New Paramount, in South Boston, hits the spot
Nothing breeds success like success. That’s what the owners of the Paramount, which opened recently in South Boston, are counting on. For 15 years, the original namesake on Beacon Hill has done a booming business in a demanding model: It serves three meals a day, seven days a week.
The new Paramount in South Boston has the same hours, the same layout, the same executive chef - Gabe Cheung - and most of the same dishes. This location, too, has quickly become a popular neighborhood spot.
It’s a bowling-alley of a place, long and slender, with tables on one side, an open kitchen and small bar on the other. Prints of old South Boston hang on exposed-brick walls. It’s casual, tables decorated with votives at dinner. Our waitress brings a plate of focaccia and a dish of basil hummus, which is rich and tasty. A razor-thin, frozen slice of cucumber floats in each water glass.
We order the special appetizers, duck confit tacos ($12) and mushroom ravioli ($5). Ravioli comes as one large, tender stuffed pasta, filled with mushrooms cooked in brown butter, with thyme and fresh basil, sprinkled with Romano cheese. Tacos are a colorful tableau with grilled scallions, a smear of chickpea puree, and a cranberry prosecco coulis that adds a sweet note. We love the pulled pork tacos ($10), sweet and smoky and stuffed with a black bean salsa and a drizzle of cilantro-lime aioli. Happily, these three corn tortillas hold together well, no falling apart onto the plate.
There’s a section on the menu dubbed “Paramount Classics,’’ which are customer favorites. Teriyaki glazed salmon ($18) is in this category and outstanding. Pan-roasted to a perfect silky texture, with a sprinkling of macadamia nuts, the salmon is perched on a bed of stir-fried vegetable lo mein featuring mushrooms, broccoli, carrots, and peppers.
Another classic is chicken Marsala ($16), which comes with mashed potatoes that have a beautiful texture; green beans are bright and cooked just right. The chicken is in a creamy, sweet sauce with lots of sauteed crimini mushrooms, but there’s a tad too much of it.
Braised short rib pasta ($17) is not a particularly pretty plate, but the dish itself is pleasing, a mound of tender, flavorful meat, mushrooms, and fat pappardelle noodles.
Better is braised short rib pot roast ($17), a simple, delicious dish, just the tender-to-the-fork beef, cooked with white truffle oil, and served with a celery root puree.
Fallen chocolate cake ($7) is velvety and rich, with dabs of raspberry and mango puree, a dollop of whipped cream, and a few fresh strawberries. Also excellent is banana bread pudding ($7), a large slab, both firm and moist, with slices of the yellow fruit, vanilla ice cream, and a drizzle of caramel sauce. Both are a lovely end to a fine meal.
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