I love food. So, naturally, I wanted the assignment for the first “Haute Fare” post. And, it is only fitting that the first post be about the restaurant where I broke free from my gourmet chrysalis and became a fully-matured foodie- Mistral.
Mistral has been serving Boston’s finest tuna tartar since 1997. That is three times the life-expectancy of a restaurant. When I hear of a long-time restaurant closing (e.g., Hamersley’s Bistro) anxiety sets in, as I worry about my beloved Mistral. But, then I remind myself how much the rest of Boston loves Mistral and I start to breathe again.
For me, this connection began sometime in 1998 or so. My friend Aimee mentioned her older brother was going to be in town and wanted to take her and her friends out to dinner. I was lucky enough to be on the invite list. (Aimee knows how I love to eat!)
Until that evening, my idea of fancy dinner was Judy’s on Main Street in Amherst. One step into Mistral’s airy space, with its golden glow and the harmonic chatter of the beautiful diners and I knew Judy’s would never be the same. I was all but 22, and for the first time I dined like an adult. Wine with each course, laughter, and of course amazing food; things I’ve never tasted before. Aimee convinced me to try her tuna tartar. Even though I normally recoiled at fish I gave in- mainly because it was so pretty, and she was so insistent! I immediately knew why she wouldn’t take no for an answer. Flavors I still can’t adequately describe meshed together magically. And just like that, I was forever hooked on fancy dinners and Mistral. (Thank you Aimee’s brother. :-))
As the years progressed, Mistral was always a staple. My husband Garry LOVED their filet. On many girls’ nights, he would meet us later for a steak. And if he couldn’t make it, I would bring home a steak or the tenderloin and mashed potato pizza.
I’ve shared many wonderful dinners and heart-felt conversations with some great friends at that bar. Bernie bear when she was still on the East Coast. Felicia, Steph, Lexi, Ali and the crew. Some of Boston’s best bartenders have shared in our stories and poured our wine- Aimee (yes, that Aimee), Megan, Leanne, Winston, and Erica. It has always been the go-to place for a special occasion. Garry would never scoff at the exorbitant price of the truffled pasta (a winter specialty and my favorite). We were buying tasty memories.
Soon children came, and the nights in make-shift Provence became further spaced apart. It’s been a while, and it so was time to go back. I made a recent pilgrimage on a Tuesday night to the place that ignited in my heart a passion for fine dining. I was so happy to see the place bursting! Mistral, you are as influential as the French winds for which you are named! You will always hold a special place in my heart.
Everything was as delicious as it always is. I could have written this post without going there, but I wanted to take a picture of the tuna tartar. But, if you can believe it, I was so excited I ate it before I remembered to take a picture! We did manage to take a few other pictures, and in doing so, discovered that you love us too Mistral! We found this heart on our pan-roasted branzino. 🙂 See, signs really are everywhere. 🙂
My second favorite to the tuna tartar, seared foie gras on brioche with duck confit and cherry sauce. Mmmmmm (now I’m drooling.)
Sirloin and their famous horseradish whipped mashed potatoes.
I even tried to copy a photo take of me at the bar around 2002. Here I am 13 years later in the same shirt, dining at the early bird hour. My drink is a bit calmer and my face a bit wiser, but I am still as taken as ever!