Its true what they say, mommin' ain't easy. Last Wednesday, the stars aligned. Shea had already been dropped off at Nana's, an offer had been made to cover my shift at the bar, and there was an extra ticket with my name on it for Boston Ballet's The Nutcracker. While there is nothing that compares to the amazingness of being a mom, I would be a liar if I didn't admit I miss parts of my old life. The spontaneity of a last minute plan for dinner & drinks at new spot in Boston, followed up by one of my favorite holiday shows - it's literally the foundation of HungerThirstPlay.
Both Theatre District and Downtown Crossing have seen quite a transformation over the last few years. The evening's entertainment brought us to the Boston Opera House area where the Theatre District and Downtown Crossing overlap. Is it the Theatre District? Is it Downtown Crossing? I'm never 100% sure. What I am sure of, is you will be able to find some good eats and quality cocktails mere steps away from your destination. With no reservations and showtime deadline in mind we took a chance on Ruka at the Godfrey Hotel.
Ruka at the Godfrey Hotel
Located on Washington Street within steps to the Boston Common, the Godfrey Hotel is a great location for out of town guests who want to be in the center of the city. A boutique hotel that emits clean design and an elevated level of comfort. Though I couldn't actually tell you how to get into the hotel, that's the impression I got from the gallery photos available on their website.
Upon our first steps on the distressed wood floors the sounds of jovial post-holiday office gatherings happening in the bar greeted our ears. We seemed to be in just before the rush of dinner. And with some quick thinking, we were able to squeeze ourselves into a table held for a later reservation and be out with time to spare for the restaurant.
Okay, this is very important. PSA: If you do this and you do not leave by the time you promised, you're positively The Worst and should be blacklisted from dining anywhere but your own dining room table. So be a good person, nobody likes a liar. And also, karma.
Sipping' on some cocktails...
A no-brainer starter right? Paulina and I went straight for the cocktails after perusing the small, square leaflet book. Cocktails are grouped together by 'themes' which is interesting and new. My decision landed on a vodka based cocktail called 'The Jesuit.' Raising the cocktail to your lips to sip on what is mildly reminiscent of a silly straw emerging from the glass, the nose picks up smokey floral notes from the singed garnish. Your mouth is later met with a delicious balance of tart and sweet. Paulina's tequila based cocktail was brightly garnished with a fresh flower and also carried a slight smoke to the flavor profile.
In standard fashion, you can always count on Carlos to enjoy a glass of wine. The perfect opportunity for us to marvel at the delicate glassware. The wine glasses were large, elegant and ultra thin. Most certainly, something I wouldn't be able to keep intact in my own kitchen but terrifically enjoyable to drink out of someone else's!
On to the eats!
In similar style to Ruka's sister restaurant Yvonne's, the menu is almost all 'small plates' style meant for sharing with just a handful of larger entree style portions and side dishes. For a group such as ours, looking for some snacks before the show, it was a perfect arrangement. The service staff will guide you through the menu, introducing Ruka as a Peruvian-Japanese fusion restaurant, along with recommendations for quantities and popular items.
In typical fashion of a group of 'Basics' we started with the Spicy Tuna Roll. No matter how stereotypical and over popular it has become I just can't seem to escape my affection for a spicy tuna roll. Every other piece sprinkled with a light crunch of little rice puff. Beyond the fish, the roll contains other flavorful delights such as marinated jicama.
Ruka's approximation to the Theatre District is aptly appropriate as each menu item contains just a hint of theatrics and show. The Wagu beef sushi-style roll appeared over a pool of flames, cooking the meat in it's journey from the kitchen to our table. It's deliverer putting out the flames with a thirst quenching sauce to coat the oh-so-tender roll. We enjoyed a few other samplings before taking off to watch the sugar plum fairies dance before our eyes.
Just a few more snacks...
The the menu contains quite a few options in the seafood department there is certainly something on offer to suit all the taste buds. For the less adventurous there are options like Chicken Fried Rice and for the lover of all things raw fish - you will be oh. so. happy.
The Halibut Ceviche was ultra fresh with a cloud-like softness and a crunch of toasted nuts. We ended with the sweet potato dumplings. Similar to a gnocchi style of delicate floating in a pool of broth and a runny poached egg. My only caveat with this dish as it's a bit more like a soup and a little awkward to share. Luckily we were all pretty fond of each other at the table so a little germ swap didn't require a second thought. Next time, you guys are on your own.
Everything we ordered, we enjoyed with gusto. With satisfied bellies and a pleasant glow, we trotted the mere steps to the Opera House to be transported to a magical land of Nutcrackers and Dancing Rats, the sparkle of tutus and the awe of a second performance.