This past weekend after an afternoon at the theatre we headed down Tremont to settle into an early dinner reservation at Metropolis Café. At around 5pm the restaurant was warm and bright from the late afternoon sun shining in, and although it was empty, we were lucky to have had a reservation given it was booked for the entire evening. We were immediately seated at a table for four and presented with the day´s specials. Though the space is rather tight, the closeness of the tables and the fun counter bar give Metropolis a very neighborhood feel and don't at all leave one feeling cramped.
After enjoying fresh bread with olive oil we decided to skip appetizers and go straight for the main course. Were I to have indulged, a number of items caught my eye, including the Lobster, Goat Cheese and Leek Tarte with Petite Frissee Salade, the Lobster, Scallop and Haddock Chowder with Yukon Potatoes, Bacon and Snipped Chives, and the Yukon Gold Potato Gnocchi with Duck Confit, Roasted Chestnuts, Gorgonzola, and Porcini Cream - next time!
I often can't resist nice-sounding scallops on the menu, so I went with one of that day's specials - the caramelized sea scallops with roasted tomato and pine nut fregola, basil pesto, and wild arugula. The scallops were wonderfully cooked and of course slightly caramelized, and the fregola, a Sardinian pasta akin to Israeli cous cous, was just enough to fill the belly.
Someone else enjoyed one of the other daily specials, the roasted squash risotto with herb roasted chicken, baby portabella mushrooms and a fried carrot garnish. Though a little overly rosemary-tasting for me, the risotto was nicely cooked and the chicken was tasty - nothing extraordinary, though. Also ordered were the Gloucester Haddock with Andouille Sausage Haricot Vert Ragout, Pommes Puree, and Roasted Carrot Nage. I must admit I was unfamiliar with what a "nage" was, but it turned out to be little more than a flavoured liquid used for poaching delicate foods, typically seafood, which is then reduced and thickened with cream and/or butter. Lastly was the Metropolis Chicken with Oyster Mushrooms, Haricot Vert, Potato Purée and Savory Pan Drippings. Both were very nicely done, though again, nothing out of this world. With our meals we enjoyed two great bottles of wine, a French grenache and and a Pinot Gris.
In addition to this experience, we've also been for weekend brunch, which, typical of the area, is a great bargain and an overall nice meal. The standard breakfast with two farm fresh eggs with Metropolis homefries and grain toast is less than $7, and other options, like the 3-stack of Maine Blueberry, Banana or Belgian Chocolate pancakes with blended Vermont Maple Syrup, are also fairly inexpensive. I was somewhat underwhelmed by the eggs benedict only because I felt it was on the small side and lacking in ample hollandaise, but it was certainly tasty enough.
Overall Metropolis Café is a solid choice for a good meal, whether dinner or brunch, while in the South End. I would certainly return for another meal, particularly the nightly $29.95 prix-fixe dinner from 5:30-6:30, which includes an appetizer, main course, dessert, and glass of wine!