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C. Paul Luongo's Published Columns

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Top of the Hub
52nd Floor, Prudential Towers

By C. Paul Luongo

On a clear day, you can almost see New Hampshire’s Mt. Monadnock from the Prudential Center’s 52nd floor, home of the Top of the Hub. Boasting such an impressive view over the city skyline, it is obvious why it has been a Boston attraction since 1965. General Manager Raphael Oliver has overseen the Top of the Hub through three transformations since he began in 1990. Describing this latest renovation as a “softer” look, he points to the cream-colored linens, the recently-installed wine cellars partitioning the dining space, and the clean architectural lines that come together to create a surprisingly intimate atmosphere.
The polished and expert wait staff quickly serves exotic drinks as Oliver chats amiably about his desire to continue adding to the restaurant’s growing wine list. The Three Berry Martini ($12) with Stoli Blueberi Vodka, Chambord, cranberry juice, and sweet & sour, is a heady blend of summery fruit, while the Watermelon Martini ($11) with Ketel One and watermelon liqueur is a lighter, more subtle option (without a watermelon garnish). The Silk Pomegranate Martini ($13) was a bitterly refreshing blend of Silk Vodka and pomegranate juice, and the Tropical Splash ($10) was a tropical, sweet, clean and refreshing bouquet of Bacardi “O”, Bacardi Limon, Bacardi Coco, and pineapple juice. Fortunately, for the guest who believes that calling anything except the classic Beefeater, dry with three plump olives, a martini, is near blasphemy, the Top of the Hub’s bartender understands the subtle art of creating the perfect treatment for gin.
To start, we are presented with the Tempura Shrimp ($16), attractively plated in
the elegant and simple Asian-inspired style. Biting into the lightly-battered shrimp, the pineapple glaze gives it a sweet afterthought.
As the next appetizer is brought to our table, Executive Chef Mark Porcaro explains how they prepare the Chicken Lollipops that are settled in front of us. In his
quiet way, he describes how they are steamed, drenched in corn starch and deep-fried, and then tossed in a sambal honey sauce. The plates are cleared quickly as we are served a small sampling of the Capellini Pasta ($28 for a full order) with Braised Baby Clams, Pancetta, Garlic, and Roasted Tomatoes. Additionally, the Tartar of Yellowfin Tuna ($15) with Avocado, Cilantro, and Pickled Ginger was memorable for its flavor, texture and freshness.
The soup that is brought out next is the cause of some light-hearted debate. Sopa Vermelha ($7) is a Portuguese soup with chorizo, potato, beans, and a thick, textured tomato-based broth. It is closely reminiscent of kale soup, which spurs a good-natured debate over the nature of “proper” kale soup between Oliver and Porcaro. Their congenial banter continues for a few moments as the table is cleared to make room for the entrées.
The Braised Lamb Shank ($29) with Roasted Garlic, Rosemary mashed potatoes, Lamb juice and Gremolata is a Brobdingnagain (more than a pound) serving of delectable lamb falling off the bone, and enough for two, really!
The Dry Aged Sirloin ($44), aged for 22 days, was worth the wait, perfectly served charbroiled on the outside with a cool pink-red center.
Adobo Rubbed Grilled Center Cut Pork Chop ($28) came on the bone, and was a thick, juicy mouthful. The creamy masa offered a smooth, corn-infused side dish and blended perfectly with the chunky tomato, green pepper and red onion salad heaped over the chop.
The Sauteed Salmon ($29) was heavenly, with tender, buttery meat topped with a
crispy-thin layer and served over black truffle corn polenta. The sweetness of the polenta was complemented beautifully by the 2005 Hitching Post Pinot Noir, a tarty red with a little buzz.
To finish the evening in style, trays laden with every dessert on the menu are laid on the table. The Caramelized Pineapple Vanilla Bean Tea Cake ($9) is served with Chai Tea Ice Cream and Myer Lemon-Honey Coulis. The Toasted Coconut & White Chocolate Mouse ($9) was sweet and playful, while the decadent Warm Chocolate Cake
($9) is paired with refreshing mint ice cream to contrast with the richness of the dessert.
The Crème Brûlée ($9) is dangerously addictive as their special dessert offering. The Freshly Baked Cookies ($12), including sugar, peanut butter, chocolate chip, and Heath bar, are served with Chantilly Cream and come warm and soft, straight from the oven.
Whether you’re looking for the perfect spot to host your special event, share a romantic dinner, or impress your friends from out of town, the restaurant will cater perfectly to your needs. Its welcoming and elegant atmosphere, excellent cuisine, and personable staff, (not to mention the most stunning view in Boston), make The Top of the Hub one of Boston’s most timeless gems.
Top of the Hub
52nd Floor, Prudential Towers
All major credit cards accepted.

Open 7 days a week 11:30am - 1:00am and Sunday brunch beginning at 11:00am.
The lounge hosts live music nightly including vocalists on weekends, with no cover charge, though there is a $24 minimum if seated at one of the lounge tables.
Sun & Mon: 8:00 pm-12:00 amTues - Thurs: 8:30 pm-12:30 amFri & Sat: 9:00 pm-1:00 am
August 2007
C. Paul Luongo is the President of C. Paul Luongo Company,
Public Relations & Marketing, Boston.