Review: Tonic

JP’s brilliant but erratic new bistro
By ROBERT NADEAU  |  July 6, 2012
2.0 2.0 Stars

Given the name of the place, I had an "Amour" cocktail ($8.50), which uses soda water, Stoli raspberry, and lime juice to make a drier, pure white version of a raspberry lime rickey. It's not exactly a classic cocktail program: if you want a margarita, you order a "Margarita Tini" ($12). A pomegranate martini ($9) with a sugared rim perfectly reproduces the flavor of my childhood cough syrup.

Beers are not unusual, and a draft Long Trail IPA ($5), with promising cascade hops, had a bad finish that could send one back to bottled beer. An Allagash Belgian white ($6), not my favorite craft answer to Blue Moon, tasted like cigarette ash. As for wine, a glass of St. Clair Estate New Zealand 2009 "Vicar's Choice" pinot noir ($11) was a promising red that may need a little more time in bottle.

My favorite dessert was a lemon tart ($8): truly tart, more so than most Key lime pie, but all lemon and fine pastry. At the opposite extreme was a "chocolate-filled vegan Twinkie" ($8), like the nightmare of a child captured by a crunchy old witch in the forest and made to eat dry, crumbly shell with a bare hint of creamy chocolate center.

Décor at Tonic is not deconstructed, but it doesn't match, either: lights like city skylines, orchids, mirrors on the wall like a bistro, plastic furniture, TVs tuned to a satellite classic jazz channel. I'll watch the words "SonicTap" bounce around on a black screen any night they're playing Cannonball Adderley, but I may be the only one.

Robert Nadeau can be reached at robtnadeau@aol.com.

TONIC | $$ |3698A WASHINGTON STREET, JAMAICA PLAIN | 617.522.4131 | TONICBOSTON.COM | OPEN TUESDAY–SUNDAY, 4 PM–2 AM | AE, MC, VI | FULL BAR | SIDEWALK-LEVEL ACCESS | NO VALET PARKING

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