145-Word Valentine to Metropolis Café

metropolis cafe

Illustration by The Ellaphant in the Room

Local food scribes have been giving Boston’s stalwarts big love lately, penning affectionate tributes to tried-and-true spots that have maintained their luster. A laudable idea—why should unproven newbies get all the glory?—but I’m going on record as stating that any such list that omits Metropolis Café is fundamentally flawed. A quintessential neighborhood gem, this undersung South End eatery nails every criterion: a cozy ambiance; a loyal, skilled service staff; a price point that hovers around $20 an entrée; an interesting-enough wine list; and a flawlessly executed roast chicken with pan drippings that, perhaps sacrilegiously, I prefer over the fabled Hamersley’s Bistro iteration. The restaurant’s inspired signature asparagus “tartare” (blanched, then tricked out with basil oil, diced avocado, balsamic syrup, and crispy fried leeks) has never required peak-season spears. But this month, I’ll be conducting numerous rounds of QC…just to make sure, of course.