NOSH ON: Abby Lane, in your eyes and in your ears (and your mouth too)

Hey, didn't we see this guy on season 7 of "Hell's Kitchen"? As a matter of fact, yes you did. It's Jason Santos!

At street level, Abby Lane Food & Spirits appears to be a casual restaurant. A row of high tables breaks up the room and dwarfs the normal-sized ones that fill the space leading to picture windows overlooking Tremont Street. Because the tables are separated at the entranceway, it’s not immediately apparent that there’s a huge and very comfortable lounge with nice big armchairs upstairs. The restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner, and the upstairs is very nicely outfitted for the late night
drinks. 

Though each floor has a different feel, both have the same muted brown-caramel decor tones and the same menu of standards: burgers, sandwiches, pizzas, entrees and desserts, such as lemon meringue or chocolate Oreo pudding. Plain and simple? Not really. Take the white pizza, which has a crispy crumb-coated egg plonked in the middle. Plunge in the knife and a runny yolk dribbles over the tangy cheese — none of which overpowers the flavor of fresh spinach and mushrooms.

Each dish seems well thought out with flavorful touches and is dished up in satisfying real-food portions. Tacos, which are ordered singularly — a great choice for sharing — are plump with a shrimp stuffing. The big mound of marinated mussels in a fresh tomato broth is slightly spicy and not too salty, which can be the case with less well-executed moules marinière. A sizeable roasted salmon steak tops a rustic stew of white beans, chorizo and tasty wilted spinach. The salmon is garnished with lobster meat. Finishing fish with fish? Quirky, yes, but it works. 

Must be Santos
Abby Lane opened in the fall and is another outlet for executive chef Jason Santos, who’s known for adding an edge to his bold, blue-collar creations at Blue Inc. in the Financial Dis-trict. He’s also known for his blue hair! Given the proximity to a residential neighborhood, Abby has a family feel (there’s a children’s menu!). It can also be a casual post-theater meal.

Abby Lane Food & Spirits
Entrees: $10-$28
255 Tremont St., Boston
617-451-2229
www.AbbyLaneBoston.com



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