The natural progression of things is to start with a bold iconoclastic idea, which's then pasteurized, shrink-wrapped, and sold at Starbucks, under the title "Smooth Reggae". Inversing that trend, Stephi's on Tremont
With her tourist-filled Newbury spot already safely established, the better half of celebrity personal injury lawyer James Sokolove is happily regressing to a smaller, hepper, more succinctly named 78-seat edifice in the old Garden of Eden space, adding a marble staircase and wall, chandeliers, dark herringbone floors, and a wood-paneled "contemporary concrete" bar. Meaty highlights include Braised Short Rib served Stroganoff style over tagliatelle pasta & white truffle cream; Grilled Rib Eye w/ crumbled feta and garlic tater tots; and a cedar plank Hot Smoked Trout over a "hearty hash" of three beans, Yukon gold potatoes, and elephant garlic aioli -- strong enough to repulse a rhino, but not an over-served cougar. They've also got "lighter" fare like Crispy Parmesan Fritters stuffed with prosciutto, Hoisin-marinated BBQ Chicken, and a jumbo lump crab cake coated with crushed pretzel crust and served w/ tangy mustard, cause even the wealthy need pretzel dogs
In lieu of Stephanie's gigantor Newbury patio, this one'll roll out a small, understated area for outdoor dining as soon as it gets the go-ahead from Mother Nature -- which is still bold and iconoclastic, despite her noises being available next to an Aimee Mann CD and a cranberry crumb bar.