Thursday, November 12, 2009

Troquet: All Bases Covered

For unknown reasons, Troquet remains in the shadows of Boston's culinary scene. But for those in the know, it is a shining jewel, providing fine food, wine and dessert. It has all your bases covered under one roof. And it continues to receive my highest recommendation.

I have been to Troquet numerous times, and most recently attended a media dinner there which only further solidified my opinion about this excellent restaurant. Jackie of the Leather District Gourmet has already posted her own opinion of Troquet and it is well worth reading.

There are several reasons why Troquet is a compelling restaurant. Executive Chef Scott Hebert creates delicious and innovative food. For example, he is the only chef I know of in the Boston area making a sublime lamb bacon. Owner Chris Campbell has created an extensive, intriguing and very reasonably priced wine list. The wine prices are some of the best you will find at any Boston restaurant. Pastry Chef Sarah Woodfine produces amazing and creative desserts. Her seasonal souffles are superb. Plus service is excellent.

But when the best Boston restaurants are discussed, Troquet often seems excluded from the talk. It is puzzling to me, but that simply means it is more of a hidden gem. If you have never been there, you must visit and check out their excellent cuisine and wine.

The media dinner began with a glass of NV Ruinart Rose, a delicious bubbly that was not overly sweet and had a nice fruity taste, which was paired with a Scallop Ceviche topped with Spoonbill caviar. A nice presentation with tender scallops, a pleasant citrus flavor and a slight saltiness from the caviar. A light and clean dish which was a perfect start to the meal.

Next up was a New Zealand Langoustine wrapped in Brik dough atop mango curry and Thai basil. This was a tasty dish, with a thin, crisp wrapping around the langoustine and a more sweet taste to the sauce. The wine pairing was a 2006 Rauscher-Haart Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Riesling Kabinett but I did not think it went as well as it could with the dish. The Riesling had pleasant citrus flavors and was slightly sweet. It was a good wine but I think it would have paired better with a spicier dish rather than the langoustine.

The Branzino, European seabass, was stuffed with Sicilian olives and sat atop spaghetti squash. A delicious, tender piece of fish with a layer of crisp skin and some salty/earthy flavors from the olives. The wine pairing was the excellent 2008 Les Chanteaux Blanc Chenin Blanc, a French wine from the Loire Valley. This Chenin had delicious fruit, plenty of acidity, and a bit of minerality. It had a lengthy, satisfying finish and plenty of character. This would be a perfect choice with many types of seafood and other light dishes.

Our next course was exceptional with a perfect wine pairing. The Baked Rigatoni came with wild boar, porcini mushrooms, parmesan foam and shaved white truffles. Rich, flavorful and earthy, this was a dish to slowly savor every wonderful bite. Everything from the pasta to boar was cooked perfectly, and all of the ingredients complemented each other. What could make this dish even better? Only a killer wine like the 1995 Louis Latour Chambertin Grand Cru Cuvée Héritiers Burgundy. A fine Burgundy is such a great wine anyways, and it just accompanied this dish so well. Sublime and complex, this wine was extremely satisfying.

The slow roasted Vermont Lamb Saddle with lamb bacon, lamb jus with Niçoise jus, fava beans and pearl barley was another amazing course. The lamb was tender, flavorful and cooked just right while the lamb bacon was exceptional, as usual. I am a huge fan of lamb and this dish was one of the better ones I have tasted in some time. Once again, the wine pairing was perfect, this time with a 1989 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Hermitage La Chapelle. This Rhone wine was smooth, complex and with just the right combination of fruit, spice and earthiness to complement the lamb.

Next up was a Cheese Course, a cheese cart being brought out and we were able to select a few of the available selections. Accompanying the cheese was the 1927 Alvear Pedro Ximenez, a fine choice with delicious nutty flavors and only a mild sweetness. The cheeses I tried, which I can't recall their exact names, were all delicious, especially a triple creme. I can enjoy a cheese course as much as a dessert course, but at Troquet I can never skip dessert.

For dessert, everyone was brought a different dish, and mine, pictured above, was a version of Bread Pudding. You can see the amazing presentation of this dish, with fresh fruit, home made ice cream, and more. An absolutely delicious dessert, with lots of flavors that all blended together very well. I have high expectations from Pastry Chef Woodfine and she has yet to disappoint. The wine pairing for dessert was an Inniskillin Ice Wine Riesling, a sweet dessert wine with enough acidity so as to not be cloying.

I was thoroughly sated at the end of the dinner, just so much good food. Service was excellent and my dining companions and I had engaged in some fun and interesting conversation. Dinner only cemented my thoughts about Troquet and you owe it to yourself to check out this fine restaurant. And make sure to stay for dessert.

140 Boylston Street
Boston, MA
Phone: 617-695-9463


Adam Japko said...

Agreed and baffling that Troquet seems to sidestep the limelight. I have always thought it might have been its down to earth sensibility that appeals to winos with deep food appreciation sans flash or theme. Predating Troquet, I used to relish my visits to Uva, Chris' earlier Brookline restaurant which was really wino heaven. A very cool program that had us ordering 82 Bordeaux with pizzas to drink the wines at rediculously low prices. Now, Troquet offers a fully grown up high end food experience with the depth of wine list that fans of Chris' restaurants are accustomed to. I am as guilty as the next person for not giving it my fair share of visits. Thanks for the nudge and reminder, Richard.

Richard Auffrey said...

Thanks Adam for your comments. If you visit Troquet soon, please come back and tell me your thoughts.