As more mid-priced restaurants enter Boston’s dining scene, I can’t help but notice patterns emerging. To be a bona fide neighborhood boite, it seems your menu must contain at least two of following: High-end mac and cheese; some sort of pasta Bolognese; anything Milanese; fish and chips; braised short ribs; mussels in a white wine broth; and steak frites.
Lucky for me, I like all of those dishes. But there’s something else I’m seeing everywhere, and it’s ubiquity is really starting to chap my hide: Beets.
Now, I love beets. Sweet, tender, and available in ungodly shades of pink and yellow, they’re one of my favorite veggies. But for Pete’s sake, why must they appear on every menu, taunting me from beneath some crumbly chevre or bleu? Is there no innovation left in salad-tossing? The Iceberg wedge has come and gone; the mesclun greens have seen their day. But why have these dang beets managed to stick around so long?
Sussing out Newbury Street’s Cafeteria, I learned that the hot sell on the menu is the beet salad with aged goat cheese, which “Gisele always orders when she and Tom are here.” (Gag.) At South End newcomer Banq, they’re mirin-soaked and served with Vermont chevre. Burlington’s L’Andana pairs beets with watercress, an unnamed goat cheese, and blood-orange vinaigrette; at Zon’s, they’re teamed with Great Hill Blue and haricots verts. And at Chowder’s perennial fave, Eastern Standard, beets come with blue cheese, walnuts, apples, and endive.
Whew. I know I’m missing some, but need I say more? Chefs, do your part and save me from this beet-stained existence. Give me something else to work with. How ‘bout an avocado salad? Or jicama! I love jicama. But please, please, please: Anything but beets.