The Boston Phoenix
August 17 - 24, 2000

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The Seasonal Table

The '80s return, on a plate

by Julia Hanna

on the cheap
  • Giordani's Muffin Shoppe, August 10
  • Jimmaize Café, August 3
  • Mr. Crêpe, July 27
  • Emma's, July 20
  • The '80s are back, in more ways than one. Besides luxe fur and leather fashions and a presidential race between an intellectually challenged Republican and a dull, earnest Democrat, there's a new spot in the Back Bay to buy bass Provençal. The Seasonal Table's long, glassed-in storefront features indoor and outdoor café tables; carefully arranged displays of precious, breakable gifts; and wine, beer, and gourmet dry goods and produce (white pineapple, anyone?). More tempting are the cases of unusual imported cheeses and an ever-changing selection of prepared entrées, soups, sandwiches, salads, and baked goods.

    A "grilled fennel brined pork chop with melon salsa" ($4.99 each) was not as complicated as it sounds, cooked perfectly pink despite its cute-as-a-button nouvelle size. The salad of giant white lima beans with fennel and tomato ($5.99 per pound) was a light, appealing combination of summery flavors, with the beans providing enough ballast and substance to make this nearly a meal unto itself. Other recent offerings included sautéed cod with green-olive and sweet-bell-pepper relish ($5.99 per portion), a fava-bean and ricotta salad with parsley oil ($5.99 per pound), and a grilled-calamari and chickpea salad ($7.99 per pound).

    A counterpoint to the dizzying multi-ingredient preparations is the outstanding cheese counter. Samples are allowed, and less than $4 will buy you a nice-sized slice of just about anything -- from a deliciously pungent blue Stilton to a
    liquid-creamy Tour Aubier. And if that doesn't seem decadent enough for these times, try wading through a mascarpone-laden slice of tiramisu cake ($3.69).

    The Seasonal Table, located at 61 Mass Ave, in Boston, is open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call (617) 236-7979.

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