December 31, 2013 No 9 Park
We spent the days leading up to the holiday with friends – and boy did we eat! Barbara Lynch opened No. 9 Park in 1998 and it has been named one of the “Top 25 New Restaurants in America” by Bon Appétit and “Best New Restaurant” by Food & Wine. Scott Jones, a native New Englander, became the chef de cuisine in March of this year. He has risen quickly among the ranks, he started in 2009 and was promoted to rounds cook in under a year and a half and to sous chef just before his two year anniversary. We were fortunate enough to be able to meet chef Scott, which was pretty cool.
We headed over to No. 9 Park to try out their tasting menu. At $112, you get six courses, with the option of adding the prune stuffed gnocchi, the foie gras and the artisanal cheese courses. We ended up doing the foie gras and the prune stuffed gnocchi, but by the time we got to the option of having the cheese course, we just didn’t have room (as much as we wanted to).
We started off with the peekytoe crab with hears of palm, pumpkin and apple. It was paired with a 2010 Chidaine Montlouis – sur Loire “Les Choisilles”. This dish came beautifully plated with a little ash on the top near the peekytoe crab. The dish was light, a great way to start off the meal. The wine was crisp and had a mineral taste to it that I really enjoyed.
Second course was the Scottish salmon with potato mille-feuille, pistou and cannelini beans paired with a 2009 Livon Ribolla Gialla “Ronc Alto”. I have to admit that generally, I don’t like salmon. I was hesitant to try this dish, but I ended up loving it! The skin was cooked, so you could eat it, and the potato underneath was delicious. Mille feuille is French for “thousand layers” and the term is generally used when talking about pastry. These thin layers of potato were so delicate and paired quite nicely with the fish. The wine they paired with this dish had a rounded earthy flavor. The white grapes from this wine come from Friuli
The housemade bigoli with celeriac, smoked salt cod, and calabrian chili paired with the 2011 COS Grecanico en Amphora “Pithos”. The name of the wine “COS” comes from three friends: Giambattista Cilia, Giusto Occhipinti and Pinuccia Strano. The (Sicilian)wine itself is almost orange in color which comes from putting grapes in clay pots and bury them in the ground – it is the most organic process of making wine. You can almost taste the clay along with some apricot notes.
The prune stuffed gnocchi with foie gras, almonds and vin santo paired with NV Veuve Cliquot Demi Sec Champagne. Our waiter tells us a story about Julia Child and Barbara Lynch, and how Julia told Barbara that she didn’t think this was a good pairing. The prunes are sweet and the gnocchi is light as air. I missed the photo of the seared Hudson Valley foie gras with black walnut, sweet potato and clotted cream paired with the Rare Wine Co. Modeira “Boston Bual”. I think at this point I hit a wall. I was stuffed. The food thus far was delicious, and so rich! What I can tell you is that the foie gras was delicious. I only managed a bite or two, but it just melted in your mouth. Our waiter tells us that back in the day, each port had it’s own variety of Modeira – which started when the grapes were being heated on the decks of ships.
The roasted quail with lentils, sanguinaccio (sausage) and chestnut, paired with 2010 Domaine de la Chapelle de Bois Fleurie “Grand Pre“. If I wasn’t full before, I am now stuffed, and feel like I should take a nap! The quail is tender – perfectly cooked. I think the sausage is a matter of personal preference – not my favorite, but that’s ok. I miss taking a photo of the local baby lamb with black garlic, broccoli and blood orange. I may be a bit tipsy at this point. The lamb is prepared three ways and is paired with a 2008 Mugo Rioja Riserva.
And as a finale, a dark chocolate bete noire with mint, meyer lemon, and cynar (a liqueur). The bete noire, translated as “the black beast” is a flourless chocolate cake served with a peppermint patty. The strong mint flavors really balance the richness of the chocolate cake. This dish is paired with a 2007 Castello di Volpaia Santo del Chianti Classico.
All in all it was a great night, exceptional food paired with good friends (and a few tasty cocktails). The service was excellent – our waiter was knowledgeable and gave us a great background on all of the wine pairings – each course was explained in detail when it was brought out. We are already looking forward to our next visit!
No. 9 Park
9 Park Street, Boston, MA