Mr. McDonough’s Opus

Posted: July 12th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Opus, Salem | Tags: , , | No Comments »
Photos courtesy of our friend John Andrews at socialpalatesphotography.com

It’s been a long time coming, but Opus is finally open in downtown Salem. I’ve got to say, I think it was worth the wait. It’s the latest brainchild of Serenitee Restaurant Group, the partnership of Mark McDonough and Jeff Cala that’s responsible for Latitude 43, Maggie’s Farm, 15 Walnut, and several other North Shore venues.

We were invited to a pre-opening party last night where we sampled cocktails, sushi, and mini versions of several menu offerings. The bar is spectacular—enormous, open, and topped with attractive yellow glass lit from beneath. Tables and booths line the front and sides of the room, and downstairs there’s a cozy lounge area with a small bar and a band area called Opus Underground.

Our previous experiences at Lat 43 and the Nut led us to expect top-notch sushi, and we were not disappointed. The rainbow roll with tuna, salmon, avocado, tempura flakes, and mango was outstanding. We also sampled a slider version of the Opus burger, a farmer’s cheese empanada, and a curried potato samosa that were all worth the calories.

The menu is fairly expansive, with a good number of salads, seafood entrees from pan roasted fluke to lobster salad, and some interesting sounding meat offerings like pork belly mini tacos, slow smoked ribs (these were incredible), and bacon-wrapped rabbit loin. With six sushi rolls and nine side dishes, diners can put together any type of meal they want, from bar snacks to multi-course meals.

The opening will take place sometime next week, and we’ll return this summer to do a more detailed review. See you at the bar!

Opus
87 Washington St, Salem
(978) 744-1100
www.salemopus.com

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Alchemy Tasting Menu Takes North Shore Dining to New Heights

Posted: January 11th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Alchemy Bistro, Bistro, Event, Gloucester | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Wild boar chopstick rolls. Tatsoi with goat cheese emulsion. Black tea smoked Long Island duck with winter squash gratinette. Not the usual suspects, that’s for sure. These were just a few of the items on an over-the-top tasting menu last week at Alchemy Bistro in Gloucester.

We were invited to the event along with other North Shore food bloggers, and to say that Chef Jeff Cala (shown above, giving diners a tour of the board) and his team went all out would be an understatement. The appetizer, cheese, and entreé courses were served family style on huge boards custom made for the restaurant by Essex’s Walker Creek. It was a study in food still life, incredible taste combinations, and new experiences.

There were wine and beer pairings, too, including one from the restaurant’s exclusive cellar: Corte Rugalin Monte Danieli Amarone Classico from Italy with the pasta course. The chef’s outstanding black pepper pappardelle carbonara was brought to new levels by the wine.

The papardelle was voted the favorite of the evening, but the wild boar, black bass, and smoked duck were all outstanding, and the warm chocolate souffle paired with Bourbon County Stout from Goose Island Brewing Co. made a lush, satisfying ending to the meal.

But the best news is not how good the food was. It’s that the dinner we attended was a preview of a regular series being planned by Cala and Mark McDonough, who own numerous North Shore restaurants, including Alchemy, 15 Walnut, and Latitude 43.

McDonough is passionate about helping to strengthen bonds between food enthusiasts on the North Shore and spreading the word about what a unique food community we have.

It was an epic meal, and while the dinner series being offered to the public will be a slightly toned down version, it’s definitely worth keeping an eye out for. The dates and prices for these upcoming events are not set, but we’ll let you know as soon as they are, as they’ll initially be limited to 20 people. We’re told that the prix fixe dinners will likely be held once a month and will include both a standard and a cellar wine pairing option.

We were lucky to have a terrific group of people attending, so the conversation and company were the perfect compliment to the meal. You can read additional accounts on the following blogs:

Montmartre or Gloucester? by Heather Atwood of Food for Thought

North Shore Bloggers Dinner at Alchemy by Kimmy Bingham of Lighter and Local

You’re Going the Wrong Way! by Brian Knowles of The Gringo Chapin

Alchemy Bistro
3 Duncan Street, Gloucester
(978) 281-3997
www.alchemybistro.com

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