Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Fire and Ice

Matt and his parents introduced me to Fire and Ice last spring. An interesting restaurant to say the least. If you like your dining experience to involve no effort nor energy on your part, this place is not for you. However, if you are feeling over-selective about your meal, like stir fry in general, and like a fun experience, then Fire and Ice is a good choice.

The place is set up like a gigantic salad bar, except that half of the salad bar is raw meat, poultry, fish, and seafood, and various veggies, fruits, and noodles to choose from. Pile up a bowl, then go over to the sauce station (there's about a dozen options), and select a sauce. You bring your loaded bowl and ramekin of sauce to the massive round grill, and then get to watch as your meal is stirfried in front of you. At lunch you get one trip to the salad bar and one trip to the grill. At dinner, you have unlimited trips to both. At dinner, this is fun, because you can have two small plates of divergent dishes and feel even more creative.

Because of my bivalve allergy, I don't get to watch my food stirfried on the giant grill like everyone else. Instead, my meal is cooked in the back kitchen on a grill that won't kill me. However, what I enjoy about Fire and Ice is how you can have exactly what you want to eat (within the limits of stir fry of course).

Yesterday I filled my bowl with slices of andouille sausage, chunks of aged sirloin, bell peppers, red onions, scallions, and some minced roasted garlic. A lot of the sauces are very sugary, but the spicier sauces can be more savory. This time I chose to fill the ramekin with half sweet chili sauce and half szechuan sauce. My sinuses got a wonderful clearing, and I had exactly the meal I wanted, without any ingredients I wasn't in the mood for.

With your stir fry comes rice and tortillas. I usually have just the rice, and it is white rice, brown is not an option. Yesterday I think the rice I had was warmed in a microwave due to its gummy texture. So that was a bummer. I ate at the bar yesterday and found myself in conversation with another diner about the inanity of Palin when we were interrupted by the bartender (we were also speculating as to why Fox News was the news channel of choice at a restaurant in Harvard Square, hotbed of liberalism). The bartender wanted to tell me that she didn't think Palin is stupid (my argument being that whether you agree with her policies or not, she cannot be any measure by consider an intellectual person). I still gave her a full tip, but that is because I didn't want her to think liberals are stingy. But she did not deserve a good tip. As I have pointed out before, waiters and the such have no business engaging in political discussions with patrons. Especially when uninvited to do so.

Overall as a restaurant I give Fire and Ice (both Boston locations) a low B. Most of the meats and veggies are of average to above average quality, although some of the fish looks a little suspect to me and their starches could definitely be of higher quality. Best to go when it is very busy and there is a lot of turnover, or first thing when they open. However, service at the grill can be excruciatingly slow when busy. In terms of service, although friendly, a previous beer order error and yesterday's political faux pas bumps them down in that department. A good place for a group of people with different eating habits and appetites or when on your own and desiring of a very specific something.

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