I finally visited the new Legal Test Kitchen on Northern Ave in Boston, which is a welcome addition to the growing number of dining spots near my office.
LTK represents Roger Berkowitz's (president of Legal Seafoods) move away from a strictly seafood focus and towards a more "21st century" dining experience, complete with digital menus, WiFi, iPod docking stations, and a broad menu selection that includes much more than the traditional lobster and scrod.
Despite hearing all the buzz about the technology offerings inside (plasma screen menus in the bar area?) we elected to dine on the sidewalk patio and enjoy the breeze coming off of the waterfront. We did, however, take the server up on her offer to bring an iPod docking station to our table, where we proceeded to listen to some down-tempo lounge music off of my iPod (just so we could say we did it!).
While I'm a huge fan of technology, it seems forced here; instead of really enhancing the dining experience, the infusion of tech at LTK seems a bit gimmicky. Since we were outside, and the only ones playing music, it worked out ok (a 12 year old boy at the table near us got a big kick out of it!). But I have to think the individual music players would get old quickly if there were multiple devices in play, and/or certain diners chose to play loud or offensive music. I can't even imagine how this goes over when eating inside!
But the food at LTK - which really should be the focus here - was excellent. They have a quirky menu, broken down into categories like Bare (sushi and raw bar), Nosh (appetizers), Simmer (soups), Nibble (small plates), Refresh (salads) and Comfort (Main Dishes). Like the technology, I think this odd labeling represents an establishment trying too hard to be different, but when the food finally arrived it really was excellent.
We started with the calamari (which had extra "bite" thanks to hot vinegar peppers and garlic aioli) and dynamite tuna (sushi roles that were actually hollowed-out cucumber rounds filled with tuna - DELISH). For the main course, I had an excellent piece of broiled haddock with a lemon-caper sauce, accompanied by green beans and parmesan shoestrings. My companion had the shoestrings as well, but with blackened tuna (also delicious) and garlicky spinach.
LTK's menu has a lot of other fun and interesting items (heavy Asian influence), as well as desserts and fancy cocktails. While the techno-bells-and-whistles aren't really a reason to go back, the food (and for me, the location) definitely make it a worthwhile trip.