Echo Park: Small Plates & Good Vibes at Allston Yacht ClubNov 04 2010 · 3 comments · Bars, Echo Park
Allston Yacht Club was off my radar for too long, but I think I’m going to add it to my repertoire. I spent my Election Day night (thanks for your sanity, California) in the small Echo Park bar restaurant, which has a casual, unpretentious vibe and a full menu of satisfying small plates inspired by Japanese, Italian and Indian flavors, to name a few. I know some prefer a focused menu, but I didn’t mind AYC’s United Nations approach. Plus, I was lucky enough to have The Minty as my drinking/dining companion, and she was familiar enough with the menu to help steer (pun intended) us in a good direction.
Allston has plenty of grubby options on their menu, including the Cuban-Style Pulled Pork Tostada pictured up top. Two tiered and crowned with kim chi pickles, the house-made tostada shell was piled high with garlic and citrus marinated pork. I liked the warm, spiced flavor, and the drippy juiciness. The pickle gave it a hint of Cuban sandwich appeal.
The Yacht Club Salad was a refreshing departure from the meaty bonanza of the tostada. Dressed very lightly with lemon vinaigrette, the salad included marinated artichokes, greens and tomatoes. The goat cheese was more of a garnish than an ingredient—a little more could have been added without bulking it up.
I know I’m terribly out of style saying this, but I rarely order cocktails. I just prefer beer or wine. However, I’ve been trying to cool myself up and have a mixed drink once in awhile, so I ordered a jalapeno margarita, which I’ve heard great things about. Verdict: it was a good margarita, very tart and mildly spicy. It was a bit sweet for my tastes, but I don’t even put sugar in my oatmeal, so who’s going to listen to me on such matters?
Braised short ribs are ubiquitous, and for a good reason: they’re delicious! These ones were tender and melty. The puree was made of root vegetables, which I prefer to heavier mashed potatoes. The moat of juice didn’t overwhelm, a problem that I’m wary of ever since a very watery and very scarring au jus fiasco at Lucques.
The Scorched Shoshito Peppers were a hot, salty treat is ever there was one. Flavored with bonito and ponzu, these blackened peppers would go perfectly with a frosty beer. The only problem is that some are hotter than others, so it’s a bit of a Russian roulette situation. Still, very worth it.
The vegetable sides at AYC are almost as tempting as their carnivorous offerings. Think: broccolini with chili flakes, roasted brussel sprouts, and this Curried Cauliflower dish. Very simple and hearty with a fair amount of heat.
Prices are pretty good at Allston. Bigger dishes run between $7-9 while snacks a mostly in the $5 range. Plus, all food items are $5 between 5:30-7pm.