Saturday, April 15, 2017

Restaurant review: Chelsea Station

Chelsea Station is a good restaurant with not very good food ... yet.

The atmosphere is immediately pleasant and professional wait staff are attentive. The interior is spacious without feeling cavernous. The decor has a touch of industrial chic with exposed brick and large windows hinting at its location in working-class Chelsea, Massachusetts. The menu aspires beyond pub food or its slightly more upscale cousin, bistro food. You won't find the simple roast chicken or seared salmon at Chelsea Station. Located across the Charles river, even the trip there adds adventure to the dining experience. This restaurant is perfectly placed to be a superstar in the Boston food scene.

Until you get to the food. While the menu reaches, the preparation doesn't deliver. The potato, prosciutto and lobster dish that kicked off the meal is a case in point. What might have been an interesting combination of textures and flavors ended up as something closer to a potato salad with touches of lobster, or a lobster salad with too much potato and mayonnaise. Again, the restaurant is trying for bigger things but not achieving.

Following that, the crab ravioli suffered a similar judgment, a good idea let down by poor execution. The portion size was too big, the pasta too thick and tough, and the crab too dry. Another dish on the table, scallops with pork belly, a combination that might really tantalize by good combinations, failed to achieve, with the pork belly looking more like chunks of pork chop, too big and again too dry.

The drinks from the bar were very good though.

The restaurant has so many good things going for it, its staff, its location, its decor and layout, its overall vibe.

Still, it needs some tweaking, starting with the chef. That's a tough challenge given that a good restaurant revolves around its kitchen.

So here's the recommendation: go to Chelsea Station. Enjoy the drive there and the adventure of getting off the beaten track. Enjoy the pleasant staff and good service. And tell the restaurant honestly and openly what worked and what didn't on the plate, so that they can improve and become the great restaurant they are poised to be.

Chelsea Station

105 Everett Avenue, Chelsea