by Jacqueline Cain | May 31, 2017 11:32 am
Named for the horticultural term for selecting the best attributes of a breeding plant, Mary Dumont’s Cultivar combines more than a decade of the chef’s experience, modern sensibility, and hydroponic produce. The unique debut opens this weekend.
A proprietary Freight Farms garden will be situated on the patio outside the renovated Ames Hotel, which Cultivar anchors on the first and second floors. Inside the container garden, seasonal produce like microgreens, baby carrots, kohlrabi, and breakfast radish, will grow year-round for Dumont’s menu. Foraged flora, sustainable seafood, and dry-aged meats comprise the rest of the dishes.
Cultivar has an ever-changing raw bar, with caviar, plateaux, oysters on the half shell, and composed crudo. Appetizers, like Maryland softshell crab with pickled knotweed, cherries, fregola, cultured butter, and lemon verbena; and verjus-pickled white strawberries and asparagus, culatello (an Italian salumi), and purslane, are refined in the California cuisine style; Dumont started her career in San Francisco, before moving back to New England and getting the attention of Food & Wine as a Best New Chef in 2006.
House-made pastas, like nettle bucatini with lamb neck sugo, and squid ink messinesi with sea beans, confit tomato, and seafood, come in half- or full portions. For entrées, expect dishes like braised pork cheeks presse with whey-braised Thumbelina carrots, turnips, morels, and lavender.
Robert Gonzalez, a 2016 Eater Young Gun formerly of Bistro du Midi, is in charge of the house bread and pastry programs. Save room for delicate plates like chocolate passion custard with cashew lime sponge cake and mandarin sorbet; and a blood peach bombe with matcha meringue and black sesame ice cream, with house-made frozen confections. Gonzalez is also curating a selection of cheeses.
A selection of grower Champagnes and other small, sustainable-production bottles comprise the wine list, care of wine director Nicholas Daddona, an advanced sommelier formerly at the wine program at Boston Harbor Hotel.
Dan Lynch joins the team as cocktail director via Area Four Boston, where he focused on using fresh produce in his drinks. At Cultivar, he is using a lot of gin, including a seasonal wild botanical variety from Glendalough, and a custom botanical blend by GrandTen. Sip on the Plum Island Swizzle, with Brockman’s gin, beach plum, apricot, cinnamon, lime, and Peychaud’s; or order the Farmer’s Sparkling Sangria for the table—the mix is gin, juice, Jerez, and brandy, finished with a tableside wine pour.
Lynch is also populating five draft lines with local, limited release beers from the likes of Mystic and Idle Hands.
The 88-seat dining room, designed by New York firm Glen & Co. and Emily French-Dumont, the chef’s wife, recalls the horticulture theme, with branch-like chandeliers, butcher block tabletops, and a suspended garden above the dining room. A custom sculpture by Ray Ciemny, called “Swarm of Bees,” also hangs from above. There is a 12-seat, live-edge bar, and upstairs, a large private dining room seats up to 90. Outside the bar, the patio seats 55.
Cultivar will open Friday, June 2. It will serve dinner nightly beginning at 5 p.m.
1 Court St., Boston, 617-979-8203, cultivarboston.com.
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