Friday, April 30, 2010

Boston Happy Hour: Noir at the Charles Hotel

posted by Katie

What: Noir's 5-4-3-2-1-0 menu
Where: The Charles Hotel in Harvard Square
When: 5-7pm Mon-Thurs

During my first few months in Boston I had a problem. There were so many places that I wanted to explore, things I wanted to do, restaurants I wanted to try, but the few people that I knew always seemed to be busy. So I sat at home and felt sorry for myself. But then after awhile I had this epiphany: I could go by myself.

After years of running around in a pack of close girlfriends, venturing out on my own was scary at first, but I soon found out that it could also be fun. I get to do what I want to do, go where I want to go, and not have worry about anyone else. I like it.

But there's one solo activity I still haven't mastered: the art of dining out alone.

This past Wednesday was the last day of my internship and I wanted to celebrate. My internship shuttle drops everybody off right in front of the Charles Hotel and so I thought that my last day would be the perfect excuse to finally check out Noir's version of happy hour (which I've been wanting to do for months.) I hadn't managed to scrounge up anyone to go with me so I sucked it up and bellied up to the bar alone.

Monday through Thursday Noir offers their 5-4-3-2-1-0 menu. The selections include $5 flatbreads, $4 sandwiches, $3 snacks, $2 salads, $1 sweets and free nuts. In order to get the 5-4-3-2-1-0 prices, diners must order at least a $6 drink.

Since I was feeling stingy (enjoy my money, Vegas), I decided to opt out of the $10-$13 cocktails and went instead with the $8 Sangria made with syrah, ruby port, apricot brandy, peachtree schnapps, peach puree, and a splash of oj and soda.

Kind of a lot of ingredients, and it was good, but not the best I've had. Next time I'll probably just spring for one of the cocktails instead.

As far as food, the flatbread with dried peaches, goat cheese, prosciutto, and balsamic reduction with arugula (usually $10) jumped out at me right away so I went with it without really looking over any of the other choices.

It smelled AMAZING and was bigger than I expected, but I was disappointed with the prosciutto. From my previous experience, prosciutto should be thinly sliced and cured. This prosciutto came in thick clumps and was rather crispy. It reminded me more of bacon or pancetta. It was not bad, but also was not what I was expecting.

Sitting next to me was a fellow solo happy hour-goer who appeared to be a regular. He ordered the flatbread with four cheeses, spiced tomato sauce and crispy basil. All the bartenders raved about it when they saw his choice, which made me think that I might have picked the wrong flatbread.

That's ok though, because I loved the vibe at Noir. Nice and dark with a good afterwork crowd. Friendly bartenders too. While I chatted a bit with the four cheese flatbread guy, I was glad that I brought my book with me (still working on dining alone without any distractions) and I didn't feel out-of-place reading at the bar, which was nice.

I plan to return again soon...and this time with someone else in tow so that I can try more than one thing off their menu!