My favorite time of year is here… Restaurant Week! This program allows for customers to enjoy a 3-course meal for $33.12 at all participating restaurants. Some also feature a 2-course lunch for $15.12 and/or a 3-course lunch for $20.12. I tend to make reservations at restaurants that are known for their expensive menus, that way I can really get my money’s worth! To explore the Boston area restaurant’s participating in Restaurant Week, click here: www.restaurantweekboston.com/
My third of five RW dinners was last night at Barbara Lynch’s prestigious and original Boston restaurant, No. 9 Park.
Bread: We were each served a small white roll with a round dish of softened butter. It was room temperature, soft, and chewy. We ate them well before the appetizers and were then brought another roll to have with our entrees (which was perfect b/c I needed something to mop up the pasta sauce!).
Menu: No. 9 offers 3 options for the 1st and 2nd course and 4 options for dessert. This is probably one of the most limited menus during Restaurant Week as some places provide at least 4 items per course and others the whole menu! But you won’t experience this quality of food just anywhere. Click below to see No. 9 Park’s full restaurant week dinner menu:
Scottish Salmon Tartare: almond soubise, shaved vegetables, dill
I’ve never had tartare quite like this before. It was extremely flavorful, delicate, and almost smooth. I ate it with a fork but kind of wanted to spread it on a crostini! This however needed no vehicle or anything to accompany it; it was pretty perfect as is.
Handmade Ricotta Gnudi: summer vegetables, pistachio pesto, Pecorino-Romano
I typically don’t love gnudi (or gnocci which is very similar) but I knew Barbara wouldn’t disappoint, and the pistachio pesto sounded great. My friend who is a cook at No. 9 suggested I order the Hake or Pork Shoulder but I’m so glad I went with my gut (after all, I’m a pasta kinda girl)! Surrounded by green beans, roasted tomatoes & shaved Pecorino-Romano, this ricotta gnudi was incredible and basically melted in my mouth.
Cocoa Financier: bananas, malted caramel, ganache
This linear dessert plate came with dense chocolate cake, caramelized bananas, a piece of brittle, and a dollop of chocolate ganache topped with sea salt. The cake itself wasn’t bad, the bananas were tasty, and the ganache was out of this world.
Bathroom: The restroom had 2 stalls with cherry wood doors. The sink and counter were sleek and squeaky clean! Minimalism seems to be a theme among most of Barbara’s restaurants… from the bathrooms to the table tops!
Service: When dining at a restaurant of this caliber you expect the service to be top notch, and it was. Our server was actually friends with my friend Benno (who was cooking that night) and on behalf of Benno brought my mother & I an amazing complimentary mid-course paired with a Chardonnay-type of wine, which may have been the highlight of our evening! Turns out the server is from our home town and we know the same people… it was nice to connect with him and have a real conversation. Lynch’s restaurants are known for their incredible wine program and he was very well versed on the varieties they served.
Overall: No. 9 Park is quaint, quiet, and not as pretentious as I was expecting. Yes it’s a fine dining restaurant but it didn’t feel stuffy or too high-end. Perhaps that’s due to the fact that I was surrounded by Restaurant Week diners and not their typical clientele (and we were seated in the bar area, not the actual “dining room”). Either way we had a great evening and the food was excellent; portions were on the smaller side but when I’m having 3 courses I don’t need or want large portions of anything. There’s a stylish bar and a small lounge/waiting area up against the windows looking out onto Park St. and the Boston Common. I’m not sure I could afford No. 9 Park on a random evening, but it will be 1st on my list for Winter Restaurant Week, that’s for sure!
For more photos & descriptions of what everyone in my party ate, visit my Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/ThePerfectBiteBoston