80 Thoreau: a must go!

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!

We arrived a little bit early for our reservation, so we kicked off our date at the bar with house-made tonic and Junipero gin. Glass o' class at the 80 Thoreau bar

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.”

photo (1)

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.

Crab cake with garlic pea cream and sorrel

Crab cake with garlic pea cream and sorrel

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!

Seared gnocchi with nettles, vidalia and prosciutto

Seared gnocchi with nettles, vidalia and prosciutto

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!

Seared scallops with parsnip puree and pousse-pied

Seared scallops with parsnip puree and pousse-pied

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.

Grilled veal porterhouse with fava, escarole, and green garlic

Grilled veal porterhouse with fava, escarole, and green garlic

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!

Chevre cheesecake, rhubarb and pistachios

Chevre cheesecake, rhubarb and pistachios

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!

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4 Responses to 80 Thoreau: a must go!

  1. Signe Pierce says:

    Your words painted even a more beautiful picture than the photos of the remarkable meal. We are so happy your 7th anniversary was so well celebrated!

  2. Em says:

    Love love love! Sooo happy your anniversary was so special. I think being a food critic is your calling. Grate!

  3. Dad says:

    Nice choice J&J……..fabulous writing Kari!!! You never cease to amaze me…..could I go next time?

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