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restaurant dante


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Last weekend I took my husband to restaurant dante in the Royal Sonesta hotel in Cambridge for his birthday. The restaurant is relatively new (less than a year old, I think), and I hadn't heard too much about it, but we wanted to try someplace we hadn't been before.

We ordered the tasting menu, which is not pre-set. The chef (Dante deMagistris) comes out to ask what sort of meal you'd like. We didn't have any requirements, except we wanted to try some pasta and wanted a variety of dishes. Based on this, we ended up getting tastes of ~11 regular menu items and a couple of non-menu items, which was fine since we hadn't been there before. I'm sure if we had specifically asked for non-menu items we would have been accomodated.

The wine list is quite reasonably priced, and there are a number offered by the glass (not super exciting, since I recognized or have had many of them, and I'm no wine expert). Our server paired a glass with each course for us, and though the wines were relatively straightforward, they complemented the food quite nicely.

Course 1

Calamari stuffed with pine nuts and mint pesto: very tasty, tender calamari

Squash soup with homemade maple pancetta: the pancetta was really good, and a nice salty bite with the sweetness of the soup

Course 2

Oyster with beet tartare and chardonnay vinegar: the sweet crunchy beets went well with the oyster

Spanish kingfish carpaccio with spicy ginger, yuzu, cucumber, baby greens: I don't remember this especially well, but it was good

Flash seared tuna with egg white frittata, charred tomato marmelade, baby greens: a very thin slice of barely cooked tuna, I think with coriander seed on the outside. I normally fine tuna to be kind of boring, but this was very good.

Course 3

"Fries with eyes": Fried strips of whiting, served with lemon mint tartar sauce. Yum

Course 4

Vanilla parsnip pillows with roasted lobster tail and spicy broth: The "pillows" were tiny ravioli, with the thinnest skins and sweet parsnip filling. The lobster was perfectly cooked, and the broth had some ginger and asian aromatics. This was really tasty.

Course 5

Ravioli with rabbit, fennel, olives and sour orange sauce: We both liked this dish a lot. The ravioli wasn't too doughy, and the sauce was pleasantly sour.

Course 6

Angel hair pasta in tomato sauce, topped with a baccala meatball with pine nuts and raisins: I liked this better than Keith did...it was like comfort food with a twist.

Course 7

Crispy branzino with manila clams, meyer lemon, calamari, fresh chick peas, and broccoli: This was a good dish, and again all the seafood was perfectly cooked. I don't think I'd ever had fresh chickpeas before.

Course 8

Grilled salmon wrapped in grape leaves, saffron risotto, mint pesto: Even though this didn't sound that exciting on the menu, it turned out to be one of our favorite dishes. It had all the components of stuffed grape leaves (which I love), with the added flavors from the salmon and the grill smoke. I thought it was a clever interpretation, and really, really, delicious.

Course 9

Coffee crusted veal with taleggio fondue: The fondue also had tiny sweet tomatoes, but I thought the cheese was a bit strongly flavored for the veal, which was good by itself.

Course 10

Beef wellington with gorgonzola dolce, speck, fig, and fruit sauce: I think I'm missing a few components, but I was ridiculously stuffed by this point. The few bites I managed were quite good though!

Course 11

Palate cleanser of riesling sorbet with dried edible flowers

Course 12

Fritters with four sauces (passion fruit, raspberry, caramel and chocolate)

Flourless chocolate cake with creme fraiche ice cream

Hazelnut foam with chocolate bourbon ganache and crisp rice

Eggplant and chocolate stuffed with ricotta, sponge cake and orange

I really liked the eggplant chocolate dessert, and the creme fraiche ice cream was a great complement to the chocolate cake.

Overall, we tremendously enjoyed this meal. Other than the salmon dish, we were most impressed with the pasta courses. The service is friendly, somewhat casual, and the restaurant looks over the river for those who care about the view. I think the menu changes periodically, and we would definitely go back again.

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  • 1 month later...
How much was that tasting menu (not including wine)?

The tasting menu doesn't have a fixed price...you can specify what you'd like when you call for a reservation. If I remember correctly, our meal was $85-95 per person. Unless I were going to request something special, I'd probably just order from the regular menu on future visits. However, for the first time, it was a great way to sample many different things, and we certainly weren't disappointed.

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