Enzo Chef Draws Culinary Inspiration from the Great Molasses Flood

Posted: January 14th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Enzo, Event, Newburyport | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

The Great Molasses Flood of 1919 fascinates many of us that grew up in the Boston area. And why not—the idea of an eight- to 15-foot wave of molten sugar syrup that and ravaged a couple of city blocks is pretty amazing. (There was a great pictorial in last week’s Globe.)

Chef Mary Reilly, owner of Enzo Restaurant & Bar in Newburyport is no exception, and she has taken her interest to a new level. Each year on the anniversary of the flood, she creates dishes with molasses to commemorate the event. When she opened the Enzo almost two years ago, she continued the tradition and offers diners a special menu for the occasion.

We caught up with Chef Reilly this weekend and asked her what spurred this connection for her. She told us that she likes unusual anniversaries and this one is especially interesting due to the molasses and because of the Italian immigrants in the North End who were affected.

“Even though the molasses in question was destined for industrial alcohol distillation, not consumption, molasses is an ingredient that doesn’t get a lot of respect these days,” she said. “I like to show its versatility, and this event gives me something to tie it to.”

So what will she be serving on Tuesday, the 94th anniversary of the disaster?

First, a Spiced Molasses Toddy will be on offer featuring Gloucester’s Folly Cove Rum, spices, molasses, and butter. (Hot Buttered Rum Day is January 17: start your celebration a few days early!)

On the savory side, Reilly will be serving a non-traditional bruschetta with house made Anadama bread (the traditional Cape Ann bread made with molasses), house butchered and smoked ham, taleggio, and molasses mustard.

And for a sweet end to their meal, diners can indulge in molasses cookie ice-cream sandwiches.

Whether you’re a Molasses Flood enthusiast or just interested in sampling unique menu items, head over to Enzo on Tuesday for a taste of history.

Enzo
50 Water Street, Newburyport
(978) 462-1801
www.enzo-restaurant.com

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North Shore Holiday Happenings

Posted: December 8th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Blue Ox, Boston Local Market, Enzo, Event, Nathaniel's at the Hawthorne Hotel, Smolak Farms, Victoria Station | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

There are a slew of culinary-related holiday events in the next few weeks, so let’s dive right in.

First up is the Holiday Local Market from 11:00 to 5:00 on Saturday. It’s in Boston but includes North Shore vendors Lark Fine Foods, Chococoa, and Blue Egg Baking Company. Go here for more information and to RSVP.

On Tuesday the 13th at 5:00, Victoria’s Station is hosting the 18th annual Salem Children’s Charity event. All proceeds from the event (which includes food, celebrities, auctions, and surprise guests) go to the less fortunate school children of Salem. $15 cover charge per person.

Rockport’s Christmas Pageant is taking place on Saturday the 17th, and the Emerson Inn is offering a three-course prime rib dinner from 5:00 to close for $33. They are donating 10% of the sales from this event to the Rockport Christmas Tree Committee. The are also offering a five-course New Year’s Eve dinner for $75 per person with selections like rack of lamb and shrimp florentine.

Also on the 17th, you can make your own gingerbread house at Smolak Farms in North Andover. The event is from 10:00 to 12:00 and costs $40. Call (978) 682-6332 to reserve a spot.

The Hawthorne Hotel is holding a number of holiday events, including a Teddy Bear Tea on the 17th, Brunch with Santa on the 11th and the 18th, as well as Christmas Eve dinner and a Christmas Day buffet brunch. Some friends of ours celebrated Thanksgiving at the hotel and raved about it. Check their events page for details.

Finally, the folks at Enzo in Newburyport are offering a traditional feast of the seven fishes on Friday the 23rd and Saturday the 24th. The menu includes house-smoked bluefish pate, lasagna with anchovy (a traditional Piemontese Christmas Eve pasta), broiled clams and mussels, and much more for $50 per person. Enzo is also planning a New Year’s Eve dinner where diners can select from one of four offerings for each course. Personally, we’re interested in the duck conserva raviolo with egg yolk, duck sugo, and crisp leeks and the crema fritta with chocolate sauce and gianduja gelato. The cost is $65 per person, and wine pairings will be available.

One final note—we’d like to congratulate Lynn’s Blue Ox for being named one of the top 100 American fare restaurants in the US by OpenTable. Fantastic news!

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Enzo Makes Northern Italian Even Better With Local Ingredients

Posted: March 22nd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: American, Enzo, Italian, Newburyport, Seafood | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

Chef and owner Mary Reilly

New restaurants are always exciting, and our visit to Enzo Restaurant in Newburyport last week was especially so. We met the owners, Dave and Mary Reilly, shortly after we started North Shore Dish. At the time, Mary was a personal chef and taught specialty cooking classes. She and Dave had dreamed of owning a restaurant for years, and last week it came to fruition.

We were invited to the restaurant’s soft opening for friends and family. The restaurant opens to the public tonight. Obviously, we’re not presenting our normal review here as we did not dine anonymously. But the food at Enzo is spectacular, and although we’re not unbiased, we stand behind the recommendations here.

Light and tender fritto misto

The idea behind Enzo is an interesting one: Northern Italian cuisine with an emphasis on seasonal, local ingredients and a nod to New England traditions. It’s a twist we hadn’t experienced before, and it makes for some great combinations.

We started with an order of house-made potato chips with caramelized onion dip ($5). The chips are large and crisp, perfect for dipping in the savory onion and white bean mixture. We had dip left over, and our waitress offered to bring some bread so we could continue happily dipping. We also sampled the fritto misto, in this case made with Rhode Island squid and tiny Maine shrimp, served with garlic mayo and fried lemon slices ($10). It was exceptionally light for a fried dish, and the squid was more tender than usual.

The Caldwell Smash

To round out our fried-food extravaganza, we nibbled on breaded olives stuffed with herbed cheese ($5) and declared them the perfect bar snack. We also tried two of the house cocktails, both made with spirits from Gloucester’s Ryan and Wood Distillery. The Caldwell Smash combines Folly Cove rum, allspice, dram, apricot brandy, lemon, honey syrup, and mint in a refreshing balance of sweet and tart ($10). The Cane Nebbioso features Beauport vodka, fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice, and Ramazzotti liqueur ($9).

The emphasis that Mary puts on using top-quality ingredients and making as much as possible in-house came through even more clearly in our entrées. The bread for the pork sausage sandwich was a house-made stecca roll, and the sausage is from New Hampshire’s Kellie Brook Farm. It was accompanied by garlicky greens and house-made chips ($14).

Indian pudding with zabaglione ice cream, bacon brittle & bourbon syrup

Fresh bread showed up again in the chicken under a brick ($21), this time in the form of big cubes of foccacia in an unconventional stuffing. The chicken was moist inside with very crispy skin, and the half-bird serving allowed us to enjoy it for lunch the next day.

We tried two traditional Italian dishes, and both were outstanding. The risotto was cooked in red wine for an unbelievable flavor, and the poached egg on top added a further touch of richness ($16). The filled pasta called pansotti was so good we kept eating long after we should have stopped—the cheese filling was flavorful, the walnut pesto was creamy, and the pasta was almost paper thin ($18).

The New England side of the restaurant’s equation gets a bit more play after dinner. All desserts are made in-house, and they are worth the indulgence. Mary has taken the childhood favorite of many, Indian pudding, to a new level with zabaglione ice cream, bacon brittle, and bourbon syrup ($7).

Chocolate addicts can get their fix with the chocolate tart featuring thick caramel and dark chocolate ganache. But the surprise favorite was the lemon posset, an impossibly silky, very tart pudding served with softly whipped cream ($6) that we hope never goes off the menu.

Enzo Restaurant & Bar
50 Water Street, Tannery Marketplace, Newburyport
(978) 462-1801
www.enzo-restaurant.com

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