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RESTAURANT REVIEW

Voice of the People?

Vox Populi: Stand-out Drinks But Standard Food

By Lauren Nowierski

Vox Populi

755 Boylston Street

(617) 424-8300

Mon.-Sat. 11:30 a.m. - 11 p.m.; Sun. 11:30 a.m. - 3 p.m. and 5:30 - 11 p.m.

Trendy eateries are a dime-a-dozen in Boston, as well as in any major city in the United States. They all feature the same few elements: attitude, beautiful staff, pricey drinks, a great location, and inevitably sub-par food. According to these standards, Vox Populi of Boylston Street is no different.

Vox does have a prime people-watching location, arguably even a better view than the ever-popular Sonsie. The two-floor establishment boasts of two large, beautifully designed bars and two extensive lounge areas equipped to hold more than their share of customers on any given night. It has a six-table outdoor patio, which opens up into a fourteen table open-air cafÉ-style venue when the weather is warm.

Upstairs, outside of the bar and lounge area, Vox features a one-hundred-person dining room, as well as two separate areas for private parties. The dual floor layout is contorted enough to feel cozy despite its extensive size.

While Vox is not frequented by as many celebrities as its Newbury Street and Faneuil Hall competition, it does host many of the more beautiful people in Boston. The crowd varies depending on the time of the day, but it most frequently is the 20-something singles crowd straight out of work. There is no predetermined dress code; however, with the hordes of Louis Vuitton bags and Armani, one would feel out of place if dressed too casually. The staff itself is, not coincidentally, 95 percent beautiful females. Looking past the superficial is where one will find issues with Vox.

The appetizer list is fairly basic, ranging from the small Vox Salad at $5.00 to Chef Paul Sheffler’s infamous baby back ribs at $12.99. The best appetizer on the menu is the newly-added Lobster Risotto. The rice used is not too watery, and you definitely get more than your share of freshly prepared lobster chunks. Another mentionable appetizer would be the Vox Pu Pu Platter, featuring Americanized dumplings, fried calamari with macadamia nuts, and spring rolls; however, if you are in love with the Chinese versions of such dishes, I would highly recommend staying away from this platter. The Caesar Salad left something to be desired, as it was immersed in an excessive bath of mayonnaise. The Shrimp on Horseback was a surprisingly delightful appetizer, fairly filling and not as greasy as expected.

For entrees, the menu is extremely varied with many large salads, seafood dishes, pizzas, sandwiches, and meat dishes to choose from. The pizza is extremely small for the $9 price tag. It also suspiciously resembles frozen pizza from a supermarket, so unless you are willing to invest $20 on two Vox Martinis beforehand, I would highly suggest not even reading the pizza section of the menu. The sandwiches are fairly inexpensive and reliable.

The seafood dishes are the only real strong point to the menu. The most popular item on the menu is the new Baked Stuffed Shrimp. The dish features four jumbo, butterfly shrimp filled with fresh crabmeat and served over a bed of potato gnocchi. By far, the shrimp is the best dish on the menu. The second best dish on the menu is the Chilean Sea Bass prepared with fresh potatoes. The meat dishes are fairly decent, although nothing special.

The dessert menu is also basic, with only a few to choose from. The warm Chocolate Chip Cookies with a Grand Marnier sauce are delectable as is the Melting Chocolate Cake.

Vox is known for their martinis. They have extremely inventive, palatable martinis, but needless to say, you will definitely pay for them. At $9 to $12 a piece, the martinis are delicious but wallet emptying. The Vox infusions, fruit soaked in vodka, are extremely popular and have a unique flair to them.

If you are looking for a place to go for some appetizers, desserts, and drink while people-watching, Vox is the place to go. I would not recommend it for those under the legal drinking age, because in all seriousness, no one goes there just for the food. They go for the atmosphere, the fun, the beautiful people, and the drinks. Food is more or less an afterthought. Vox has a few good dishes, but nothing tremendous. If you are looking for great food in the Back Bay, I would recommend Abe and Louie’s down the street, Tapeo on Newbury, or Morton’s a few doors down.