No. 9 Park 2/16/09
I made reservations for my Wife's Birthday. It been about a year and a half since I've dined there, but have been there plenty for drinks. I was bracing myself not to be as impressed as I had been in the past; BL has more irons in the fire since my last visit. No bracing was necessary, it was well within the high expectations I have come to expect from No. 9 Park with impeccable service (as usual).
Our server informed us that there were a number of diners participating in the tasting menu that evening and if we liked, he could pair our courses with wines that are not usually available by the glass... I'm in
Starters-Fois Gras and the watercress potage w/ escargot. Paired with an 06 Dom Du Traguier Banyuls Blanc and an 07 Heidi Schroeder Furmint respectively.
Probably the most generous portion of fois gras that I have seen in Boston in a while, hate to say it, almost too generous for something that rich. I had been craving soup all day and honestly, I was hoping for something a little more "wintery" than watercress, but it was a home run, fresh and peppery flavor with the wonderful brininess of the escargot, with a little bread for sopping, not a drop was left behind.
Mains: Braised Short rib and Poached Lobster paired with an 06 Qupe "Bobcat" Syrah (I think this is made especially for B&G) and an 06 AuBon Climat Pinot Gris/ Pinot Blanc.
The twist on the short rib was that it was accompanied by exquisitely medium rare beef heart, Had the waiter not gone into such detail describing the dish, my wife would have gobbled it up, but knowing what it was freaked her out a bit. The short rib itself was very good, but I'm getting a little tired of seeing this on menus all over the city, it's not that tough to pull off at home if you have the time.
I'm sorta puritanical when it comes to lobster; boiled/steamed or lobster roll, period. However I was in the mood for lobster and I'm glad I followed my hankering. Angels rejoiced, served with miso, soybeans and uni, a very simple but elegant presentation. I could become addicted to that dish.
From the moment I made the reservation I knew I would finish with some sort of cheese. They happened to be offering a cheese flight consisting of 3 cheeses from a local CT or VT farm, I can't recall, but it was great. Jessica Kinney (not the "Rock of Love" contestant), knows her stuff.
My wife is a sucker for creme brulee so she went with the apple creme brulee which was tasty, but I was too focused on my cheese to fully appreciate it.
Deserts were served 2004 Dom de Fenouillet Muscat de Beaumes de Venise...nectar of the Gods (and apparently only about 16 bucks retail- gotta find it).
I noted in my Open Table reservation that this was a Birthday, so they treated us to some yummy home made marshmallows and a digestif which was reminiscent of the Sardinian Mirto.
I've always had a far above average experience No. 9 Park, I know others have not, but unless Barbara herself or one of the servers smite me, this will remain my go to special occasion destination. And yes, our fantastic server wrote down all the wines he served us, there's no way I would have remembered all of those...extra points.
Both times I've dined at No. 9, the staff went out of their way to provide exceptional service. The first time, they helped us find a place to buy an emergency cake at 10 pm, especially remarkable because we were skipping their dessert. When I made reservations the next time, I mentioned that we were bringing a guest, that it was her birthday, and that she had a broken leg. When we arrived, they greeted our guest by name, then led us to a table they thoughtfully had chosen so that she could stretch her leg and not get knocked into. Both times, we had great food and a wonderful experience.