Sunday, March 18, 2012

Red Lantern

     Last night we went to the Red Lantern, which we first heard about on an episode of The Phantom Gourmet. Located in the Back Bay, just steps away from the Back Bay orange line T station, this modern, edgy, Japanese restaurant is certainly one we will be returning to. The cozy, yet cool, atmosphere is fit both for a couples night out or just hanging out with a few friends. The only open reservation time we could find was for 6:30pm, although it was early the restaurant was rather full with couples, what seemed to be bridal parties, and corporate parties. This restaurant is obviously on the upscale side however we did not feel out of place wearing jeans (most men wore suit jackets).

     We found our server to be very knowledgeable about the menu however his attitude came across too cocky at times. We were there for two hours and after taking our order he disappeared, not returning again until it was almost time for dessert. We decided to order a few appetizers and have them staggered for the tables are kind of small.

     We opened the meal with the lobster rangoons. Served on top of oyster sauce, these rangoons had a delicious, creamy mild lobster filling. They were toped with scallions and came 4 to an order. They definitely were a great start to the meal.

     Second we ordered one of the day's specials, a seafood hot pot. This soup was full of  bok choy (Chinese cabbage), squid, scallops, and lobster broth. Floating on top there was a squirt of chili oil, which added to the soups layers by giving it a wonderful, yet not overwhelming, spicy flavor. Served steaming hot, this soup certainly warmed us up.

    Next came the fried calamari. Now, fried calamari seems to be a staple in most of Boston's menus however this is by far the best, crispiest calamari we've had. Toped with peanuts, thinly sliced red peppers, fresh horseradish, and a mildly spicy sauce this was the perfect dish. Definitely a must have for anyone visiting the Red Lantern.

    As a fourth dish we decided to try one of their signature Red Lantern sushi rolls, the tuna tempura roll. Although tasty, this was the least memorable part of the meal. It was a generous portion of sushi, perfectly fried to a golden crisp.

    Then we ordered their fresh chicken lo mein. Served in a deep bowl, this dish is sure to satisfy even the biggest of appetites. Aida is a lo mein enthusiast and this is by far one of the best lo miens she's ever had. The chicken could have used a small pinch of salt, however apart from that it was great. The generous portion of non-oily, thin lo mein noodles mixed with thinly sliced carrots, scallions, and snap peas hit all the right flavor notes. This dish is both delicious and perfect for sharing.

     Lastly we decided to end the meal with two of their plum flaming shots and banana tempura dessert. We were celebrating Aida's 21st birthday and the restaurant gave us the dessert on the house. The tempura banana's were sitting on top of a peanut sauce. They were toped with a fried wonton which housed two scoops of vanilla and mango ice cream. This was a great dessert full of banana flavor. We are not big drinkers but the shots were sweet and an exciting way to end the night.

For the Red Lantern's full menu go to their website

Lobster Rangoons

Seafood Hot Pot

Fried Calamari 

Banana Tempura with Sugar Birthday Cookie


Red Lantern on Urbanspoon

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