Infusions Bistro, Chelmsford, MA
I had a great dinner at Infusions Bistro in Chelmsford last night. This was my first time there. It was highly recommended by a co-worker and I have seen some positive reviews on Chowhound. My dining companion and I both ordered the tapas sampler platter for our dinner. This platter was one sample of each of the tapas plates on the menu ($25). We had ~12 different items on each platter. Each item was at least 3 bites, with several being larger. It was a nice way to sample the restaurant. Everything was delicious. The chef/owner came out to visit the table after dinner. He stressed his use of local and organic foods so the menu changes frequently. The entrees sounded delicious. They have a 4 course dinner option (choice of 3 tapas, salad or soup, entree and dessert) for $45. I will definitely be going back to try this in the very near future. The server was pleasant and knowledgeable.
It is a small place, easy to miss in the plaza, but worth finding. We didn't have reservations, but they are recommended. They serve beer and wine. I was impressed with the wine list, both by the glass and the bottle. I'm not a beer drinker so I didn't look over the beer list. They do not have bar seating.
tapas $2-$4 per plate
entrees were $18 - $28
14 Fletcher St, Chelmsford, MA 01824
I'm thinking this place may become the new Michael Timothy's. My husband and I enjoyed our first visit tremendously.
Infusions Bistro has been open for just over a year, we were told by our cheerful server. I'm obviously not hanging around with the right people, because until I found out about this place on a gourmet blogger's website, I had not heard a word about it. And with all the talk about Fishbones as a new Chelmsford dining destination, how did this one not get top billing?
In any case, here's my story. I made a dinner for 2 reservation for Saturday on Friday. We found the place easily; it is in a little office area (lots of doctors' and attorneys' offices, little salons, etc) off Rt. 4. One large room, Tuscan gold walls, comfy chairs and tables in various sizes. The place was almost full. We followed a couple who had reservations and were seated immediately; then when it was our turn they could not find our name on the list...uh-oh, this could be bad...quick visit to the back by the hostess and soon we were seated at a table for four, take away the extra dishes and utensils and we were made comfortable.
Our server arrived soon after and asked if we were familiar with the menu. We told her it was our first visit; she welcomed us warmly. I asked about specials, she said everything on the menu is special, but they were offering a 3 for $33 special, soup or salad, entree, and dessert for $33. My husband selected that, clam chowder (described on the menu as "deconstructed" but I didn't get it, it was quite traditional and not at all deconstructed, and very good) he had a grilled steak entree, and dessert was a Meyer Lemon Trifle. More about that later.
Their appetizers are described as "bites" , very small servings of things, on their website they are listed as Tapas which is accurate for the portion, not the Spanish influence. One can get various selections of the Bites, or just one as I did--a splendid crab cake with a delicious aoili. Scrumptious, and just enough to crave more.
I didn't mention that things started with a complimentary "amuse bouche" or what the server called an 'amusay.' I am a snob; accept it. (I also have this pet peeve--when both knife and fork have been used on a course, placed on the plate by the diner, then placed back on the table by the server rather than being given a fresh set of utensils. Come on, how difficult is it to bring fresh silverware? To me, it makes such a difference. Details!) The appetite teaser was two thin slices of apple smoked duck. Yum and Yum.
I selected roast chicken stuffed with boursin as my entree and it was wonderful. Crisp skin, moist and tender chicken; sides were a squash risotto and the best roasted carrot I have ever eaten. How good can the lowly carrot be? This was superb, roasted with something maybe apple cider that gave a real depth of flavor and natural sweetness. I loved that carrot! The portion was ample and I ended up taking about half of my dinner home in a nice cardboard container. Did I mention this place advertises itself as all green and sustainable and organic and local? All pluses in my mind.
Dessert quiz: what is a trifle? I think of a layered thing, maybe some liqueur or other infused cake layered with fruit, berries, cream? Well this Meyer Lemon Trifle was more a lemony panna cotta with berries in it, surrounded by a delightful raspberry coulis. So delicious, but again, not a trifle.
We were both very happy with our dinners and our wine choice was an Australian (Hope?) shiraz which was perfect. The wine list is varied in both region and price.
During our dinner I observed a couple near us. Their main courses arrived, he dove into his, and she took a bite, lifted things and sniffed and took little nibbles and put her fork down. Soon the server ventured over and there was a little discussion, a menu was produced, she ordered something else which arrived promptly, and she finished that off. I don't know if things weren't what she expected, not good, whatever. But their problem did seem to be addressed appropriately, so that's good.
I am impressed with this place. The young chef came out and spoke to us while we ate dessert; he was trained at CIA, Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park and since we've dined there, we talked about some things.
We'll definitely go there again.
Two very nice reviews, thanks both of you! It's on our top list, got to get in here now. I love tapas dining too, sampling many flavors is a culinary adventure (or can be anyway). We just recently went to Manhatten on Pearl in Nashua - very pleased. And Marco's in Lawrence - nice too, not as upscale or creative tapas dishes (or as high a price tag) but still very good.
I ate here back in December of 2007 and enjoyed some of the most amazing food I've had in MA outside of Boston. However, I recently revisited and was very disapointed. The food quality has dropped dramatically. My wife ordered the same dish she had back in December, one of the chefs "sig. dishes" composed of seared scallops w a cream sauce and ravioli, and they were no where near as exquisite as they once were. I was also displeased with my entree choice. The service was still of the same quality but the burnt scallops and scorched sauce were enough to discourage us from returning. I would understand such a mistake on a busy weekend evening, but we were the only couple there on a slow weeknight. A new restaurant, Moonstones, has recently opened just up the street and my wife and I had great experience there and highly recommend it.
Thanks for the update on Infusions - that is disappointing to hear. I really enjoyed the meal. I'm a bit of a bar fly otherwise I would have been back. My experience was really good when I was there in November.
I had lunch at Moonstone's about two weeks ago. I thought the food was okay, albeit expensive, for lunch. The description on the menu did not really match what I received. It was good, but I was disappointed because it wasn't really what I was expecting. My dining companion liked her salad with filet. Our shared pitcher of Sangria was good. The service was fine (still a few kinks, but acceptable for newly opened). The place is beautiful inside. The drink menu is intriguing.
My friend had a not so great time at Infusions. She ordered her filet and it came undercooked....when she asked for it to be recooked (something she NEVER does..shes a GM in the same business, but the meat was mooing), the chef walked over to her table and fought with her how it was cooked to the way she wanted...medium. She was in shock that the chef came out and was so rude. great for business.
Moonstones has had very mixed reviews. I've had people go on numerous times with one time being good, to the next, not so good. I have not been so I cant say, just reporting word on the street.
I just posted this on the Boston board in reply to someone asking a while back about Moonstones in Chelmsford. This board is where it belongs, I think:
Went to Moonstones tonight. My husband had a fine meal, I had a bad one. He enjoyed his lobster & mushroom tapas a lot & liked most of his chicken, shrimp & gnocci entree (can't remember what they call it). The chicken was tender & the shrimp were cooked just right. He didn't care for the gnocci--they were heavy & oily.
I ordered three tapas. The meat in the lamb "lollipops" didn't have a lot of lamb flavor & eating off the stick was difficult because it wasn't that tender, & the sauce was forgettable. The spring rolls had a crispy wrapper but the vegetables inside were mushy & essentially unrecognizable. The worst was something the menu called moussaka but bore no resemblance to any other moussaka I've ever had. It was all one gloppy tomato-y mess with a small rectangle of crustless bread poking up at each corner. I asked the waiter why I couldn't seem to find any eggplant in it. His reply: they use eggplant puree. Eggplant puree??!! What's the point of that?
It's obvious that the restaurant wants to know how its customers like the food but our waiter's way of asking was a bit too pushy for us.
One very positive note: the waiter noticed I'd eaten little of the so-called moussaka & took it off our bill.
My husband says he'd go back, but obviously that won't be with me.
Finally made it to Infusion Bistro last night with another couple. Loved it! We all opted for the 4 course. I loved my 3 tapas bites: shrimp skewer (loved the smokey bbq flavor and although tiny shrimp, not dried out), crab cake was fantastic and tuna tartar on pita chip was very tasty. the lanais salad was fantastic - had a duck leg on top of greens and sliced proschutto. my entree was lamb sirloin cooked perfectly, then sliced around a bed of braised cabbage/apples. Fantastic. Hubby got the fried pickles, bbq lamb and fried goat cheese. His soup was a butternut bisqe (didn't do much for me) and his entre was an excellent seafood dish with lobster and scallops. we will be going back again soon. They have a platter of the bites for $16 (one of each). I would enjoy that with a nice salad.