Blue Inc. gets the blue ribbon

When you’re sitting at the bar at Blue Inc., it’s hard to actually be blue.

Remember Lobby Bar, the after-work drinks spot by the Greenway? No, neither do we. Because its replacement, Blue Inc., far surpasses … ol’ whats-its-name. Chef/owner Jason Santos, formerly of Gargoyles on the Square (and also Season 7 of “Hell’s Kitchen”) seems to have a winner. Yes-yes, Santos splashes his hair with blue color, prison tattoos are blue-inked — all very edgy. OK, move on.
Gimmicks are thankfully few at Blue, a small, sleek, white restaurant with a mod feel. The mod feel comes from the giant Twiggy photo and a pavement patio with views of the now beautifully greened Rose Kennedy Greenway.

Santos’ menu is bold, as you might expect from this everything-including-the-kitchen-sink cook; but he’s discovered finesse without sacrificing striking flavors. A lobster and summer truffle soup ($13) has lots of lobster meat, al dente fava beans, earthy porcinis and big shavings of truffle. The cauliflower espuma and bee pollen hang back in the dish, but everything mingles to create a dense broth. It’s perfect.

And how about the grilled salmon ($24)? There’s a dish unlikely to tempt the palate of diners; but thankfully, Santos breaks the mold with his version. He drizzles the much-used fish with a tiger shrimp butter and accompanies it with peas that are just out of the petit stage of their lives but still have a youthful sweetness. A bed of parsnip puree is beautifully creamy and unsalted. The fish itself has none of this “raw in the center” business. The salmon is cooked through to accentuate its natural oils and is just crisped on its edges. It’s a lesson in salmon grilling.


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