as if we were lucky to have him and then proceeded to forget about us. Distracted by our conversation, it was only when our stomachs started to growl and our highballs were empty that we noticed our waiter’s protracted absence. After we placed our order and tucked into the food, the momentum appeared to be changing. It all went downhill when the waiter cleared the plates a little too soon and returned with the bill and a request for us to pay immediately so he could go “home and sleep.” Being the kind customers we are, we felt sorry for the fellow and paid up. Moments later we saw him at the bar throwing back Manhattans with others from the wait staff. We sat there for another half hour without so much as a hello from any other restaurant workers. We were a dead table in their eyes (one that can provide no more revenue). Perhaps it was an off night.

Final Thoughts:

Kingston Station has a fun cocktail menu and extensive wine and beer list. Go there for drinks with friends after an exam or a long day of studying. Be warned– this food will not give you that post-delicious meal afterglow that is the holy grail of dinners out. Our waiter had the right idea after all: Kingston Station is a great place for a Manhattan.

Score Key:

Price Range:

$                          Average entrée is $10, Highest price is <$18

$$                        Average entrée is $15, Highest price is <$25

$$$                     Average entrée is $20, Highest price is <$30

$$$$                  Average entrée is $25, Highest price is <$40

$$$$$                Average entrée is $30, Highest price is whatever you can dream of

Vegetarian Friendly:

NOT Pack a lunch

A few token items available

Great selection

A vegetarian paradise

Beer or Wine List:

Mass breweries and wineries only

Standard beer or wine list with a few local twists

A large and interesting enough selection to keep the connoisseur busy

Off the chart amazing; a large selection of both local and international options

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