Parish Cafe is one of those Boston restaurants that everyone has visited. Well, everyone except me.
Opened in 1992, the menu consists largely of sandwiches created by other famous Boston chefs.
Parish Cafe sits on Boylston Street between Copley Square and the Public Garden. It has an outdoor patio with a great view and superb people watching.
We arrived at about 7:00pm on a Friday night and the wait for the patio was 45 minutes. Since we weren't in a rush, we headed inside to have a seat at the bar.
All the seats were taken, so we waited about five minutes until two stools luckily opened at the far right end of the bar. Once we were settled, I noticed the fun way Parish has their beer mugs hanging from the ceiling.
In the mood to celebrate the end of the work week, we each ordered a cocktail - the red wine sangria for my friend and the blood orange margarita for me. These drinks were enormous!
After about 20 minutes, the host called our name and we were ecstatic to take a seat on the patio. This was our view:
As I mentioned earlier, the Parish menu features sandwiches designed by other star Boston chefs like Joanne Chang, Jamie Bissonette and Michael Schlow. Lucky for me, every vegetarian choice was clearly marked with a letter "V."
While we attempted to narrow down our sandwich choices, we started with an appetizer. The vegetable potstickers were coated in a sticky, salty sauce and served with white rice, a spicy mayo-like dipping sauce and a soy sauce.
For my sandwich, I chose the Pudding Portobello by Debra Hughes, Chef/Owner of Upstairs on the Square in Harvard Square. I didn't choose it because of her, but that is one of my favorite restaurants.
The sandwich is mushrooms, Casio de Roma cheese, onion marmalade and walnut pesto. It comes with an excellent, cold, white bean salad over mixed greens.
I really couldn't taste any ingredient in the sandwich other than the mushroom. For me, the white bean salad was superior to the sandwich.
My dinner date chose the Regal Regis, created by Chef Susan Regis of Upstairs on the Square, which was a popular choice all around us. This sandwich is primarily steak and portobello mushrooms (a one color sandwich). It comes with a side of potato salad and cole slaw.
Though she only ate half the sandwich, she liked it enough to box it and take the rest home.
The one thing that stood out most to me about this dining experience is that the food at Parish comes out very quickly. I was amazed how little time passed between tables placing their orders and their plates arriving, no matter how many people were at the table.
Personally, I was underwhelmed by the food. While I love the menu concept and the view from the patio is unbeatable, I would only revisit for drinks.
Are you a fan of Parish Cafe? Did I just choose the wrong sandwich?