Everytime I eat at Sage, I agree that Anthony Susi is one of the best chefs in Boston, and our latest dinner confirmed that once again. Wednesday night we had a chance to enjoy a fantastic six-course dinner paired with Contratto wines from Italy's Piedmonte region. This was so outstanding, I just had to post - It was a four-hour feast, with generous re-fills of some excellent wines, and oh..the food!!
We started off with an amuse bouche of tender, rich pork rillette with toasted bread and roasted apricots paired with a sparkling "1995 Brut Metodo Classico" .
Next, a Soup Trio: "Spring Pea and Foie Gras", "Gold Beet and Crab", "Wild Mushroom and Creme Fraiche" paired with a 2001 Gavi Di Gavi Arnelle - One of my favorites (you'd love this GalleyGirl!). I have always loved the soups here and these were inspired, especially the two chilled soups. The sweet peas were pureed with ginger juice and truffle oil, hiding a rich layer of foie gras custard at the bottom of the bowl. The golden beets were roasted, pureed, and infused with mint oil and garnished with a mound of sweet crabmeat, what a combination!
"Butter poached lobster and stewed baby vegetables" served with Sabuada Chardonnay. I thought the lobster was cooked with Asian "5 spice", but it was really three - cinnamon, star anise, and cardamon in delicious sauce w/a port wine base. The vegetables were outstanding on their own - perfectly cooked, crisp sugar peas, baby squash, golden beets, and pea greens.
Baked Crespelle of Veal, Spinach and Fontina with Favas and Citrus Butter w/ Panta Rei Barbera D'Asti - The fava beans and citrus butter were outstanding combined with the light filling encased in a tender crepe-like pasta with crispy edges from the baking.
Parmesan Custard and Morel Mushroom Braise w/1996 Tenuta Alberta Barbaresco. This was so good, but by now we were slowing down. An oozing, rich custard topped with a crispy, chewy round of melted grated Parmesan and a generous portion of braised Morels.
The main course was Veal Three ways: Loin, Sweetbreads, and breast with grilled asparagus. Served with 1997 "Solus AD" Barbera D'Asti (another favorite wine)
And to finish - Espresso-Chocolate Mousse and Cherry-Vanilla Cocktail (a frozen vanilla souffle topped with cherries and shredded jicama! marinated in Sauterne). w/ 1999 Asti "de Miranda".
All this, for $100 including tax AND tip, I thought it was well worth it.
I've also had four great meals at Rustic Kitchen in Quincy Market. Now that Bill Bradley is at the helm, it's a nice place eat outside if you're in that touristy area, and enjoy his fine cooking. I don't think he has quite the free rein as he has had at other establishments, but some favorites are the baccala fritters and fried rock shrimp. The dipping sauce is reminiscent of bagna cauda but very green (parsley?) with anchovies, capers and garlic. I've ordered the chestnut "caramels" with taleggio twice - tender chestnut-filled pasta in a creamy cheese sauce garnished with bacon, but I believe this changes seasonally. It was nice to be able to watch the Preakness a couple of weeks ago, drinking a wonderful Riesling by the glass, and enjoying prosciutto and mozzarella with a green olive vinaigrette, along with the caramels, this time with a parsnip puree.
And yesterday -- one of my favorite lunches when I'm in the Newton area -- A burnt edds burrito, light on the rice, and heavy on the cilantro at Blue Ribbon BBQ. They also have a side of creamed corn with sauteed leeks this week which is delicious.