Go for the inspired cuisine, stay for the service
Myers + Chang
1145 Washington St, Boston
Sunday – Thursday:
11:30 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Friday – Saturday:
11:30 a.m. — 11:00 p.m.
If you are a frequent customer at Flour, you may know that the bakery is owned by Joanne Chang, a chef who has made a name for herself in the Boston area. Besides running the four branches of the popular bakery, Joanne also heads an Asian fusion restaurant in the South End — Myers + Chang. Even though it is no easy trek to get there, I decided to give the restaurant a try and decide if the hype was deserved.
The restaurant is quite inconspicuous from the outside, but once I walked in, I immediately felt that Myers + Chang was the place to be. The host greeted me with a warm welcome. My waitress then led me through the restaurant, which was medium-sized and dimly lit with reddish lights. When we arrived at the seats overlooking the open kitchen, I noticed that one of the cooks busily preparing dishes was Chang.
Excited by the prospects of watching my food prepared right before my eyes, I perused the menu and chose a sampling of dishes from the wide selection. For an appetizer, I ordered the M+C apple kimchee. Unfortunately, I regretted my choice, as the dish was very sour, very spicy, and very gingery. In hindsight, I probably should have expected this, and I would not recommend it unless you are a fan of the ginger that often comes with sushi. The next dish that arrived was the Szechuan dan dan noodles. Here, I was disappointed by the texture of the noodles and felt as if I were eating spicy spaghetti.
However, the dinner soon took a turn for the better. One of my favorite dishes of the night was the salmon and green apple tartare. The fish and fruits were all chopped into small cubes. I used sesame crisps, which resembled tortilla chips, to scoop up the ingredients, which also included spinach and pomegranate seeds. The saltiness of the crisps complemented the sourness of the green apple chunks and the sweetness of the pomegranate seeds. To top it all off, the salmon was clearly high quality and fresh. Besides the tartare, I was most impressed by the tea-smoked pork spare ribs. The meat fell right off the bone, and I relished the slight taste of tea that complemented its sweetness. I much prefer this style of ribs over the more common BBQ ribs. Judging from my selection of dishes, it seems that Chang is using this restaurant as experimental playground to tweak some traditional Asian dishes.
At the end of the day, the two most crucial components of a restaurant are food and service. This is especially true at Myers + Chang, and I would not be doing justice to the restaurant if I did not mention its impeccable service. While I waited for my food to arrive, Chang greeted me personally. In addition, she asked about my food throughout the dinner. It was also clear that she was not giving me special treatment. The diners next to me also carried on a conversation with her, and, frankly, it appeared that most people at the restaurant knew the chefs and the waiters. This made for a very friendly and warm atmosphere that supplemented the attentive service of my waitress. Finally, on my way out of the restaurant, at least five different waiters thanked me for coming. Without a doubt, Myers + Chang prides itself on its service.
All in all, this Asian fusion restaurant is definitely worth a visit. It is tough trip via public transit, and the food is a bit expensive. However, it is important to visit with the understanding that the goal of this restaurant is not to serve great authentic Asian food, but rather Asian-influenced dishes with unique elements that set them apart. Ultimately, the atmosphere and service at Myers + Chang make it a great restaurant. The staff not only treats loyal customers well but also makes first-time diners feel right at home. How can it be a bad experience when Chang surprises you with an order of lemon shrimp dumplings on the house?