Friday, February 6, 2009

Island Hopper--Golden Triangle of Flavor

We love restaurants where each bite is an adventure unto itself.  At the Island Hopper, every morsel makes your taste buds dance with delight.  The Hopper provides a mélange of Southeast Asian dishes ranging from Malaysian to Thai to Indian, with a little bit of Chinese, sprinkled on top like MSG[1]. 

The menu is extensive and consistently delicious. If you are unsure, the servers are especially knowledgeable and more than happy to lead you along the promised path to a satisfied stomach. A good start to the journey is the Tom Yum soup—a tangy, spicy broth with juicy shrimp floating like treasurers (it is amongst the finest that the Palatiers have every tried).  Accompany this with the Roti and curry sauce (vegetarian friendly).  As we discovered, it is a guaranteed crowd pleaser. 

The main course options will never fail you, but the specials menu really opens up a new frontier.  If they should have it, go for the duck. Good Beijing duck is a hard thing for a restaurant to master, but Hopper does an excellent job, and they will even wrap the pancakes in front of you!  It is the small accompaniments that gather the tastes together.  Hopper gives four options for rice with every dish. Count it: jade, brown, white and our personal favorite, the coconut. The udon noodles served in an earthen pot were also worth exploring. The Sea bass with tangy ginger sauce is a creation fit for an emperor or at very least, a local warlord. 

Although you might not initially feel up to it, dessert at the Hopper is a memorable affair.  We recommend either the green tea Mochi (an outer shell filled with an ice cream core) or the fried banana roti drizzled with chocolate sauce and topped with strawberries and cream (picture included). The Hopper is medium to expensive with entrees averaging 14.95. Also recommended are the smoothies at anytime.  Explore with family and friends, make sure to share the entrees, and always ask for chopsticks.

Island Hopper
91 Massachusetts Ave
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 266-1618

[1] On the subject of monosodium glutamate (the surname of MSG), one of the palateers is a fierce advocate of its usage.  The other palateer is on the fence.  MSG, in Chinese called  味精 weijingliterally perfect flavor, is like the crazy friend to a party.  It is the adrenaline shot in a marathon, it is the alcohol in beer.  In short, it makes everything taste delicious. Ignore the naysayers, who have been brainwashed by the medical community (the same people who tell us that putting fluoride into our water supply will make us healthier!).  Try the spice of life—MSG. 

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