Thanks to the generosity of friends and family and a little bit of luck, last week, my husband and I had three evenings of amazing dinners at Boston restaurants with high-profile reputations. I don’t know if we’ve ever had three nights in a row of eating out at nice restaurants! Perhaps during our honeymoon? It felt so…adult. Not only was it divine to experience these impressive culinary establishments, but it was a gift to get dressed up, spend time with friends, and reconnect with my husband. Loosen your belt for our recap…
Night #1: Menton, Boston, MA – We were thrilled to celebrate the 40th birthday of a dear friend at Menton, one of the jewels of Chef Barbara Lynch’s epicurean empire. This place is beautiful. From the hand-painted wallpaper in the hall (de Gournay?) to the stylish lounge, Menton makes you feel special upon arrival. Our seats were at the Chef’s Table, a private room off the gleaming kitchen, with a perfect view of the chefs at work. On our night, we watched Chef Colin Lynch, Chef Kristen Kish (winner of Top Chef 10!), and the rest of their team prepare a series of stunning dishes. A special four-course meal was prepared for our friend’s birthday, with wine pairings for each meal selection. I found myself standing at the window into the kitchen at several points during the evening just in awe. The service was exceptional, the food was memorable (that foie gras…oh my), and the company was even better. It was a glamorous, fun evening, one that we’ll remember. I hope someday to go back.
Night #2: Dinner at Alma Nove, Hingham, MA – I’ll admit that when I entered Chef Paul Wahlberg’s restaurant, I joked to my husband, “Where’s Marky Mark?” But that was the only time I thought about the famous brother of this accomplished chef. We had a perfect night for Alma Nove: right before sunset with a warm breeze and a lovely spot on the outdoor patio overlooking the Hingham Shipyard. The food was really great, the service was personable, and the relaxing atmosphere was just what we needed. I had the prosciutto-wrapped cod, my husband had the scallops, and we shared a caprese salad that featured a melt-in-your-mouth burrata so good that I was sad when we finished eating. The location—at a mid-point between Cape Cod and Boston in Hingham’s redeveloped waterfront—is convenient for those traveling to and from, and is a just the right way to transition from a beach vacation back to city life. We aim to return.
Night #3: Dinner at L’Espalier, Boston, MA – Before kids, we occasionally attended L’Espalier’s Wine Monday events, as they are an excellent way to learn about the wines of a different region of the world while also exploring the culinary expertise of this top Boston restaurant led by Chef Frank McClelland. At $85 a person, Wine Monday is, at first glance, expensive, but when you consider the meal includes four courses plus wine and a wine lesson, the cost-justification is a bit easier (plus, it was my birthday week!). For our return to Wine Monday, Wine Director Lauren Collins led us through an exploration of the Basque Country. The wines were paired with delicious dishes that persuaded even me to try foods I’d normally shy away from, including clams and umi. That’s a high compliment in my book! You can see the upcoming list of Wine Monday events here. I’m looking forward to Bubbles, Bubbles, Bubbles, their evening of champagne that is typically scheduled around the holidays.
These evenings out were incredibly indulgent and rare for us. However, sometimes, special occasions—whether they are birthdays or night out with your beloved—call for making new memories—in our minds and our taste buds!