Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Ship: An Initial Review

Pan Seared Long Island Duck Breast served over Smoked Gouda Risotto Drizzled with Balsamic. What an incredibly delicious dish. It was one of my favorites at Savory Tastes Cafe. And having it once again brought back so many pleasant memories. It was just as tasty now as it was before. I am very glad to see the return of Chef Stephen Bell.

As I mentioned recently, Chef Stephen Bell is now the Executive Chef at the newly opened Ship Restaurant on Route 1 South in Lynnfield, near the Christmas Tree Shop. I stopped by for lunch yesterday and also had a brief chat with Chef Bell.

The dining room and full service bar seats about 125 people. They also have a function room that seats about 40 people. The Ship has a casual atmosphere and is open for both lunch and dinner. The menu specializes in seafood, including a raw bar, but also has a number of grilled meat selections.

As the restaurant has only been open for a couple weeks, and Chef Bell has only recently started, the restaurant is very much in a transitional period. Chef Bell is still working on the menu and dishes, ensuring they meet his high standards. He will add some of his signature dishes from Savory Tastes, such as the Duck Breast and Risotto. Thus, if you dine there right now, please note that the restaurant is still new and working out the kinks. As I have said before, that is true for all new restaurants. It usually takes 2-3 months for a new restaurant to be at the top of their game.

For lunch, I was initially given a couple pieces of warm, fresh bread and a dish of oil and herbs. As I have also said before, good bread is a great way to start a meal. I was also offered more bread later on during my lunch.

My lunch began with the Duck Breast and Risotto, which is an appetizer on the menu. And it was superb. For my entree, I tried the Seafood Casserole which came with a choice of potato and cole slaw. The Casserole is made from scallops, shrimp and haddock and is in an Al Forno sauce. It is out of the dish and topped by a bread crumb coating. The coating was a bit too thick but the seafood was very tasty in its sauce and there was plenty of it as well. I had the French fries and they were lightly seasoned and cooked well, crisp on the outside and soft inside.

Service was ok, though I had to ask for my water glass to refilled a couple times.

Chef Bell has much planned for the future, including the return of his themed wine dinners. He is a passionate and dedicated man so I am sure that The Ship will become a dining destination you will want to go to. The restaurant has much potential so I look forward to how it will evolve over the next few months.

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