The 50 Best Restaurants 2012: A Closer Look
For six of the restaurants on our 2012 list, we go a step further by showing you what makes them outstanding. Check out all of our 50 Best Restaurants 2012 coverage.
Each bite from Tim Cushman’s elaborate contemporary-Japanese menu—every painstakingly calibrated micro sea bean or watermelon pearl that garnishes the fresh slices of sashimi and nigiri—warrants a moment of silent appreciation. So, then: Shhhh.
Order the $175-per-person omakase, and your meal might look a little something like this (one plate at a time, of course).
All photos by Bruce Peterson / Styling by Kara Butterfield
|1. Kumamoto oyster with watermelon pearls and cucumber mignonette|
|2. Hamachi with spicy banana-pepper mousse|
|3. Wild Ivory King salmon with lemongrass-curry sauce, toasted garlic, and sesame|
|4. Warm eel with Thai basil, kabayaki, and fresh Kyoto sansho|
|5. Kinmedai with ume vinaigrette and shiso|
|6. “Legs and Eggs,” petite Maine lobster legs with white-sturgeon caviar and tomalley aioli|
|7. Squid with uni butter, uni powder, micro sea beans, and shiso|
|8. Wild bluefin tuna with “Republic of Georgia” herb sauce|
|9. Salmon with Vietnamese dashi caramel and spicy rau ram salsa|
|10. Shima aji and Santa Barbara sea urchin with ceviche vinaigrette and cilantro|
|11. Sea bass with spicy cucumber vinaigrette, avocado, benitade, and cilantro|
|12. Tasmanian ocean trout with smoked salmon roe, wasabi vinaigrette, and cucumber bloom|
|13. Shiso-leaf tempura with grilled lobster, charred tomato,and ponzu aioli|
|14. Mushroom sashimi with rosemary-garlic oil, sesame froth, and homemade soy sauce|
|15. Seared petite Wagyu strip loin with bone-marrow chawanmushi and toasted-garlic sake-soy sauce|
|16. Miso-marinated Delice de Bourgogne cheese (paired with Harpoon Rye IPA)|
|17. Foie-gras nigiri with balsamic-chocolate kabayaki, raisin-cocoa pulp, and a sip of eight-year-aged sake|
|18. Chocolates (three varieties): Salted hojicha caramel; pomegranate, rosewater, and elderflower; and yuzu kosho, gianduja, and sesame brittle|
Chef Jason Bond specializes in high-style fare with a dose of quirk—much of it owing to the unusual ingredients he sources. Here’s a look at some of the oddities that have appeared on the menu.
Just of Few of Jason Bond’s Favorite Things
|1. Bronze fennel seed|
|2. Romanesco broccoli|
|3. Cascade hops|
|4. Entoloma mushrooms|
|5. East Indian lemongrass|
|6. Birch root|
|7. Mexican sour gherkins|
|8. Husk cherries|
|9. Cherry bark|
|10. Autumn olives|
|11. Lemon-basil flowers|
|13. Heirloom purple carrot|
|15. Chicken mushrooms|
|16. Waldoboro Green Neck turnip|
There are endless examples of this restaurant’s creativity and sophistication, perhaps none as simple as “carrot, several ways.” The dish, which occasionally appears on the vegetarian prix fixe, arrives overflowing with fall’s bounty in every imaginable preparation—from a flat carrot ribbon to cool carrot-yogurt ice cream to a crisp carrot–yuzu kosho slaw.
Journeyman’s Tasting of Carrots
|1. Greek yogurt foam|
|2. Shredded carrot—yuzu kosho slaw|
|3. Roasted Minicor carrots|
|4. Hazelnut terrine|
|5. Carrot—Greek yogurt ice cream|
|6. Roasted Thumbelina carrots|
|7. Carrot ribbon|
|8. Nasturtium sauce|
Fromager extraordinaire Louis Risoli has overseen L’Espalier’s storied cheese cart for more than three decades, and being guided through his 30 or so hand-selected offerings remains one of this city’s decadent pleasures. You can enjoy them off the custom-crafted $6,000 cart, of course, but also during the Cheese Tuesday tastings that are held in the restaurant’s salon.
Louis Risoli Selects Five Great New England Cheeses
|1. Ada’s Honor: A tangy goat’s milk from Ruggles Hill Creamery in Hardwick|
|2. Coupole: A creamy, dense goat’s milk from Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery in Websterville, Vermont|
|3. Lake’s Edge: A soft, ash-rubbed goat’s milk from Blue Ledge Farm in Salisbury, Vermont|
|4. Harbison: A tree-bark-wrapped herbal cow’s milk from Jasper Hill Farm in Greensboro, Vermont|
|5. Timberdoodle: A semisoft, raw cow’s milk from Woodcock Farm in Weston, Vermont|
It’s not enough here to serve the butteriest seared foie gras, earthiest escargot, and most tender buttermilk-braised chicken. A variety of molecular powders and extracts keep the dishes as texturally and visually intriguing as they are delicious.
A Peek Into Clio’s Toolkit
|1. Aguni Sea Salt: An obscure Japanese finishing salt, used rather than fleur de sel on meats like Wagyu beef.|
|2. Honey Powder: Melted, stretched, and pulled like sugar for a striking garnish.|
|3. Chicory Granules: Infuses stocks, sauces, and flavored sodas.|
|4. Agar-Agar: A seaweed-derived substance ideal for sheetlike “noodles.”|
|5. Menthol Crystals: Reinforces and intensifies fresh mint flavors.|
|6. Pectin: Used for chewy gummies, jellies, and pâté de fruit.|
|7. Carrageenan Iota: Helps to mold and set custards.|
|8. Licorice Extract Sticks: Ground down to flavor licorice-roasted duck and other meat-based sauces.|
|9. Low-Acyl Gellan Gum: Used to create gels.|
This brasserie simply excels at everything, from expert charcuterie to porky mac ’n’ cheese to, best of all, agenda-setting cocktails produced in astonishing consistency and volume.
By the Numbers
The number of cocktails (at least) that an Eastern Standard bartender will have shaken and stirred by the conclusion of a busy Friday-night shift.
The number of cocktails that a new bartender at ES will have memorized after two weeks of training.
The number, on average, of whiskey smashes, ES’s top-selling cocktail, sold on average per night.
The number of whiskey smashes that ES will have sold since opening in the next eight or so months.
The max amount of time in minutes, on average, it takes an ES bartender to produce an order of craft cocktails.
Number of minutes in prep drills performed by ES bartenders to test their skills.
* Eastern Standard: By the Numbers has expanded content for the web that did not appear in print. All information courtesy of Eastern Standard bar director Jackson Cannon.
Check out all of our coverage for 50 Best Restaurants 2012.
Source URL: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/2012/10/50-best-restaurants-2012-closer-look/