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


Ryan & Wood Releases Folly Cove Rum

Posted: February 9th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Drinks, Gloucester | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

The North Shore’s own small batch craft distiller, Ryan and Wood, today announces the premiere bottling of their newest spirit, Folly Cove Rum.

When we visited the distillery in August, Bob Ryan was carefully developing the new rum, experimenting with various batches, and using the finest quality molasses to create the perfect balance of smoothness and taste. We sniffed and tasted a few and were incredibly impressed with the science behind such rich flavor. Now his final recipe has had it’s chance to age in charred American white oak barrels and today will be bottled by hand and released to the public.

Folly Cove is a small cove on the northeast tip of Gloucester, known for its shipwrecks and for the smugglers who landed there back in the day, and thus the name evokes both the sea coast and an air of mystery. The quality produced by this local gem is no mystery, though, and if rum is your spirit of choice, today is a day to celebrate.

Ryan & Wood distribute to many local liquor stores, and they can help you find the source closest to you. They also keep a Facebook page where you can find out about upcoming events or tastings.

Joey from Good Morning Gloucester interviewed Bob Ryan on what makes his rum so special, and you can check it out here.

Ryan & Wood Distilleries
15 Great Republic Dr., Gloucester
(978) 281-2282


Spirited Happenings on Cape Ann

Posted: August 28th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Drinks, Gloucester, Ryan & Wood Distilleries | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

North Shore folks like us, who delight in seeking out local artisan products such as bread from A&J King and cheese from Valley View Farm, have a new selection to try: spirits from Ryan & Wood Distilleries. Better yet, you can see the hand-crafted process yourself at their Gloucester facility.

We had never given much thought to why there are so few small distilleries in the US (and none in this area). A few minutes after meeting co-founder Bob Ryan, who is clearly passionate about the subject, we understood perfectly.

Ryan’s story began in 2004, when he and his nephew, Dave Wood, read about a small distiller in Northern Vermont making vodka from maple sap, and it culminated this summer, when Ryan & Wood produced their first commercially available batch of Beauport Vodka, named after the original moniker given to Gloucester by explorer Samuel de Champlain.

In between is a twisted tale of expensive equipment sitting as the fledgling company waited for licensing (you can’t apply for a license without working equipment), recipe and sample submissions, and endless struggles with the Trade and Taxation Bureau on the size of the type of the labels. And that’s before you get to the taxation, which is prohibitively high.

Fortunately, that’s all behind them now, and the business is up and running. In a few weeks, Knockabout Gin and Folly Cove Rum will join the vodka on the shelves of local restaurants and liquor stores. In addition to being locally made from grain to final product, these spirits are carefully produced in small batches using top-quality ingredients.

The vodka has just a hint of citrus flavor and is intentionally “thin” to mix well in cocktails. One reason it stands out is the water used in the process, which is filtered as many times as the alcohol. The gin gets special treatment, too, in the form of 10 botanicals that are infused into the distillate for no less than 12 hours. (The gin drinker in our group pronounced it outstanding.) Likewise, the molasses used in the rum is fine quality, and the aging takes place in charred oak barrels.

Each of the products is made in a gorgeous Arnold Holstein still that was custom built to allow fractional distillation for the highest quality. Tourists and locals can see it in action at 10:00 a.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays (groups can call to arrange tours for other times).

In the meantime, you can seek out Ryan & Wood products at places like Ryal Side Liquors in Beverly, Chebacco Liquor Mart in Essex, Causeway Liquors in Gloucester, Duddy’s Liquors in Peabody, and Shubie’s in Marblehead. You can also request it at many North Shore bars and restaurants, including Franklin Café in Gloucester, Maddie’s Sail Loft in Marblehead, and Indigo Bar & Grill in South Hamilton, where they feature it in a ginger martini.

Or you may want to try it in what Ryan says is the “in” drink this summer: The Tennis Ball is made in a rocks glass, over ice, with equal parts Beauport Vodka and club soda with a splash of Rose’s lime juice and a lime wedge. How’s that for crisp and refreshing? We’re no master mixologists, but using hand-crafted spirits in our drinks and supporting the local economy at the same time sounds like the perfect cocktail.

Ryan & Wood Distilleries
15 Great Republic Dr, Gloucester
(978) 281-2282