Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

College Touring: Culinary Highlights


docsconz
 Share

Recommended Posts

When my son's baseball team was eliminated early Friday morning from the NY State Mickey Mantle Tournament it left a free weekend. While he is only going into his junior year of H.S., I feel that it is not too early to get started looking at schools, especially those more difficult to get admitted to. The junior year is critically important and we want him to see what is out there and get a better sense of what he needs to do in order to gain admission. With that in mind, we thought we would set off to look at a few schools. While the colleges visited were certainly interesting to us, of greater potential interest to this forum is where we ate along the way.

Our unofficial start was this past June when we visited Dartmouth for my 25th College Reunion. Being that our meals were all part of the Reunion program, the culinary factor was of limited interest and so wil not be included here.

Friday evening my son and I drove through rain on I-90 to get to Cambridge to visit Harvard. I made a reservation for that evening via Open Table at The Elephant Walk in Cambridge. Because the going was slow, I had to push back our reservation. Fortunately, this was not a problem. We arrived in time to check-in to our hotel and get to the restaurant on time for our 8:30 reservation. It took us awhile to figure it out, but the restaurant thankfully had parking in the back.

Unfortunately where we sat was too dark for decent photos despite an ISO of 1600. Oh well!

The Elephant Walk is billed as a French Cambodian restaurant. We ordered from the four course set menu. We started out with Cambodian appetizers and soups. My son had the

Rouleaux

Cambodian spring rolls filled with ground pork,

crushed peanuts, shredded carrots and minced

onions; served with fresh lettuce, mint, Asian basil

and bean sprouts for wrapping; tuk trey on the side

for dipping

These were very tasty and provided great textural and temperature contrasts within the same bite.

I had

B’kong Ang

Grilled lemongrass shrimp brochettes with

turmeric-coconut rice with wild lime leaves and

green mango relish…

This was good with the spicy salad actually being the high point. The shrimp were tasty, but small and few.

Soups were up next. I had

Chilled Avocado Citrus Soup

Chilled soup with avocado, button mushroom, plum

tomato, and onion in freshly squeezed orange and

lime juices

This was tasty and very refreshing. While this was a clear-cut winner, my son's soup was the star of the evening. He had
Somlah Machou

A tangy soup with natural shrimp, tomatoes & lime

juice; garnished with fried garlic & French

mint..

This soup had outstanding balance and flavor. It even had more and better shrimp than my appetizer.

For our main courses we both swung over to French. I had

Canard a l'Orange

Our rendition of the classic French dish of roasted duckling in an orange sauce with Grand marnier; served with sauteed Yukon gold creamers and fresh orange slices

. The duck consisted of a breast and leg. It was good, though unextraordinary. The potatoes were totally bland. My son had
Kobe Beef Grillé, Sauce Roquefort

Grilled and sliced Australian Kobe beef sirloin tip

with a creamy Roquefort sauce, sautéed spinach,

purple potatoes and roasted cherry tomatoes

This was good though with minimal roqueforte flavor to the sauce. His spinach and potatos werre better supporting players than the potatoes and orange slices in my dish.

For dessert he had an ordinary

Le Péché au Chocolat

A rich creamy chocolate truffle cake perfectly paired with

raspberry coulis

, while I had a delicious
Passion Fruit Mousse

Refreshingly tart and sweet passion fruit mousse served in an almond lace cup; garnished with fresh pineapple.

Though the pineapple was insipid the mousse was exactly as billed.

The meal was very good and reasonable at $40pp plus t&t. Our feeling was that the Cambodian cooking outshone the French. Should he wind up in Cambridge, this place could become a regular haunt.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The following morning we had a good info session and tour of Harvard, but we decided to take the "T" into nearby Boston for lunch-time sustenance. Based largely on discussion on this forum I selected B&G Oysters LTD

gallery_8158_3310_109871.jpg

The facade was attractive, but the actual entrance was around back...

gallery_8158_3310_73393.jpg

We sat at the bar directly in front of the oyster station. This reminded me of my recent visit to Hog Island Oyster Co. in the Ferry Market Building in San Francisco.

We perused the menu and ordered a dozen oysters, 2 each of six different varieties.

gallery_8158_3310_75827.jpg

While we were waiting we watched the show:

gallery_8158_3310_22341.jpg

gallery_8158_3310_50027.jpg

gallery_8158_3310_52535.jpg

It was particularly interesting watching the shuckers throw out oysters that they weren't fully satisfied with rather than serve them.

In anticipation of the oysters I ordered a glass of chablis:

gallery_8158_3310_71203.jpg

It was a fine compliment to the oysters when they arrived a short time later.

gallery_8158_3310_21657.jpg

gallery_8158_3310_55379.jpg

gallery_8158_3310_73613.jpg

We are lemon-only oyster purists. My favorite was the Wallace Bay from Nova Scotia followed by the small Gigamot from British Columbia. The WB was large, clean and absolutely refreshing, while the gigamot was petite and a totally differrent flavor from the Atlantic oysters.

gallery_8158_3310_4490.jpg

Our main purpose in coming here was to try the Maine lobster roll. It clearly was a very popular dish as it seemed that almost everyone ordered one.

gallery_8158_3310_57457.jpg

gallery_8158_3310_73504.jpg

gallery_8158_3310_22769.jpg

gallery_8158_3310_7051.jpg

It was New England on a plate. The fries were very good as well. The slaw was ok as were the pickles, but clearly the lobster was the star of this show.

Were it not already fairly late and with dinner plans a bit later on, I would have ordered a few more items such as the fried clams which looked great as well.

The service was absolutely great. Our server (I forgot her name even though I specifically asked her :sad: ) was super. She was friendly, prompt and extremely helpful. I had the sense that the other servers in the restaurant were also good.

The only downside was an extremely forgettable brownie with ice cream for dessert.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Based on this recommendation I decided we needed to do the tasting menu at Clio. While I can not say if it is the best one in Boston, it was pretty darn good. In terms of comaprisons within my experience, the style of this dinner most reminded me of my recent dinner at Ame at the St. Regis in San Francisco and Studio Kitchen in Philadelphia. While there are many restaurants incorporating Asian influences into western cooking and vice versa I found the styles to be very sympathetic to each other at these three meals.

We went Saturday evening. Unfortunately Chef Orringer was not in the house as he is busy getting ready for his upcoming wedding! It is obvious that he has trained his staff well as the food was uniformly excellent both in taste and presentation.

gallery_8158_3310_13604.jpg

gallery_8158_3310_19958.jpg

gallery_8158_3310_19445.jpg

Hibiscus and Lemon Verbina Sodas These were refreshing, not too-sweet starters. I had the hibiscus.

gallery_8158_3310_40715.jpg

Tomato Water Martini This was marvellous with its pure, clean tomato flavor as the base with several nuanced notes including caperberry. It reminded me of the first time I had a dish with tomato water. It was raw Taylor Bay scallops with tomato water at the great Union Pacific in NYC in its prime. That meal at that time was still one of the best I have ever had and those scallops were one of the best dishes of that evening.

gallery_8158_3310_55863.jpg

Blue Fin Toro

With mignonette pickled mustard seeds

2005 Felton Road Riesling, Central Otago

This dish was simply sensational as anything with fresh blue fin chu-toro should be. The tuna was locally caught. None of the paired wines were high end, though they all worked quite well with their respective pairings. I will not be making additional comments on them beyond this.

gallery_8158_3310_55261.jpg

Hamachi Tartare

with candy cane beets, Ossetra caviar and liquid yogurt

2005 Naia Verdejo, Rueda

Nice dish, but not one of the stars of the evening.

gallery_8158_3310_5795.jpg

gallery_8158_3310_30832.jpg

gallery_8158_3310_10801.jpg

Salad of Heirloom Tomatoes

with crispy Ipswich clams, minus 8 vinegar and green goddess dressing

2004 Willakenzie Estate Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley

The tomato salad was excellent, but I could have killed for more of those perfectly fried clams!

gallery_8158_3310_43463.jpg

Purée of Sweet Corn Soup

with morel mushrooms, herbs and linguica

2005 Luzon Verde Monastrell, Jumilla

Another winner.

gallery_8158_3310_41517.jpg

Two-Hour Egg

with asparagus, ham foam, black truffle and foraged mushrooms

2000 Coto de Imaz Tempranillo Reserva, Rioja

This decadent dish was a candidate for dish of the night. Is sous vide cooking more perfectly suited to something other than the egg in its natural vaccuum casing?

gallery_8158_3310_19995.jpg

Wild Cape Cod Striped Bass

with oyster emulsion, curry leaves, bitter almond and Vidalia onions

2002 Trimbach Pinot Gris “Reserve”, Alsace

This was another great dish. The hint of curry in one of the sauces tied everything together. The one element that I didn't "get" was the sliver of fresh almond. Other than looking interesting on the plate I did not feel that it added anything beneficial either texturally or flavor-wise.

gallery_8158_3310_19872.jpg

Lacquered Foie Gras

with angelica, passion fruit and pineapple

2004 Haut Charmes Sauternes, Bordeaux

Along with the toro and the egg, this was another candidate for dish of the evening. This was one of the very best foie combinations I have had in some time. The passion fruit in particular provided a marvellous accent to the sensuous foie.

gallery_8158_3310_20310.jpg

Liquid Parmesan Ravioli

With fleur de sel, chives and black truffle vinaigrette

A nice idea, this rendition was dominated by the pasta and lacked depth of flavor.

gallery_8158_3310_15941.jpg

gallery_8158_3310_46574.jpg

Aromatic Glazed Shortribs of Beef

with farro, szechuan pepper and hearts of palm

2000 Tenuta Santa Maria Merlot “Decima Aurea”, Veneto

Delicious combination, although I did not really notice the szechuan pepper.

I did not photograph the cheese course. It consisted of two cheeses and two wines.

Bonde de Gatine With opal basil syrup and braised pears

2005 Hanna Sauvignon Blanc ”Slusser Road Vineyard” Russian River Valley and Bleu de Basque With spruce syrup and walnuts toasted candied

2003 Dolc De L’Obac Late Harvest Grenache, Priorat. These were very good.

gallery_8158_3310_25263.jpg

Sour Cherry

with Sorrento lemon float

This contained a very pleasant fizziness throughout. Nice.

gallery_8158_3310_21379.jpg

Milk Chocolate Sorbet

with native raspberry, orange, jasmine purée and toasted rice foam

2004 Cuilleron Condrieu « Les Ayguets », Rhône

Nice flavors and contrasts.

In the absence of Chef Orringer, Sous Chef Rick Edge and their kitchen crew did an excellent job. The service was friendly, professional and efficient. I haven't eaten in enough of Boston's top restaurants to say if Clio has the best tasting menu or not, but if it doesn't it certainly isn't far off. I would happily return.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We drove to New Haven on Sunday for a tour of Yale. Afterwards we were quite hungry and decided to do a comparison tasting of two of New Haven's most famous pizza places.

First up since they were already open was

gallery_8158_3310_31546.jpg

Frank Pepe's Pizza Napoletana.

gallery_8158_3310_4405.jpg

gallery_8158_3310_55092.jpg

That is one huge oven!

I was seriously bummed after having heard so much about them that they did not have any clam pizze that day. Undaunted we figured we would try the clams' replacement - shrimp. I can't speak for their clam pizza, but the white shrimp was absolutely amazing and one of the best pizze I have had anywhere!

gallery_8158_3310_54586.jpg

gallery_8158_3310_8683.jpg

The flavor was outstanding with a generous supply of succulent shrimp.

We also ordered a tomato with mozzarella.

gallery_8158_3310_101566.jpg

gallery_8158_3310_46143.jpg

gallery_8158_3310_7659.jpg

This was also very good, though not as ethereal or superlative as the shrimp pie.

Needless to say we took home a lot of pie as we were going up the street for more pizza.

We arrived at Sally's Apizza about 30 minutes before its 5PM opening time only to find ourselves already far back in line.

gallery_8158_3310_70343.jpg

gallery_8158_3310_28419.jpg

When they opened there was a steady flow into the restaurant that left us short by a couple of parties. Given that we still had a three hour drive to get home in front of us and that the wait for a table could be quite some time, i decided to get our pizze "to go". I'm glad I did for not only did it save us quite a bit of time, it was fun hanging out near the kitchen waiting for our pizze and chatting with the friendly owner and her staff. Our mouths watered as the pies started coming out of the cramped kitchen.

gallery_8158_3310_8083.jpg

gallery_8158_3310_71713.jpg

gallery_8158_3310_77024.jpg

gallery_8158_3310_3947.jpg

gallery_8158_3310_86493.jpg

After about a half hour wait our pies were ready. We paid, said goodbye and brought them to our car where we continued our pizza feast.

gallery_8158_3310_75317.jpg

They had clams, though this pizza was somewhat disappointing as it didn't really have that wonderful clam flavor that I was hoping for.

gallery_8158_3310_53947.jpg

The tomato and mozzarella pie, however, was outstanding. It was more flavorful even than the excellent one from Pepe's.

Both places are wonderful and have their strengths. based on my limited sample size I would suggest Pepe's for seafood pies and Sally's for tomato based pies. Both were baked with wonderful skill and heart. I also loved the ambiance of both places. despite their fame and the crowds lining up to get in they remain down to earth and committed to their respective product. Now I understand all the fuss about New Haven pizza.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great stuff, John! That lobster roll looked pretty wee, though. How big was it?

In order to save some appetite for later we actually split a lobster roll. They actually gave us each a full portion of the sides. I was seriously tempted to order and eat more, though given our meal at Clio I am glad we didn't.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Based on this recommendation I decided we needed to do the tasting menu at Clio. While I can not say if it is the best one in Boston, it was pretty darn good. In terms of comaprisons within my experience, the style of this dinner most reminded me of my recent dinner at Ame at the St. Regis in San Francisco and Studio Kitchen in Philadelphia. While there are many restaurants incorporating Asian influences into western cooking and vice versa I found the styles to be very sympathetic to each other at these three meals.

We went Saturday evening. Unfortunately Chef Orringer was not in the house as he is busy getting ready for his upcoming wedding! It is obvious that he has trained his staff well as the food was uniformly excellent both in taste and presentation.

In the absence of Chef Orringer, Sous Chef Rick Edge and their kitchen crew did an excellent job. The service was friendly, professional and efficient. I haven't eaten in enough of Boston's top restaurants to say if Clio has the best tasting menu or not, but if it doesn't it certainly isn't far off. I would happily return.

Great report and photos...Clio is without question my favorite restaurant in Boston, so I'm happy you enjoyed it too! We've gone for the tasting menu 4 times--each time it's almost entirely different, and we've never had a bad course. I'm wondering if they keep track of what we've had in previous meals, so we don't get the same thing twice?! The last time we went, we got the egg and foie gras dishes, and they were awesome.

How did you set up the wine pairings? Were they from the standard "by the glass" offerings?

Edited by Nishla (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Based on this recommendation I decided we needed to do the tasting menu at Clio. While I can not say if it is the best one in Boston, it was pretty darn good. In terms of comaprisons within my experience, the style of this dinner most reminded me of my recent dinner at Ame at the St. Regis in San Francisco and Studio Kitchen in Philadelphia. While there are many restaurants incorporating Asian influences into western cooking and vice versa I found the styles to be very sympathetic to each other at these three meals.

We went Saturday evening. Unfortunately Chef Orringer was not in the house as he is busy getting ready for his upcoming wedding! It is obvious that he has trained his staff well as the food was uniformly excellent both in taste and presentation.

In the absence of Chef Orringer, Sous Chef Rick Edge and their kitchen crew did an excellent job. The service was friendly, professional and efficient. I haven't eaten in enough of Boston's top restaurants to say if Clio has the best tasting menu or not, but if it doesn't it certainly isn't far off. I would happily return.

Great report and photos...Clio is without question my favorite restaurant in Boston, so I'm happy you enjoyed it too! We've gone for the tasting menu 4 times--each time it's almost entirely different, and we've never had a bad course. I'm wondering if they keep track of what we've had in previous meals, so we don't get the same thing twice?! The last time we went, we got the egg and foie gras dishes, and they were awesome.

How did you set up the wine pairings? Were they from the standard "by the glass" offerings?

A couple two tables over from us also had the tasting menu. At least half their dishes were different than ours.

As for the pairings, I just asked if they had pairings for the courses and they replied affirmatively. While none of the wines were inherently exceptional, they all worked well with their respective courses. I don't know if they were regular by-the-glass offerings or specifically paired for the courses. I believe the latter.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Doc - thanks for the great reviews. I went to law school in Boston and while not impressed with Clio as a whole I will never forget the taste of that tomato water martini. Thanks for bringing back the memory!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Doc,

Nice shots, if the food tasted as good as it looked at Clio that is somewhere that I must go. How would you rate the New Haven "pies" against some of the NY Favs?? That oyster place did indeed remind me of the Ferry St Plaza and that Lobster Roll looked delicious. Save a seat in the car for the next college trip :wink: .

Molto E

Eliot Wexler aka "Molto E"

MoltoE@restaurantnoca.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Doc,

          Nice shots, if the food tasted as good as it looked at Clio that is somewhere that I must go. How would you rate the New Haven "pies" against some of the NY Favs?? That oyster place did indeed remind me of the Ferry St Plaza and that Lobster Roll looked delicious. Save a seat in the car for the next college trip :wink: .

Molto E

I think you would like Clio. A number of the dishes were real winners and I didn't have anything that was bad. A few of the dishes, though overall very good, had some minor flaws. My understanding is that therre hasn't been much change to the menu in a little while, but that is ok. Not every restaurant can be an Alinea or El Bulli :wink:

As for the pizza places. They are world class and competetive with anything I have had anywhere. My benchmark remains "la vera pizza Napolitana" as I had it in Naples. That shrimp pie was as delicious a pizza as I have ever had though with a near perfect crust too. I don't know that I would say that these places are necessarily better than the best of NYC, but they are at least at that level.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sounds like a great trip! We have just become converts to New Haven pizza in the past couple of months -- we've tried Sally's, Pepe's and Modern. Our personal favorite was Sally's, which we thought had far superior crust and great sauce, followed by Modern and then Pepe's. In fact, we both agreed that if both Sally's and Modern had long lines, and Pepe's had none...............we'd wait.

Yes, the clams on Pepe's pizza were good, but that didn't compensate for the thicker, chewier, and less flavorful crust. Yes, the best beer on the menu at Sally's was Heineken, but we'd be willing to "suffer" with that again. I'd strongly urge you to give Modern a try on your next visit. The clam topping was wonderfully juicy, and they use mozzarella, too. It's served with a couple of wedges of lemon, and the fresh juice adds a nice zing.

Re: Lobster roll at B&G, Ihad one there a few years ago and found it pretty bland and lackluster, without a lot of lobster flavor. I'm pretty much a purist at heart when it comes to lobster rolls, and find that there's nothing better than homemade, with a fresh steamed lobster from the local market, a dollop of Hellman's, tiny squeeze of lemon juice, salt & pepper, and a fresh butter-grilled frankfurter roll.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We arrived at Sally's Apizza about 30 minutes before its 5PM opening time only to find ourselves already far back in line.

gallery_8158_3310_53947.jpg

The tomato and mozzarella pie, however, was outstanding. It was more flavorful even than the excellent one from Pepe's.

:biggrin: Discriminating taste!

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Re: Lobster roll at B&G, Ihad one there a few years ago and found it pretty bland and lackluster, without a lot of lobster flavor.  I'm pretty much a purist at heart when it comes to lobster rolls, and find that there's nothing better than homemade, with a fresh steamed lobster from the local market, a dollop of Hellman's, tiny squeeze of lemon juice, salt & pepper, and a fresh butter-grilled frankfurter roll.

The lobster roll is fairly pricey, but it was very good with plenty of good lobster flavor and texture. Better values may certainly be had, but I am not complaining about the quality. It was pretty basic as well, letting the lobster shine through.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...