Gargoyles - Davis Square
A friend of mine and I hit Gargolyes last night for quick meal. We arrived there a little before 6 and the bar was hoppin' and approximately 2/3 full. We snagged seats at the end of the bar and ended up having a fabulous meal.
I was disappointed that my favorite spiced bourbon was not on the menu. Apparently, it's "seasonal." Personally, I think spiced bourbon is tasty year round, but whatever. I "settled" for the dragon cocktail which was tart and tasty. What made this drink different is the sprinkle of cayenne within the cocktail itself.
To start, we shared the lobster ceviche. It arrived on an long rectangle platter with a small glass of foamy celery juice. The juice was tasty but awkward because of the amount of foam. But, the lobster ceviche caused swoons all around. Chunks of raw lobster meat, sitting in yuzu, corn bits, what looked like rice crispy bits and shiso. This was absolutely fabulous. The contrast of the sweet lobster meat with the tangy yuzu juice offset with the cereal crunch. It was a virutal party in the mouth.
Next we split the burger and fries. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Gargoyles makes a damn fine burger. It came out perfectly medium rare, perfectly seasoned and perfectly tasty. The fries have changed. They now look like long waffle fries, cut up in quarters. But it was perfectly salted and the sweetness of the homemade ketchup was a wonderful contrast to the saltiness and crispness of the fry itself. I love this burger. I also liked how they had pickles slices on the side. More than half sour but not unpleasant, it was an excellent accompaniment.
Lastly, we split a dessert. Butterscotch fondant with a black truffle ice cream and dried strawberries. This was out of this world. The butterscotch fondant was a little heavy but there was a great flavor and texture to it. It was smooth overall, but little bits of crunchy something to give it variety. It had just the right amount of butterscotchy goodness without being overly sweet. But, oh, that black truffle ice cream.... this was over the top, out of this world, unbelievably delicious. You could taste the earthy truffles, contrasted with the sweet cream in the ice cream itself. I could have eaten this on my own, without the butterscotch fondant. Instead, it transcended to a heavenly dessert. I wouldn't have minded if the ice cream serving was a bit bigger. If I had tried to proportion the ice cream bites with the butterscotch bites, I would have come up short on ice cream. A minor quibble and it is my own greediness that I would have wanted more ice cream.
All in all, a lovely dinner for a reasonable price. 4 (big) cocktails, 1 appetizer, 1 main course, 1 dessert came to $82 (or $84) including a (generous) tip.
Now, if Jason Santos would only bring back the tuna devilled eggs from Dedo, I would be on cloud 9.
Seems the pastry chef is getting a little bit into molecular gastronomy like Alex Stupak - what with the dried strawberries (Clio has 'em too, even though Stupak's left for Alinea in Chicago) and when I was there last they had "blueberry caviar," presumably made with alginate. Exciting stuff!
Actually I think the molecular gastronomy is Jason's influence ... the celery foam, the rice crispy treats in the ceviche, there was something else with a shot of some kind of foamy liquid (I forget now) and coffee dust or some such. I've never been that into the Hester Blumenthal/Wylie Dufresne thing (please don't blindfold me and ask me what I'm tasting) but these unexpected touches, textures and tastes are pretty fun.
I was the lucky friend at the bar last night. Although ice cream is not my bag, baby -- the black truffle ice cream is out of this world. Earthy umami with sweet creamy mouthfeel -- I know I'm using all the foodie words possible but they are really fitting here. Combined with the butterscotch fondant, it was awesome.
Burger perfectly cooked medium rare, as beetlebug said, with great smokey bacon. And for $10 it's a great value.
Paul, the other great bartender besides Maureen, made a super red sangria that hit the spot. Kenny O's Enter the Dragon wasn't quite spicy enough, but it was sure tangy. These guys do nice cocktails.
I love Gargoyles!
Obviously Paul's taking lessons from Maureen on sangria-making - she's usually the expert on those. :-) I'm heading there tonight with several friends, one of whom absolutely LOVES lobster. Not sure if she's going to go for the ceviche, but I'll try and convince her to get it!
And that ice cream has my name written ALL over it! And yes, I asked last time I was there, and John (pastry chef) is getting direction from Jason on his desserts, so the desserts "work better" with the entrees.