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THE TIP

Lantern aims to light up night

Christine Frieze and Manika Khanna dining at Red Lantern. Christine Frieze and Manika Khanna dining at Red Lantern. (Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff)
By Devra First
Globe Staff / June 24, 2011

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Red Lantern 39 Stanhope St., Boston.

In a Globe story earlier this month, Red Lantern partner Ed Kane said, “We’re not trying to create a nightclub that happens to serve food. We’re creating a restaurant with a nightlife component.’’

Red Lantern is the latest project from Big Night Entertainment Group, the people behind Shrine at the MGM Grand at Foxwoods, as well as The Estate in Boston, Tosca in Hingham, and more. It opened a few weeks ago, an Asian-themed venue with hundreds of lanterns, giant stone statues, and holographic Buddhas. It features a 40-foot marble bar and an open kitchen showcasing a wood-fired grill, wok stations, and a sushi bar. We’re not at Bertucci’s anymore. (A branch of the Italian-restaurant chain formerly occupied the space.)

Guests can share the likes of lobster rangoon, duck egg rolls, and pupu platters while sipping four-person scorpion bowls. From the sushi bar, there are signature rolls, traditional sushi offerings, and a selection of sashimi plates.

More substantial fare includes Singapore street noodles, char siu fried rice, and stir-fried lobster with vegetables and house-made XO sauce. Executive chef Kevin Long puts an emphasis on steak, cooked over the wood fire. The Mongolian skirt steak is served with togarashi-dusted fried sweet potatoes and wild mushrooms, just like they do in Mongolia. The signature T-bone dinner for two includes a 2-pound, dry-aged prime steak with fried rice and two sides. Now that’s a date.

Red Lantern is the kind of place that names cocktails Geisha, Sumo Summer, and the truly tasteless Hot in Hiroshima. (What, no Fukushima Fling?) But the menu sounds more serious than that at your average sushi-and-more lounge with an Asian fetish. I wasn’t particularly impressed with a visit to Shrine a few years back, but there’s a whole wok-fried bass with ginger and scallion at Red Lantern with my name on it.

Said Kane of the restaurant/lounge hybrid, “It works in other cities, but when you do it in Boston, a lot of the food community thinks it can’t be good because there’s that social component.’’

I think it can be good. I’m ready for Red Lantern to convince me.

Devra First can be reached at dfirst@globe.com.

Ratings

  • 4 Stars Extraordinary
  • 3 Stars Excellent
  • 2 Stars Good
  • 1 Star Fair
  • No Stars Poor