It seems as though all my recent posts are centered around holidays, and the most recent one to pass by was Valentine’s day. We served a special menu created just for the event, and the restaurant was fully booked. Most of the day before was spent preparing, and Randy was working until almost 4 in the morning (only to return to work at 10). Although it was insanely busy, the evening was a lot of fun. The shortened menu made it easier for us to make sure tables weren’t left waiting for too long for their food, and all in all it went smoothly.
More recently EVOO was finally covered in a thin blanket of snow- apparently New England weather dictates that once we all start expecting Spring, we can finally have the snow we’d been missing all winter. Although unwelcome by some, I think that snow can be the perfect excuse to sit inside of a cozy restaurant and enjoy a leisurely meal with good company. A bit of leftover decadence from Valentine’s Day, we are still serving a delicious lobster-parsnip bisque garnished with leeks, hedgehog mushrooms, tarragon butter, and of course, chunks of succulent lobster meat.
Working the corner station on the line, I have been responsible for preparing the fried clam dish, which has been incredibly exciting for me, as they are plated on a base of potato salad, which is one of my favorite things in the entire universe. The flour mix they are fried in is different than we usually use- we add a mixture of spices (most prominently Old Bay) that liven the flavor of the clam, and which are balanced out by the cooling effect of the potato salad.
As far as other new starters, we’re also bringing back the empanada- this time the filling, designed by both Sous-Chefs Randy and Michelle is a mixture of rabbit meat and prunes, and it is served with a mustard cream and a salad of celery root, pea greens, and toasted almonds.
We also have a new mussel dish courtesy of our head chef Pete. The mussels are steamed with potatoes and onions in a green curry sauce that (to me anyway) smells a little bit like Tom Kha Gai, my favorite Thai soup.
All week I have been dreaming about having enough time to make enchiladas at home, and then on Saturday I came into work to find that the chicken dish had been changed, and is now served with an enchilada of caramelized onions and goat cheese. It is also served with discs of twice-fried sweet potato and a salad of pickled jalapenos, cilantro, and toasted pumpkin seeds. The dish is pulled together by a delicious red chili gravy that also adds a beautiful color to the plate.
The new vegetarian dish coming off of my station is a sweet potato tamale, which is served on a bed of cumin-scented toasted rice and black bean. The tamale is stuffed (overflowed) with a ragout of roasted peppers, onions, olives, raisins, and pine nuts, and topped with a salad of fresh cilantro, feta, pickled jalapenos, fennel, and red onion.
Lamb is back on the menu in 2 places- as a chop/loin combination, and as a meat sauce.The first dish is a grilled lamb chop with a roasted loin, served with a potato croquette, roasted carrots, and a salad of baby spinach and pickled cauliflower. The dish is topped with a minty chimichurri and a natural Jus.
The other lamb dish is a polenta “lasagna” with lamb Bolognese (another of my favorite sauces), stracciatella cheese, and a salad of fennel, orange, arugula, and a hazelnut crunch.
The new beef dish is a piece of grilled sirloin with braised beef and a potato gratin- I feel like I’m saying this a lot, but the potato gratin is one of my favorite things on the menu. Maybe I just really like the menu at the moment, but I can think of few things as great as a pile of layered cheese and potatoes baked to perfection and oozing flavor. The dish is then topped with an arugula salad with pickled oyster mushrooms, and is finished with a smoky hollandaise sauce.
Fish dishes have changed as well- We are now serving a seared Arctic char fillet with celery root puree, curried root vegetables (carrots, parsnips, turnips, rutabaga… you get the idea) and a creamy apple salad. We also have a seared striped bass fillet served with a smoked pig stew with large white beans (lima beans) and mustard laced salad of wild carrots and greens.
That’s about as far as I’ll go into menu updates for now (the menu on the website will keep you up to date on daily changes.
We’re all gearing up for Restaurant Week at the end of the month, which will be an entire week of busy insanity, and we’re all looking forward to it. Warmer weather should be coming soon, but given the weather in the past few weeks, I wouldn’t count on it. Either way, the menu will change to reflect the weather and the changing produce, and i’m sure that greatness will come out of it.