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

Share

Dish Tidbits: Strawberry Festivals, Cooking Classes, New Restaurants, and More

Posted: June 15th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Event, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

There’s quite a lot going on the next couple of weeks, including strawberry festivals and farmers market openings, plus some new restaurants on the horizon. Without further ado:

Both days this weekend at Russell Orchards in Ipswich there will be strawberry picking, hayrides, strawberry shortcake, facepainting, music, balloons at their annual strawberry festival.

At Connors Farm in Danvers, the festival is on Saturday only and features live music, food from Champions Barbeque, strawberries dipped in chocolate, Homemade strawberry shortcake, costume characters, strawberry picking, pony rides
face painting, and hay rides.

The following weekend, the Swampscott Strawberry Festival is being held on Sunday the 27th from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm on Town Hall lawn.

If you’re looking for a farmers market to visit or more information about your local market, there is information at the Federation of Mass Farmers Markets and a list of Northeast farmer’s markets here. You can find our list of North Shore farmer’s markets is here, with links on several that we’ve reviewed.

Mary Reilly of The Savory Kitchen has a great idea for those pea tendrils in your CSA box. She’s cooking her way through her CSA share each week and sharing her recipes and non-recipe recipes. Mary also teaches cooking classes at the gorgeous Jewett Farms Studio, and there are slots left in the July 23 class on Indian cooking at home (6:00 pm to 9:00 pm), the July 31 canning class (1:00 pm to 4:00 pm), and the August 13 cooking from the farmers’ market class (6:00 pm to 9:00 pm). For descriptions, go here; classes are $90.

If you’ve got a youngster that likes to cook, you may want to take a look at Shubie’s Tweens and Teens summer classes. They’re for ages 11 to 15 with Chef Laura Tyrrell. Pies and tarts is July 6, fresh pasta is July 13, cakes and frostings is July 20, and garlic bread, monkey bread, and bagels is July 27. All classes are $50 and run from 4:30 pm to 7:00 pm. If you sign up for all four classes, you get $30 off. Call (781) 631-0149 for more information.

The PEM is hosting a beer and chocolate tasting in conjunction with its Mayan exhibit on July 8 from 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm. Maya inspired cuisine will be served, and attendees will sample seven unique beers and Taza’s stone ground organic chocolate. More information is here, and the cost is $75 for members and $85 for nonmembers.

Euphoria Lifestyle has opened in the 100 building in Cummings Center, Beverly, serving smoothies and wraps and promising Pinkberry-style fro-yo in about two weeks. We’ll check it out and let you know how it is (tough job, but someone’s got to do it). For future reference, it’s right near Danvers Bank and does not have an outside sign.

In Peabody, we’ve spotted a few restaurant happenings. On June 1, Top Steakhouse opened in the former O’Fado space at 72 Walnut St. Since this Brazillian style steakhouse will be competition for the popular Fire Bull, we’re wondering if the area can support two churrascarias just a few blocks from each other.

We also saw a banner up for Maki Sushi Bar, going in next to Peabody Estate Buyers on Main St. They are in the midst of fitting up the interior, no word on when they will open. Also on Main (toward the Salem line), we saw a banner for Peabody Bread and Baking Co. where Rosie’s Bakery was. We’ll stop in the next chance we get.

And last but not least, a recent Guy Fieri trip (he’s a Food Network celebrity chef) included visits to our own Lobster Shanty in Salem, Rino’s Place in East Boston, Greek Corner Restaurant in Cambridge, plus a few Maine locations. Pictures are here. Can’t wait to see the Shanty episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, air date and time still to be determined.

Share

Class Act in Newburyport

Posted: February 22nd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Event, Newburyport | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Learning something new about food is always a pleasure, and the fun didn’t stop there Friday night at Jewett Farms Studio in Newburyport, where Mary Reilly of The Savory Kitchen was teaching a class of eight how to cook Thai food at home.

When we arrived, we were warmly greeted by Reilly and Jewett’s Elena Bachrach and offered beer, wine, or limeade. Being a Thai-themed evening, the beer was Singha, and the wine was a Covey Run Riesling from Washington, chosen by Bill at New England Wine and Spirits to go with the meal.

We gathered around the soapstone island in the store’s demonstration kitchen while Reilly, a personal chef, began simultaneously preparing Tom Yum soup and giving us a wealth of information about where to find Thai ingredients locally and what to substitute for hard-to-find items. We learned about green papaya, banana blossoms, jicama, red curry, coconut milk, and more. Reilly is a born teacher, relaying food history and kitchen techniques in a relaxed tone and happily fielding all of our questions. It was more like being in a friend’s kitchen who happens to know a lot about Thai food than a class.

0220BBAfter Reilly prepared a salad of jicama, pineapple, and watercress, another of green papaya, and set the red curry pork to cook, we sat down to taste the soup. The chicken broth had been flavored with lemongrass, ginger, lime, chiles, fish sauce, and brown sugar. Served over jasmine rice with tiny, fresh Maine shrimp and optional extra chiles and herbs, it hit all the notes that make Thai food so addictive, according to Reilly: hot, sweet, sour, and salty.

Reilly returned to the kitchen for a bit more prep work while we chatted about food and other topics. The group was diverse in age, but everyone was friendly and clearly excited to be eating well and learning. Reilly called us over to watch her make pad thai (in two batches so as not to crowd the pan), then we sat down to a Thai feast.

0220CXThe curry had just the right amount of heat, tender meat, and lots of vegetables like cauliflower and sweet potato. The salads were full of unusual flavors and textures, the perfect foil for the rich curry. The pad thai was outstanding, with perfectly cooked noodles, fried tofu, salty peanuts, and, once again, those salty and sour notes.

Dessert was deceptively simple. Reilly set out vanilla ice cream and mango sorbet. We helped ourselves, pouring on a luscious banana ginger sauce that everyone swooned over. All of the recipes were bound together in a neat booklet that included make-your-own versions of things like roasted chile oil for those who don’t want to hunt down Asian convenience foods.

The class was the first in a series Reilly is doing this winter/spring. The next class is bread, on March 13, followed by food of Northern Italy on March 19 and fresh ways with seafood on April 16. Classes are $90. More details are the Savory Kitchen site. All classes are held at Jewett, by far the most appealing kitchen showroom I’ve been in.

Mary Reilly
The Savory Kitchen
978-500-5643
www.thesavorykitchen.net

Jewett Farms & Co
58 Merrimac St, Newburyport
(978) 961-1538
www.jewettfarms.com

Share