Asana Rachel Klein recently donned the Executive Chef apron at Asana, in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, and you’ll want to try out her new menu items.
Klein’s earliest influences are eastern European: her mother is Russian, her father Romanian. She developed a sophisticated palate early on with extensive family travel throughout Europe and the United States. Her grandmother was a cook in Eastern Europe; her mother shunned all preservatives and shopped organically in New York City. Klein combines both sophistication and a preference for organic ingredients in her menus.
Her global dishes first became recognized nationally as Executive Chef at X.O. Café in Providence, then as Executive Chef of Lot 401 in Providence, named one of America’s best new restaurants in 2004 by Esquire.
She earned more accolades at OM Restaurant in Cambridge, recognized by the Boston Globe and Boston magazine as Best New Chef, and nationally noted by Esquire and Conde Nast Traveler. She further honed her style at Aura, at the Seaport Hotel. Klein is excited about her new gig at Asana, which gives her a chance to try out flavors from around the world, from Middle Eastern to Asian to Italian and more.
Asana draws a hotel guest crowd for breakfast, business crowd for lunch, and a good mix for dinner. Inside, Asana has a quiet, low-lit contemporary atmosphere with a comfortable bar, where we tried a selection of fun appetizers.
Staffers say the most fave item on their menu is the crispy artichoke salad, and it didn’t disappoint; it was indeed crispy, with baby lettuce, garlic confit, coriander dressing and parmigiano Reggiano. But for a bigger treat, the lobster beignets with creamed corn and Chinese sausage with chili aioli and pea tendrils were a savory-sweet blend of addictiveness.
I took several tastes of the foie gras terrine, which featured a rosewater funnel cake that was a thin wafer with pistachios, medjool dates, a stout reduction and mustard greens. It tasted slightly citrusy, strangely enough. Not the healthiest item on the menu, but everything in small amounts. So creamy and rich.
The ricotta gnocchi featured foraged mushroom and English peas with Marcona almonds and cave aged gouda.
Summer tomato salad featured yellow heirloom tomatoes upon watermelon, topped with sheep’s milk feta, mint, cilantro, and chaat masala vinaigrette.
Chilled beet borscht had a slight potato taste, topped with sour cream and dill; it was sweet and cold for a perfect summer dish.
The steak and eggs sounded dull, but it is wonderful. Picture a truffled quail egg, poached and enveloped in a breaded shell, that bursts open and oozes onto a puff of potato puree and asparagus and topped with red wine sauce.
The most accessible dish was the crunchy tempura shrimp skewers, best dredged in a Thai chili castrique.
Klein will make any dish accessible to any allergy or preference.
Asana’s Summer Restaurant Week dinner menu, available through August 31:
- The chilled beet borscht, or Hirame Sashimi with Chili, Cilantro, Ginger, Tempura Crispies
- Lacquered Salmon Or Pork Tenderloin or Orecchiette
- Basil Panna Cotta or Caramelized Peach Tart, Yogurt Gelato and Candied Almonds Or Dark Chocolate Mousse, Cherry Granita with Olive Powder
(617) 535 8800
776 Boylston Street, Boston