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

Share

A Savory Evening at Maggie’s Farm in Middleton

Posted: August 28th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: American, Drinks, Maggie's Farm, Middleton, Seafood | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

We recently headed out Rt. 114 to Middleton to check out the newest member of Mark McDonough and Jeff Cala’s Serenitee Restaurant Group. Maggie’s Farm (named after the Dylan song) took over the space next to Sol Bean Café most recently occupied by Rock’s Tavern and opened in May.

Things were hopping on a Saturday night, and we had to wait about 15 minutes for a table. The restaurant doesn’t take reservations after 7:00, so unless you head over early, you may find yourself in the same boat, though spending time at the large, pleasant bar isn’t a problem.

The celebrity-populated mural on the rear wall is fun, making it seem as though Jerry Garcia and Pee Wee Herman are jockeying with you for a seat at the bar. Other than that, the obviously music- and farm-inspired décor is a bit more sparse than some of Serenitee’s other establishments and features more TV screens than we like while dining.

The brews on tap include several local offerings, including Cody Sunshine Daydream, a Belgian gold ale brewed specially for Serenitee. Perusing the cocktail menu, we decided to try the Blood Orange Margarita, made with Sauza Gold Tequila, Cointreau, fresh sour mix, and a blood orange puree ($10). It was nicely tart and refreshing, with a decent pour of tequila.

The menu, as expected, features a mix of seafood, grilled entrees, and Serenitee’s trademark sushi. It also includes vegan and gluten-free offerings, which are clearly marked. Speaking of gluten free, once seated at our table, we decided to try the tater tots ($9) for a starter. Not the pre-fab frozen nuggets you’ve come to expect, these were a decadent surprise. Creamy, cheesy, slightly chunky mashed potatoes that had been deep fried and were served with a chive bacon sour cream sauce, they quickly disappeared.

The entrees we sampled were large and hearty. The meatloaf, made from both beef and pork, came as thick tender slabs served with cheddar mashed potatoes, garlic broccoli, and copious mushroom gravy ($19). The lamb shank really exceeded expectations. Savory, garlicky, and falling off the bone, it was served with a tasty summer veggie ratatouille on a bed of creamy polenta ($20).

One member of our party did go for the sushi, which was super fresh. The spicy roll ($10) is offered with a choice of tuna, salmon, yellowtail, or crab, and indecision led us to ask if the order could be made up of some of each. Our server checked with the sushi bar and happily reported it wasn’t a problem.

There was no way we had room for dessert, so that will have to await further investigation. The flow of the dining space space is slightly awkward and parking limited, but the attentive service and enjoyable meal definitely warrant a return trip.

Maggie’s Farm
119 South Main Street, Middleton
(978) 539-8583
maggiesfarmmiddleton.com

Maggie's Farm on Urbanspoon

Share

Earn a Free Entrée While Discovering New Flavors

Posted: October 7th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: 15 Walnut, American, Beverly, Bistro, Cala's, Gloucester, Hamilton, Manchester | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

You may not have realized it, but several of the terrific restaurants we enjoy here on the North Shore are the result of the hard working folks at Serenitee Restaurant Group. The group (previously known as North Shore Restaurant Group) has just unveiled a fun promotion aimed at encouraging diners to discover restaurants they may not have tried and, of course, to get out to old favorites as well.

At any of the six eateries, all with unique atmospheres and cuisines, you can pick up a “Discovery Card” that gets stamped with the purchase of a meal. Whether from six different restaurants or the same one, after you accumulate six stamps, you are rewarded with a free entrée at any of the locations.

The restaurants included in the promotion are:

15 Walnut, Hamilton (read about our experience here)

Cala’s, Manchester (read about our experience here)

Hale St. Tavern, Sushi and Oyster Bar, Beverly Farms

Latitude 43, Gloucester

Backstage Bistro, at the North Shore Music Theater, Beverly

Alchemy Tapas & Bistro, Gloucester

You know us, we’ll use any excuse to get out and try different restaurants, and a free meal is a great one. The offer expires December 31, so there’s plenty of time to explore these North Shore eateries.

Share