Posted: January 28th, 2013 | Author: JR | Filed under: 62 Restaurant & Winebar, Italian, Mediterranean, Salem | Tags: Chef Antonio Bettencourt, Fan Favorites Dinner, Happy Anniversary | No Comments »
There are a lot of reasons we were excited to be invited to the first of three dinners to celebrate 62 Restaurant & Wine Bar’s fifth anniversary. First, it promised to be a fun night of reminiscing on five years of success and how it came to be. Second, we have never forgotten how Chef Tony Bettencourt bravely led the way to a local food renaissance when he opened a fine-dining restaurant at a time when the North Shore was known only for pubs and clam shacks.
The third reason, of course, was the food. And it did not disappoint. The theme for the dinner was inspiration—dishes that reflect the journey that Bettencourt took from restaurant work and culinary school to ultimately becoming a chef/owner (with a six-year detour into truck driving, of all things).
The first course was a delightful, varied antipasti with house-cured salumi, roasted beets topped with sea salt, pickled mushrooms, and sweet and sour cippoline onions. While we sampled, Chef Bettencourt told us about the early days of his journey, ending with an unexpected shift to Italian food (he had trained almost exclusively in French cuisine). From a photo he saw of an antipasti table in a trattoria, he began his journey into a cuisine he adores and works every day to master.
Next was the pasta course, harking back to a meal Bettencourt and his wife ate on a culinary tour of Tuscany. Both the tortelli di patate and mushroom tagliatelle were spot on in terms of flavor and texture. We then received an extraordinary seafood dish that Bettencourt described as his twist on fennel citrus salad and reflective of the way he likes to cook now. Shaved fennel was topped with green olive tapenade, crispy prosciutto (house made), a perfectly seared sea scallop, and a spicy pickled grapefruit segment. Not only was the grapefruit a completely new sensation (spicy? grapefruit?), but the various elements came together to create a perfectly balanced dish.
The meat course consisted of house made garlic sausage, hanger steak thinly sliced and topped with salsa verde, and pork ribs over roasted fennel and potatoes. All three elements were extraordinary—so full of flavor and melt-in-your mouth tender, especially the rib. Bettencourt again explained that his style is to bring out the flavors of food rather than overwhelm them with sauces or extraneous components.
We ended the meal with tiramisu, once again with a twist. Rather than a layered dessert served as a rectangular slab, this was house-made ladyfingers completely saturated with espresso and rum topped with a delectable mascarpone cream sauce. Yes, we’ve all had our fill the ubiquitous tiramisu and, no, none of it tasted like this.
The best news about this dinner is that it’s the first of three in a celebratory series. The second dinner takes place on Wednesday, February 20 and will feature dishes from 62 Restaurant & Wine Bar’s very first menu. The final meal is Fan Favorites, on March 20. Diners are voting now for their favorite dish from the past five years on Facebook, and the winning dishes will appear on that evening’s menu. The dinner is $62 per person, not including tax or tip. Learn more about the dinners and information on reservations on their website.
Chef Bettencourt’s five-year anniversary made us realize that we launched North Shore Dish just over four years ago. Boy, has the North Shore restaurant scene blossomed since then! Happily some things haven’t changed: one of our earliest posts described a fantastic dinner we had at 62.
62 Restaurant & Wine Bar
62 Wharf St, Salem
Posted: January 23rd, 2013 | Author: KN | Filed under: News | Tags: Anthony Anathas, North Shore Nostalgia, The Essex Room, The General Glover House | No Comments »
I am one of four siblings, and with six at the table during dinner when I was growing up, things could get rowdy at times. Upon seeing a display of shocking manners, my father would shake his head and say, “You’ll never get to the General Glover that way.”
For years, the General Glover remained a mythic place in our minds—a posh eatery we were sure to be kicked out of. However, like many who lived on the North Shore, we did end up going to the General Glover for various celebratory meals over the years.
Named after the famed Revolutionary War general who was born in Salem and lived in Marblehead, the General Glover was an upscale steak house on Route 1A in Swampscott. It was opened in 1957 by restaurant legend Anthony Anathas. (Anathas opened Anthony’s in Lynn in 1937 and Hawthorne by the Sea in Swampscott in 1946. He would go on to open Anthony’s Pier 4 in Boston in 1963.)
Theme restaurants flourished across American roadsides in the 1950s, and the General Glover reflected New England’s favorite theme: the colonial inn. The vast Essex Room featured a huge fireplace, seascapes, and exposed beams hung with all manner of lanterns and copper pots. As kids, we loved that the waitresses were dressed in colonial style, with long dresses and aprons topped by a frilled white cap.
During meals, there was a battalion of those waitresses making their way around the dining room offering various foodstuffs from baskets or trays. The popovers were legendary—fresh, hot, and crisp. The menu consisted of standard steak house fare, and I recall everything being quite good, especially the prime rib, but those popovers are forever remembered as a paragon of baked goods.
The General Glover closed in the late ’90s, and the building has been standing derelict ever since. The Anathas family still owns the property and sporadically uses some of the buildings on it, but the restaurant stands as a deserted reminder of the past. Walking by it recently, we saw the old captain’s chairs stacked by a window, ghosts of the once memorable Essex Room.
Fortunately, the building hasn’t become a hazard like its counterpart in Lynn. City officials have been trying to get the Anathas family to address the crumbling vacant building that once housed the original Anthony’s and has become a danger to pedestrians. It’s mystifying that they have let these properties fall into disrepair.
While I have no idea what the future holds for the General Glover House property, I am happy I that had a chance to be a part of its past.
Posted: January 14th, 2013 | Author: KN | Filed under: Enzo, Event, Newburyport | Tags: Anadama Bread, Boston Molasses Disaster, Chef Mary Reilly, Folly Cove Rum, Hot Buttered Rum Day, Molasses, The Great Molasses Flood | 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.
50 Water Street, Newburyport
Posted: January 10th, 2013 | Author: KN | Filed under: Asian, Peabody, Pho Triple 888 | Tags: 888, Chinese, Pho, Thai, Vietnamese | 1 Comment »
Deciding to dine at this Peabody eatery may have you second-guessing yourself. First off, there’s the name. Pho Triple…wait, what? Triple 888. Apparently in Chinese culture the number 888 is lucky and brings prosperity, so why not triple your luck?
Second, the restaurant sits in a small strip mall on Route 1 in Peabody next door to a tattoo shop, and its dining room is quite drab.
The food, however, dispels all reservations. The large menu features mostly Vietnamese and Thai dishes with a few Chinese specialties thrown in.
We started with fresh spring rolls that included grilled chicken with the usual vermicelli, lettuce, and Asian basil ($4.95). They were light and lovely, and the peanut sauce accompaniment was not too sweet.
A bowl of Pho sounded the thing to fight the January chill, and we were not disappointed. The Tai Gan, a beef pho with rare steak and well-done flank ($7.45 for a large) was delicious. The steak arrived at the table rare and slowly cooked in the steaming soup. The broth was rich and complex with a pleasing umami.
The Mi Hai San, a seafood soup with vermicelli noodles ($7.95) was lighter but still savory, aromatic, and very filling.
The third dish we tried was the Bun Tom Noung, which featured grilled shrimp nestled on a bed of rice vermicelli and veggies ($8.75). The shrimp was firm and flavorful, and the vegetables fresh and crunchy.
We left the table pleased with the meal and the prices. We were not so impressed with the bathroom or the murmuring old TV surrounded by random videos in the dining room, but if you’re feeling adventurous and your idea of Asian food goes beyond the kitschy Kowloon fare served down the road, Triple 888 is worth investigating.
Pho Triple 888
136 Newbury St, Peabody
Posted: January 6th, 2013 | Author: admin | Filed under: News | Tags: Boston Globe North, New Restaurants for 2013 | No Comments »
I’m sure you’ve noticed things have been a bit slow the past month here at the Dish. Fear not, now that the holidays are over you’ll be hearing from us more often. The good news is that we have been asked to write an occasional column for the Boston Globe North dining section and our first piece came out today, so you can get your Dish fix right here: Fresh North Shore restaurants to explore in 2013
Posted: December 14th, 2012 | Author: KN | Filed under: Bakery, Cakes for Occasions, Danvers | Tags: cakes, Cookies, Cupcakes, Cupcakes After 5, Gluten Free, Kelly Delaney, pies, treats | No Comments »
Whether you’re in need of treats for a holiday gathering or looking for a wow-them hostess gift, Cakes for Occasions is the place to go.
The Danvers bakery has been featured on “TV Diner,” “The Today Show,” and even “Home Shopping Network,” so we were eager to see what all the fuss was about.
Walking through the door is like stepping into a sugar-fueled fantasy. Rows of gorgeous cakes, pastries, and cupcakes await your ogling pleasure, as well as shelves full of cookies, candies, and all manner of treats. We love the fact that you can see into the decorating kitchen to watch cakes being created.
Owner Kelly Delaney had a few minutes to chat with us and told us about the store’s recent renovations, which doubled the space this summer. Delaney is smart, funny, and clearly knows her business.
Overwhelmed by the array of treats, we opted to try a few varieties of cupcakes. The cupcakes range from traditional chocolate and vanilla to gourmet flavors like Death by Chocolate, Mocha Bliss, 24Karrot, and Strawberry Grand Marnier. ($1.25 to $2.95).
There’s nothing worse than a cupcake that’s all décor and no flavor, but these beauties weren’t just pretty to look at. The chocolate cupcake topped with coconut frosting was lush and moist, and the frosting had rich coconut flavor. The snowman-topped holiday cupcake we brought home for our junior tasted garnered raves as well. She was delighted that the frosting was “light and creamy, not heavy and gross.”
We also tried a few of cocktail-inspired mini-cakes dubbed Cupcakes After 5 ($2.25). Both the Champagne & Strawberries and the Kahlua Mudslide were delicious, but we didn’t find them particularly boozy. And because they are smaller, the topping-to-cake ratio gives a sweeter overall experience. For the price, we’d go with the larger specialty flavors.
Those with special dietary needs will be glad to know that bakery is not only 100% nut-free, but also offers options for gluten free and sugar-free treats, so don’t be afraid to inquire.
Cakes for Occasions has a .pdf Holiday menu and online ordering at their website, but we suggest stopping by the bakery for the full sensory experience.
Cakes for Occasions
57 Maple Street, Danvers
Posted: December 3rd, 2012 | Author: JR | Filed under: Bakery, Breakfast, Cafe, Daily Harvest Cafe, Danvers, Vegitarian/Vegan | No Comments »
We love the idea of fast casual, but we usually find the food sub-par, particularly the freshness of the ingredients. We found just the opposite at a recent lunch in Danvers’ Daily Harvest Café. To be blunt, this place is what we wish Panera Bread was.
We had soup, sandwiches, and a sweet treat, and all exceeded our standards. The roasted vegetable soup ($3.99 for a cup) was hot and full of flavor. It was also full of delicious vegetables.
The turkey melt includes grilled asparagus, caramelized onion, provolone cheese, and honey mustard ($8.49). It’s a good-sized sandwich served on harvest wheatberry bread with all-natural turkey that is not your typical restaurant/deli fare. The Thai wrap is also generously sized, with huge pieces of white-meat chicken; moist Jasmine rice; carrots, cucumber, and peanuts for crunch; and light peanut sauce ($7.99). We appreciated the sandwiches came with a choice of carrots or apple slices in lieu of the ubiquitous chips.
There are a lot of things to like about the menu, including four or five soup specials each day, vegetarian and vegan options, a breakfast menu, a kids selection not full of processed foods, and coffee drinks like chai latte and caramel macchiato. The prices are on the high side for lunch, but you pay almost as much for inferior ingredients served by surly staffers at other fast casual places.
We were tempted by the cheesecake brownies at the counter, as well as the good-looking muffins, but we somehow couldn’t resist trying a frosted cinnamon bun ($3.25), which not surprisingly was fresh, not overly sweet, and delicious.
The next time you need something wholesome and delicious in the Danvers area, definitely head for the Daily Harvest.
Daily Harvest Café
103 High St, Danvers
Posted: October 30th, 2012 | Author: JR | Filed under: American, Barrel House American Bar, Beverly, Bistro, Drinks | Tags: Anesti Lazarides, Nik Paras, Patrick Shea, Sean Maher | No Comments »
The Beverly restaurant scene is shifting rapidly, and we were thrilled to get a sneak peek at the new restaurant going into the space held by Mandrake. We were quite fond of Mandrake, but having seen the interior and the menu for Barrel House American Bar, we’re even more excited by the newcomer.
A barrel house is a room for aging whisky, and American Bar refers to the American bartenders who set up shop in Europe during prohibition. Thus, the new spot is an American bistro with a neighborhood feel and an emphasis on classic and craft cocktails. It’s owned by Nik Paras and Anesti Lazarides (of Soma and Wrapture) and Sean Maher (shown at left), formerly bar manager at Tryst and now managing partner. We loved Sean’s work and are excited to have him back on the local scene after a stint at Eastern Standard. The chef is Patrick Shea (of the Tom Shea family), also recently of Eastern Standard.
We saw the space under construction, but with the windows cleared of curtains, a new tin ceiling, and a beautiful 20-seat cast-pewter bar, it looks cozy yet hip. When you belly up to the bar, you’ll have local beers and interesting wines to choose from, along with the aforementioned cocktails made with craft spirits, fresh purees and juices and the appropriate ice (think crushed or unique cubes).
You may also want to partake of the raw bar, the house-cured charcuterie, a few chef-selected cheeses, or bar snacks like truffled parmesan popcorn and foie gras stuffed cherries marinated in sweet whisky.
At the nearby banquettes and the 22′ family table made from reclaimed boards (from the First Baptist church recently moved in Salem) you can sample small plates or go right for comforting entrees like mac & cheese, baked haddock, steak frites, or mustard seed encrusted Scottish salmon. Entrée prices run from $18 to $32.
With a strong restaurant pedigree and an intriguing menu that’s not special-occasion priced, we have high hopes for this Beverly entry, which will open in late November. Look for us in the bar…
Barrel House American Bar
252 Cabot Street, Beverly
978-998-4627 (active soon)
Posted: October 26th, 2012 | Author: KN | Filed under: American, Casual/Pub Food, Lynn, Rolly's Tavern on the Square | Tags: Arts After Hours, Corey Jackson, Dinner Deal, Rolly Hayes, Urban Wine Project, Weekly Specials, Wendy Meninno Hayes | No Comments »
When was the last time you had dinner for two, including prime rib and a bottle of wine, with the tab coming to just $30? Certainly not in this decade.
But let’s back up a bit. We lunch with Corey Jackson, charming champion of the Lynn arts scene and Managing Director of Arts After Hours, on a semi-regular basis, and a few weeks ago he suggested Rolly’s Tavern in Wyoma Square.
The restaurant, helmed by Chef Rolly Hayes and his wife, Wendy Meninno Hayes, opened in 2005 and recently underwent a major renovation. In fact, the project continues as they enlarge through the rear of the space. The place is casual and welcoming with a large bar graced with plenty of TVs for sports enthusiasts.
At lunch, Corey opted for the famous grilled ham and cheese sandwich, which Boston Globe Magazine listed as one of Boston’s 45 Best Sandwiches. This childhood fave, served on white or wheat with a side of fries, was savory and satisfying.
I chose the Rolly’s burger, a half-pound of Black Angus grilled to order, served with a side of fries ($9). Talk about a seriously good burger—juicy on the inside with a nice char outside and plenty of toppings.
I would have gone back for the burger alone, but what caught my attention were the weekly specials. Monday features a two-for-one special on the burgers, and Tuesday and Wednesday host the aforementioned dinner deal: two entrees and a bottle of wine for $30. The specials list includes a variety of entrées, some of which are higher end and add $4 or $5 to the overall price. Rolly’s posts the menus for that evening on their Facebook page.
We returned on Tuesday night, when the menu included a prime rib au jus, and we opted for the queen cut at $16 (the king cut is $19). Although the butternut squash ravioli in a whiskey cream sauce was tempting, we opted to try the chicken pot pie at $14.
Both entrees were hearty comfort food, perfect for a chilly evening. The prime rib was tender and flavorful, and the vegetable sides were a step above standard pub fare. The mashed red bliss potatoes had great texture, rich but not overly creamy, and the steamed green beans and carrots had a nice crunch to them.
The all-white-meat pot pie offered an appetizing roasted chicken flavor, was topped with a lovely flaky puff pastry, and was accompanied by a fresh garden salad.
The wine included in the deal is Salmon Creek, which is available in chardonnay, white zin, pinot grigio, merlot, or cabernet. Also available for a $3 add are the wines from Lynn’s own Urban Wine Project.
Whether you’re looking for an inexpensive date night or just want to relax after work while someone else does the cooking, we think you’re going to be hard pressed to find a better deal than Rolly’s midweek specials.
Rolly’s Tavern on the Square
338 Broadway, Lynn
Posted: October 23rd, 2012 | Author: JR | Filed under: American, Breakfast, brunch, Peabody, Reds Kitchen + Tavern | Tags: pancakes as big as your head, Red's, Red's Sandwich Shop | No Comments »
Having been to Red’s in Salem on many lazy Sunday mornings, we were excited to check out their latest incarnation in Peabody (on Rt. 1). It’s an enormous space but quite welcoming, with diner-style counters up front and family-style tables elsewhere, plus a nice-looking bar.
We arrived around 12:30 and were a bit disappointed to learn that lunch is not served on Sunday; the restaurant moves right from breakfast to dinner (starting at 2:00). Unlike their sister restaurant, this location serves alcohol and is open until 10pm Sunday through Wednesday and 11pm Thursday through Saturday.
Nonetheless, we ordered up some of our breakfast favorites and thoroughly enjoyed them. The pancakes have got to be one of the best deals around, with three platter-sized fluffy cakes for $6.25. We had the chocolate chip, but the blueberry and banana are also delicious. Served with a side of bacon or sausage ($2.50), it’s enough food to last until bedtime.
Two eggs with thick-cut Canadian bacon, home fries, and rye toast also hit the spot ($6.50). The home fries are crispy outside, soft inside, and well seasoned, without being too heavy on the salt or garlic.
Like just about everything on the menu, the omelets are a great value: a huge portion of eggs with generous fillings. We enjoyed the tried-and-true Western with cheese ($6.25) and the more unusual fresh spinach with feta ($6.25). You can create your own concoction from a variety of ingredients and cheeses.
Unfortunately, the breakfast specials that day sounded great and were sold out when we arrived. Guess we’ll have to get up earlier if we want to sample the lobster benedict or one of the other benedict-style offerings. We managed to make do with a respectable waffle ($5.50), bacon, and a tasty Absolute Bloody Mary ($9.00).
The Sunday dinners we saw on the tables as we left looked tempting, so we’ll definitely plan a return trip to try the chicken pot pie ($9.50) and the rib-eye steak ($24).
Reds Kitchen + Tavern
131 Newbury St, Peabody