This past Christmas my brother Josh and sister-in-law Jenny gave us the thoughtful gift of fine Massachusetts dining, and we had been saving it for a special occasion. Last night we got all dolled up and drove out to Concord to celebrate our anniversary at 80 Thoreau. It was a gustatory delight!
Sipping our refreshing, appetite-inspiring cocktails, we were busily discussing the softly lit, open floor plan of the the restaurant when the hostess announced that our table was ready. Our entire experience at 80 Thoreau was tasteful and classy, while not being overdone. We never felt that discomfort that sometimes comes with a too-stuffy wait staff, but instead were recipients of some of the best service I have experienced, anywhere.
As soon as we were seated at our table, the sommelier came over carrying a bottle of Domaine de Fondreche wine, and congratulated us on a “happy anniversary”. “How did you know?!” I asked. “Your dad called, and ordered this bottle of wine in celebration of your anniversary.”
Now that’s a celebration! It was such fun to be sitting in the corner table listening to the tinkling of glasses and murmured conversation while watching as each table took their time before each dish. We clinked glasses and dove head first into what was sure to be an outstanding menu.
We started our first course with crab cakes and gnocchi, both of which were unusual, velvety rich renditions of classic dishes. Native Northwesterners, we are used to the buttery richness of dungeness crab and so have been apprehensive about the ability of blue crab to live up to our standards. This crab cake, however, was bright, creamy, and faintly crunchy in the way that only soft shell crab can be.
The gnocchi was subtle and comforting, like a lazy sunday morning in Spring. Every dish on the menu complimented each another, so that no matter what combination you ordered it would seem as if designed in partnership. And the presentation was lovely. See for yourself!
The main course proved to be even more sensational than the first. I ordered scallops for the first time ever, and was not disappointed! They were silky and firm, with the faintest hint of sea, just enough to remind me of fresh ocean water but no more. My scallop bar has been set pretty high!
Cooper ordered a veal porterhouse steak, cooked medium rare and one hundred percent outrageous. Neither of us had ever had a whole veal steak before, but I don’t think it will be the last time! It was so tender they didn’t even offer a steak knife with it.
Last, but certainly not least, was dessert. We had chèvre cheesecake served with a rhubarb reduction sauce and candied pistachios. And a “happy anniversary” candle. Cooper had an espresso and I a cappuccino to go with what turned out to be the smoothest, most delicate cheesecake I have ever tasted. I wish I had another one in front of me right now!
80 Thoreau was an unforgettable restaurant, and we are so greatful to Josh and Jenny for making it possible! We truly celebrated in Cooper and Kari fashion, and it was oh-so-fun!