To tuxedoed people, velvet ropes are ordinary white picket fences and champagne fountains are lawn sprinklers. Kick down the fence and drink from the sprinkler with today's Groupon: for $20, you get $40 worth of dining and drinks at MANTRA, located in the Ladder District.
MANTRA serves up contemporary French-Indian cuisine, with executive chef Jerry Pabla's talented team of taste-tenders fusing Indian flavors with classic French cooking techniques to create a savory synthesis. The naan bar slings small plates toward food receptacles, with authentic eats such as apple and potato chaat ($10) and thoroughly modern mealies such as the naan kofta sliders—petite beef burgers served with tomato chutney ($12). Dinnerwise, diners can exact revenge on tomato-throwing ducks with a first course such as the indulgent seared foie gras ($22) or the roasted tomato soup ($9), with second course selections featuring the vegetarian-pleasing goat cheese and potato tikki ($22) and the carnivore-calming sesame-seed-crusted pork tenderloin ($25). Chef specialties include spice-marinated halibut ($32), rack of lamb ($38), and tandoor-roasted veal chop ($34). Rev up inner river rapids with cocktails, martinis, or wines from MANTRA's liquor locker.
Located in a former bank built in the 1800s, MANTRA pays tribute to its historic locale with an elegant décor haunted by the ghosts of dollars spent. Laser-cut mirrors and saffron silk drapery offset Italian marble walls and floors, decorated with the occasional wrought-iron detail borrowed from a banking past. Lounge on leatherette upholstery in the dining room, or sidle up to the bar, which is housed in a former teller's cage to prevent any spontaneous liquor larceny or rum robbing.
Esquire named Mantra one of the Best New Restaurants of 2001. Boston magazine named it Best New Restaurant of Boston for 2002. Around 170 Yelpers give the restaurant an average of three stars, and OpenTable reviewers give it an average of four stars:
- But those with discerning palates will be drawn in as well by chef Thomas John's magnificent blending of Indian and French flavors. Dishes like caramelized scallops with red-pepper coulis and curried canapes, rack of lamb with cumin-dusted potatoes and a ginger jus, and crisp sea bass with fava beans and a coconut emulsion make the menu an equal match to the striking decor. – Esquire
- Creations such as grilled lamb loin with saffron coconut sauce or spice-crusted halibut are so delicate and flavorful, they're swoon-inducing. – Boston
- Mantra is a keeper. Great service, friendly staff, excellent food. – OpenTable.com reviewer who dined on 06/23/2010