Stix and Stones

Friday night was date night and rather than stick to our planned reservation at Great Bay, we decided to mix it up and do a little ‘restaurant hopping’. The plan was to hit three different places, having a cocktail and one or two appetizers or tapas at each place. Unfortunately, the second place we went to had super glue on the bar stools and force-fed us cocktails, so we never left. We did however start our night off by trying one new place.

Our evening began with a ride on commuter rail — getting off at Back Bay Station. We exited on the Clarendon side, looked around and decided to walk down Stanhope Street to start our night at Stix Restaurant & Lounge. When Stix first opened, I didn’t have a strong desire to go because I was afraid it would be too gimmicky or touristy… like Fire & Ice. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike Fire & Ice, I just prefer a different ‘look and feel’ for date nights.

The more reviews I read about Stix, the more I became intrigued — finally adding it to my “wish list”.

Stix is located in the space formerly occupied by Bomboa — which used to be one of my favorite places. They had the best mojitos… though, toward the end things turned south and the reviews got increasingly worse — finally forcing them to close down in mid-2007. The same owners (33 Management Group — of 33 Restaurant & Lounge) redesigned the space, changed up the menu, found a niche and opened Stix in the fall of 2007.

The shtick at Stix is simple, wooden skewers infused with global flavors and spices — served as tapas (3 Stix per order), meant to be shared. Some of the flavor infusions include:

  • Tropical Blend — coconut, ginger, lemongrass, red pepper and kaffir lime
  • Garlic Herb — full-bodied mix of garlic, basil, lemon and chives
  • Citrus Rosemary — delicate blend of rosemary, garlic, & sweetened with a touch of orange
  • Indian Mango Curry — sweet mango mingles with the exotic spice of cardamom and curry
  • Mexican Fiesta — a robust mix of smoked chili pepper, coriander, cumin and lime

We arrived on the early side — around 6pm, so the bar and restaurant were pretty much empty. We sat at the bar, looked over the menu and decided to start with cocktails. I had the Leblon “Seasonal” Caipirinha ($10), a creative interpretation of the original recipe, with the addition of muddled strawberries and kiwi. They were out of the Brazilian rum meant for the drink (kind of annoying), so offered me a substitution of either Baccardi or 10 Cane Rum. Duh. I went with the 10 Cane.

The Husband got the Sparkling Grey Goose Pear ($11), sweet Prosecco topped off with a hearty pour of Grey Goose Pear vodka. Both drinks were good. The sparking pear was very nice with a wonderfully floral nose. My Caipirinha was good, but because I enjoy the original recipe so much, I didn’t love it. The strawberry was a bit too much, almost making the drink feel like a daiquiri.

For food, we agreed to share two orders. The menu is broken out into Signature Plates (all STIX, priced at $9 each or market price for some items), Small Plates (appetizer-sized portions, also priced at $9 and m.p.) and Large Plates (dinner-sized portions, priced at $19 each). We were obviously there to try to the STIX, so we ordered the Shrimp on Thai Coconut Lime STIX — flavored with lime, pineapple and sesame (Thailand) and served with a chutney dipping sauce and the Maple Salmon on Mexican Fiesta STIX — with scallions (Pacific Northwest) and served with a coconut dipping sauce.

Both were fabulous. The salmon was super tender, medium-rare, perfectly grilled and the coconut dipping sauce was a spicy, yet sweet and delectable addition. The Shrimp skewers were almost as good, with large, succulent and sweet shrimp that paired well with the sweet and sour sauce. I definitely want to try more items on this menu, like the:

Tuna Sashimi Style on Ginger Mango STIX with light soy & citrus marinade and togarashi (Hawaii) – M.P.

Foie Gras on Ginger Mango STIX with caramelized honey and bee pollen (France) – M.P.

Seared Scallops on Ginger Mango STIX with orange oil and sesame (Australia)

Waffled Lardon on Honey Bourbon STIX with hard boiled quail eggs and maple syrup (Vermont)

Though everything — including the small and large plates — looks yummy. The beginning of the meal also included a basket of bread sticks (sticking with the stix theme) served with house-made ricotta cheese, flavored with herb-infused oil and chili powder. I LOVED it.

We left Stix and walked down Clarendon to Tremont street, where we made a bee-line to The Beehive — our new favorite haunt. We just can’t seem to stay away from this place and we didn’t for the rest of the evening. We sat at the bar for three and a half hours, throwing back cocktails and noshing on some deliciously-satisfying comfort food, including Marinated Shy Brother’s Farm Goat Cheese ($8), Grilled Artichoke with Aioli ($9), two orders of the Beehive Frites with Sage and Sea Salt ($8 each) — our absolute favorite, and the Lingonberry Creme Brulee ($7) — which I promptly scarfed down despite the fact that I had pigged out all night.

All the dishes — as usual — were great… and the frites are must try. For drinks, we had everything from the Blond Sidecar ($10) and the Beehive Julep ($10) to the Gin Blossum ($10) and Crown Royal and Diet Coke ($9), including a Coffee ($3) and a Cappucino ($4). We finished our evening with a cab ride home and agreed that we would need to do this restaurant hopping thing a bit more often… but with the rule that we should limit our consumption (of both food and wine) to one or two items at each place… allowing us to conquer more than just two places in one night.

All-in-all, a fun and spontaneous date night.

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