Mike Berman’s Washington Watch

May 22, 2011 11:51 AM

Restaurant: Clink


215 Charles Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02114
Fax 617-224-4001
The location of this restaurant takes a little explaining. Since September 2007, what was once Boston’s Charles Street Jail is now the Liberty Boston Hotel, located at the foot of Beacon Hill.

The former jail now houses the main lobby, a number of restaurants, a ballroom and a number of guest rooms. A new building was constructed next to and attached to the jail. The hotel has 14 floors of rooms. The upper floor rooms overlook the river, and the view is spectacular. It appears to be the goal of the hotel to deliver Four Seasons Hotel quality service. It is not quite there yet, but is pretty close.

Clink is the principal restaurant at the Liberty Boston Hotel, although there are four other eating and drinking locations.

Clink is an “L” shaped room that seats about 70 people at tables for two, that can be reconfigured to accommodate larger groups. There are several yellow banquettes along one wall. The décor is “old jail.” There is a brick wall in the restaurant that separates the dining area from the kitchen. The wall has window-like openings with bars across them, and there are a couple of doors made of bars.

Over a period of 18 hours, Debbie and I ate three meals at Clink. We had dinner with Julian and Betsy; breakfast alone; and brunch with Heidi, Tyler, Nancy, Stan, Joe, and Bridget.

At dinner with Betsy and Julian, Betsy started with a Gem Lettuce Salad with Herb Dressing, Radishes, and Olive Oil Crouton, followed by Seared Sea Scallops with Smoked Salmon, Fennel, Leeks and Lemon Thyme. Debbie had the same salad, and then for her entrée she chose Black Pasta with Local Shellfish, Squid, Saffron Butter, and Garlic Oil.

Julian started with a half order of the scallops and the Black Pasta. I had a half order of Scallops, and Organic Chicken with Savory Bread Pudding, Raisin & Pine Nut Relish, and Chanterelle Mushroom Jus.

For dessert, we shared an Apple Rhubarb Cobbler with Brown Butter Ice Cream, and Butterscotch Pots De Crème with Madeleines.

Perhaps as a result of the brick walls around and through the room, it was extremely noisy during dinner. It was difficult to hold a conversation without intense attention.

For breakfast Debbie had mixed berries, bacon and toast. I had grapefruit, banana, bacon, and tea with lemon.

I am a regular grapefruit eater. How it is cut and presented is a big deal. You can order just sections, but they do not taste the same as a section that comes out of the grapefruit just before you eat it. The way the grapefruit at Clink was cut and presented was the best that I have ever been served. All of the sections were still in the outer skin, but each was totally separated all the way around.

There were so many different dishes ordered for brunch that I did not keep track. In addition to various combinations of fruit, dishes ordered ranged from Smoked Salmon with a Toasted Bagel, Cream Cheese and Classic Garnish, to something called “The Slammer,” three eggs as you like, Vermont Maple Sausage, Crispy Bacon, Breakfast Potatoes, and Toast.

The service at all three meals was helpful and attentive.

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