The far end of a Metro line might not be the first place you’d look for an outstanding restaurant, but that’s where we found BOKX 99 American Prime, in the Hotel Indigo, overlooking the Riverside Station in Newton, Massachusetts.
It was Friday night and the bar area was filled. We groaned inwardly, expecting the dining room just beyond to be deafeningly noisy. But despite live music in the bar, the acoustics of the whole area was so good that we could enjoy our dinner conversation in normal tones. It’s a classy space, with crisp geometric lines in dark wood and glass, comfortable seating, subdued lighting and dramatic red blown glass vases
Our waiter appeared promptly and described a sole special so thoroughly that I could almost taste it. But I opted instead for a pepper-crusted grilled tuna steak from the regular menu and my companion ordered beef tenderloin with foie gras. It was difficult not to devour the contents of the bread basket – warm bread whose consistency was halfway between focaccia and a biscuit. Instead we occupied ourselves watching the chefs prepare everything in plain view, in an open kitchen that formed an entire wall of the dining room.
My tuna steak was perfectly seared sushi-quality and impeccably fresh, fanned over a plate of quartered baby bokchoi, with hon shimeji mushroom and sweet chili ginger. The foie gras was warm and buttery, over flavorful rare beef tenderloin, served with crisp fried potato cakes perfumed with an ethereal truffle oil. The meat was accompanied by a Bordelais sauce, rich and flavorful with just the slightest texture to it – a nice contrast with the mouthfeel of the foie gras.
The dessert menu was tempting, but neither of us had room – nor were we about to forgo a single bite of our entrees to leave space. Not a bad decision, since after dinner each table is presented with a big bowl of cotton candy. Not only was our dinner flawless, but so was the service. Our waiter, Kevin Smith, is a professional, with 34 years of honing his skills – and it shows. He could describe dishes, advise on wines and discuss the ingredients and cooking methods, along with anticipating every need without hovering.
He told us that the Executive Chef Evan Peroco and Chef de Cuisine Kevin Lear have developed a network of ingredient sources – two farms, one in Montana and the other in California supply all the beef, for example, and in season the vegetables are from local farms.
BOKX 99 American Prime, in the Hotel Indigo, is just off Exit 22 of I-95, in Newton, Massachusetts. Riverside station is at the end of the MBTA Green Line D Branch, a 30-minute ride from Park Street Station on Boston Common. Contact the restaurant at www.bokx109.com.