Thursday, March 8, 2012

Thursday Sips & Nibbles

I am back again with a new edition of Thursday Sips & Nibbles, my regular column where I briefly highlight some interesting wine and food items that I have encountered recently.
1)  In celebration of Easter Sunday on April 8th, the Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro will be offering a special, prix fixe Easter Brunch. From 10:30am-4pm, diners can indulge in springtime fare and the prix fixe menu is available for $39 per person (+tax and gratuity). Reservations are highly recommended by calling 617-723-7575.

--Sweet Pea Soup with Lemon Crème Fraîche, Crispy Serrano Ham and Mint Oil
--Roasted Asparagus Salad with Farm Egg, Spring Dug Parsnip Purée, Onion Confit and Bacon
--Rohan Duck Rillettes with Traditional Accompaniments
--Arugula Salad with Shaved Fennel, Ricotta Salata, Candied Hazelnuts and Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette
--Fresh Fruit Bowl with House Made Yogurt, Native Honey and Granola
* * *
--Poached Eggs over Salmon and Toasted Brioche with Chive Hollandaise, Roasted Potatoes, and Baby Greens
--Omelet Fines Herbes with Chèvre, Roasted Mushrooms, Baby Greens and Potatoes
--Brioche French Toast with Native Strawberries, Mint and Chantilly Crème Fraîche
--Old Spot Ham with Braised Red Cabbage, Pickled Ramps and Maple Mustard Glaze
--Faroe Island Salmon with New Potato, Leek, Bacon Hash and Vidalia Onion Soubise
--Lentil and Farro Presse with Radish and Fennel Salad, Feta, Roasted Red Pepper and Spiced Yogurt
--Vermont Lamb Shoulder with Spring Dug Parsnip Purée, Roasted Asparagus and Mint Pesto
* * *
--Selection from our Dessert Cart

2)  On March 27, at 6:30pm, Legal Sea Foods will “trick” out Park Square’s wine cellar with their next Legal Holiday: April Fools’ Day. For those looking to celebrate the occasion a bit early this year, Legal Sea Foods will serve up three-courses of unique beverages and fun hors d’oeuvres in this “Expect the Unexpected” themed menu:

First Course
White Shrimp Tamal with roasted corn relish & salsa tatemada
Domaine du Viking “Tendre” Vouvray, Loire Valley, 2009
Second Course
Pan Seared Native Striped Bass with cilantro rice au gratin & green pepper cream sauce
Ken Forrester “Petit” Pinotage, Western Cape, 2010
Third Course
Pastel Tres Leches with café de hoya caramel sauce
Petite Mexican Coffee

Cost: $35 per person (includes tax and gratuity)
Reservation required by calling: 617-530-9392

3)  Tamo Bar in the Seaport Hotel is gearing up for St. Patrick's Day with some distinctively Irish cocktails and authentic dishes from the Emerald Isle. All are welcome to join in on the fun from March 14 through St. Patrick’s Day, Saturday, March 17. The Irish classics are available at both Tamo lounge and Aura restaurant.

St. Patrick’s Day Cocktails
Shannon Cider (Tullamore Dew Whiskey, Magners Cider, Simple Syrup, Fresh Lime Juice, Muddled Mint, Poured over ice) $10
Guinness Float (Guinness, Vanilla Ice Cream, Baileys Float) $12
Galway Bay (Jameson Irish Whiskey, Calvados, Fresh Lime Juice, Grenadine, Shaken and served straight up) $10

St. Patrick’s Day Menu
Shepards Pie (A Rich Dish of Stewed Lamb Topped with Mashed Potatoes. Served with a small green side salad) $24
Corned Beef and Cabbage (Our version of a classic dish) $22
Pan Roasted Hake (Colcannon, Baby Carrots, Whole Grain Mustard Beurre Blanc) $24

4)  AKA Bistro, located in Lincoln, is one of my favorite suburban restaurants and their early spring menu will be highlighting sashimi. AKA Bistro chef /owner Chris Chung’'s reputation as a raw fish innovator dates back to 2006, when he was hand-picked by Kenneth Oringer to open Uni Sashimi Bar. Over the next few years, Chung shuttled between east and west coasts as a private chef for a roster of celebrity clients. In 2010, Chung and business partner Christian Touche (Clio's 15 year GM) broke from Clio, with Oringer’s blessing, and headed out to Lincoln to open AKA Bistro.

Chris Chung’s early spring menu includes:
--Seared Maine Sea Urchin with tofu skin, wasabi powder and pomegranate tamari
--Grilled Baby Octopus with avocado cream, king oyster mushrooms and lime chicharron
--Bronzini with pickled burdock root, hot sesame oil and cilantro
--Sea Bream Sashimi with Shanghai style cabbage and shiso granite’
--Striped Bass Sashimi with mango kosho, umeboshi and red shiso
--Kumomoto Oyster with Barberry tapioca and ponzu
--Spanish Mackerel Tataki with curry oil, aji Amarillo and pickled radishes
--Kobe Beef Dumplings with Sukiyaki consommé
--Hokkigai (Surf Clam) Cerviche with tomastoes, oranges, jalapenos
--Shishito (sweet hot peppers) with sesame kabayaki glaze & bonito flake
--Scottish Salmon Sashimi with Hakka soy bean vinaigrette

More than a dozen fine sakes are available by the glass or bottle, and the house cocktail is a mixture of lemongrass syrup and sake ($8)

5)  On Friday, March 16 and Saturday, March 17, Blue on Highland will go green with a special Saint Patrick’s Day menu celebrating the luck of the Irish. Guests are invited to indulge in Irish beef stew ($14), fish & chips with malt vinegar ($16) and grilled rib eye steak with Jameson whiskey butter and colcannon ($28). Diners can top off their festive fare with Blue’s mint chocolate cupcakes ($8) for dessert.

Irish or not, Blue’s Celtic-inspired cocktails will get everyone in a celebratory mood with specials such as the Irish Buck, Bushmills whiskey with ginger beer and fresh lime ($11), St. Germain green cooler ($11), traditional Irish Coffee ($8.50) or Harpoon IPA (yes, it will be dyed green, $6). All food specials will be available for lunch, dinner and takeout on both Friday and Saturday, so head to Blue on Highland and go green this St. Patrick’s Day.

Reservations are recommended. Please RSVP at 781-444-7001.

6)  Beginning with Easter and followed by Mother’s and Father’s Day, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar serves a three course sit-down menu with a focus on deliciously traditional dishes. Brunch hours on April 8, Easter Sunday, are 11:30am-3pm. The prix fixe menu is $34.95 per person with a children’s version available for $16.95. Fleming’s traditional a la carte menu will also be available.

Sunday Brunch always brings back memories of great family get-togethers and traditional dishes,” said Russell Skall, Fleming’s Excutive Chef who created the menu. “There are four excellent entrees, but my favorites are the Filet Mignon Benedict and the New Orleans-Style French Toast—both modern classics that don’t get any better.

For the Benedict, tender filet mignon is cooked to order, topped with impeccably poached eggs, then crowned with buttery béarnaise sauce tasting of fresh lemon, shallots, and tarragon. Fleming’s New Orleans-Style French Toast is made from thick slices of rich brioche bread soaked in Grand Marnier-flavored cinnamon batter, then cooked in butter until crisp and golden brown on the outside with a velvety interior. A generous dollop of housemade chantilly cream and fresh berries make for a decadent topping. Shrimp or Filet Frittata and a Steakhouse Filet Mignon Cobb Salad round out the main course offerings. Guests start with Fleming’s signature Wedge Salad or a Fresh Fruit Medley, and desserts include a choice of Crème Brûlée, White Chocolate Bread Pudding or Walnut Turtle Pie.

The children’s menu for those under 12 begins with a fresh fruit salad followed by four kid-pleasing entrées, a sundae or sorbet for dessert and includes a beverage.

A brunch cocktail, the Blood Orange Fizz, has been created by Maeve Pesquera, Fleming’s Director of Wine, and is priced at only $6.95. Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur, Stoli Vodka, fresh lemon juice and a splash of club soda is served on the rocks.

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