When a dependable cafe is replaced by a high-end restaurant, it can throw off the balance of a neighborhood. Suddenly the $16 fig and prosciutto pizza is out, and a $95 eight-course prix-fixe menu with a $60 wine pairing is in. What the heck is a hungry working girl supposed to do for dinner on a random Wednesday night?
Café 47 in the Back Bay wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, but it was an affordable oasis in a sea of trendy, spendy Newbury Street-style spots. Asta, the restaurant that opened in its place in January, offers three prix-fixe tasting menus, featuring unusual creations such as “after the storm,” an ocean-scented seaweed pasta studded with mussels, poached cabbage, fat salmon roe, dollops of Meyer lemon custard, and toasted seaweed, all of which does indeed look like what washes up on the beach after a nor’easter — but tastes infinitely better.