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Jun 10, 2010 04:13 PM

6/9/10 "Sixty Two On Wharf," Salem: Wow!! Major Wonderful on the North Shore!!

O.K. ,you North Shore folks, you're not getting my pity any more.(btw, feel free to pity me here in Winchester where we have but one good restnt in the whole town(Catch>>Parson's Table, though we do have a few good places w/in 15 min. But I digress......)

We recently learned of this 2 yr old Salem treasure from CH and friends, and tonight,
four of us had a terrific meal and evening at 62 On Wharf (just behind the new hotel)on Wharf St., off Derby.The room was candlelit, quiet, elegant, comfortable. Service was fairly food-knowledgeable and professional. The food emphasizes the diverse cuisines of Italy, with some French and Mediterranean influences as well. Aside from the top notch quality of food and execution, the FOUR COURSE $28 prix fixe, which some of us had, was an amazing bargain. An hour further south in bustling Boston, this meal would easily have been $58. With a trio of not-budget choices in each course, my companions had :
house- made levain type bread
Roasted Beets with Fennel
Tagliatelle with Pork, Beef, Veal Ragu Bolognese
Seared diver scallops with beluga lentils, pancetta and julienned green apple
Toffee Pudding with Vanilla Bean ice cream
I was supposed to get tastes of their dishes, but somehow that never happened.....

Because their extensive list of $6 'Spuntini/Little bites' (EASILY as big as their $10-$15 Boston counterparts)were so tempting, I started with a "5 for $25" and supplemented it with 2 apps. And shared them all, of course! What an appealing assortment.
The Numero Uno for all of us was the Chickpea Fritters. This('they won't let us take it off the menu') dish is definitely one that shows off Chef/Owner Tony Bettencourt's years of working with Susan Regis and Amanda Lyons. These are not the boring one-note chickpea fritters I have had elsewhere (including the French and Moroccan versions I have had about town.) These batons are made with both chickpea flour cooked down w/ milk; chopped cooked chickpeas, sweated onions and spices that chirp 'Cumin' in my grinning mouth. They're served with a date compote and they have me thinking a lot of Indian pakoras and their tamarind date sweet sauce(but better!)
Also of note were the Sole agro dolce, Saffron arancini with tomato concasse, and the Glazed Pork belly served over spicy tangy slivered cabbage sautee.

The tuna carpaccio with lemon zest, sea salt, cracked fennel seed and evoo- was a lovely bright touch of spring. Along with the chickpea fritters, my 'to die for/ have to come back for a full portion tomorrow night' dish was the beautifully tender house made Ravioli filled with a noteworthy ricotta and parm, and tossed w/ fresh peas, artichoke hearts, mint and parm. I ordered this because of the unbelievable version of this dish at Providence's Gatehouse years ago, but this one was (oh my!) even better. Actual house prepared baby artichoke hearts too; all for only $11 for a filling half portion! Apparently the spring menu is about to become a new summer menu so I'm making sure to return before those particular ravs disappear.

Desserts were equally successful in variety and execution.The panna cotta with lemon and blueberries and the toffee cake were both big hits. Re: bevs,my Love was o.k. with his 'Super Tuscan' red wine selection; my Cosmo was generous, well balanced and lovely.

A brief chat with the Hollywood-handsome , friendly exuberant chef revealed that he hails from Peabody, of Portuguese and Brazilian parents, and went through the highly regarded Roberta Dowling's Cambridge School of Culinary Arts tutelage in the first years of the new millenium .He owns 62 on Wharf with his wife and 2 little girls. I am just amazed that he has the energy to make all of everything himself, but that's talent and youth for you. (Most seasoned chefs stop at bread and desserts.)According to my No.Shore friends, word is really spreading about this place. As an alternate to the other terrific No.Shore culinary spot, Beverly's Tryst, 62 On Wharf is a much more attractive and comfortable space, with cushioned chairs and banquettes; still casual but not bare-bones bistro-appointed like Tryst. And a lot more quiet. 62 on Wharf is very active in the community and their Tues. and Wed. $28 prix fixe 'Neighborhood Nights' are a big hit, as they should be. So start going now before you have to wait a few wks. for a reservation!

Sixty2 on Wharf
62 Wharf Street, Salem, MA 01970

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  1. I was big fan of Tony's food at Tomasso. Especially that Bolgnaise.

    1. We love to bring out-of-town guests to the North Shore. There really is nothing like it in the whole country.Salem, along w/ Newburyport, Portsmouth, Providence and Marblehead, has the added bonus of retaining a very large percent of its original 18th and early 19th c. houses, with the amazing Chestnut St. being the greatest street of well preserved early 19th c. mansions-anywhere. But I digress! As Ron Thomason says, "I told you that to tell you this":

      Last Friday, we took more visiting friends on a North Shore tour and, of course, we brought them here . We had to order some of the greats from last time- the chickpea fries w/ cumin date chutney; the silky ricotta ravs w/ mint, peas, artichoke, and shaved Parm. Our fav new things were the Scallops w/ roasted sweet corn,pancetta and wild mushrooms and the addictively creamy Semolina gnocchi w/ shortrib ragu. And an unctuous plum crostata with almond cream. Ooohwheee!
      The night was a nasty humid stuffy one and 62 was comfy, cool, inviting. Service was friendly, accomodating and flawless.
      p.s. Can you see my banner? It says "Get You To Sixty Two"!

      1 Reply
      1. re: opinionatedchef

        hey, you want to see the Hollywood Handsome chef Tony? How's This? The Boston Globe featured him 6/30 in the G section.

      2. For those of you who love 62 on Wharf, I noticed today that wzlx still have 1/5 price gift certificates available. I believe they had around 60 left.

        9 Replies
        1. re: Pegmeister

          Thanks for the head's up! We had a great meal at Sixty2 on Wharf a few weeks ago and are looking forward to going back!

          Sixty2 on Wharf
          62 Wharf Street, Salem, MA 01970

          1. re: Pegmeister

            Looked on the website and couldn 't find it. Still there?

              1. re: owen_meany

                I just bought a gift certificate. Thanks for the heads up!

                1. re: Janiekins

                  That's great, glad you found it. I've purchased a number of certificates from various sites, and it really is a good deal. Also take a look at wrko site and necn The necn lists them under project half price, but their deals tend to sell off quickly.

                  1. re: Pegmeister

                    peg, can't thank you enough for posting that. i just bought 4 certificates; absolutely a no brainer!! i am compleyely unknowledgable about dining certificates; this is a whole new world to me; i'll try to find the others you mentioned (you check them from time to time, ye?/) Thanks so much again; very thoughtful of you.

                    1. re: opinionatedchef

                      Hi, glad you scored some certificates. I'm not sure why more people don't take advantage. I check the sites weekly. WRKO and WZLX tend to add new restaurants on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and they also post ahead and say when they will go on sale. NECN posts on Friday and they go on sale at 8 am. I've purchased from all sites and have been very happy with it. There are a lot of Boston area restaurants, including North and South shore.

                      1. re: Pegmeister

                        that's terrific peg. i am now going to be following your lead!thanks you again for all the specific info; you're so very helpful!

            1. re: Pegmeister

              Bought one! I am thrilled!! We are always on a budget and this coupon makes going to this restaurant within our reach. The menu is *fantastic* and we are local, so the Tues/Wed/Thurs prix fixe menus are possibilities...

            2. Yay, Sixty2 on Wharf love! I miss it a lot.

              Sixty2 on Wharf
              62 Wharf Street, Salem, MA 01970

              2 Replies
              1. re: noradeirdre

                Hi Pegmeister, what does NECN list them under? Thanks so much!

              2. Went w 2 of my gal pals Tuesday night. Second visit for me. It was amazing. We shared squash blossom ap. Stuffed w goat cheese , fried and drizzled w preserved lemon. OMG. So good. There were 3 of them. Perfect. I had the striped bass over a medly of veggies which inclded carrot, spinach, artichoke, red bell pepper, white beans. Good sized portion of bass which was DELICIOUS. My pals both ordered half portion pasta which was plenty. Both swooned over their dishes. One w duck and cherries, the other w lobster. Split plum crostada w gelato. yum. Even the decaf coffee was good. Am telling everyone about this place, Can't wait to go back for more.

                4 Replies
                1. re: shaebones

                  yay shae! thanks to pegmeister's june post, we bought a number of those wzlx discount coupons for 62 so we've been back twice in the last few weeks, after we watch the sun go down at Fort Sewall in Marblehead. Always get a small plates trio of arancini, chickpea fritters with cumin tamarind sauce, and (recent addition) vitello tonnato.Scallop entrees are alw intersting there and My Love continues to grin with his Bolognese. The staff is notably nice, smart and professional, parking is easy and the room is very cool and comfortable and good for conversation. Those locals are really lucky with that Tues Wed $28 4 course deal too! With a comfortable place like this and a deal like that, why would any local want to cook at home on Tues/Wed 'Neighborhood Night' ?!!

                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                    What would you say the average cost of dinner for 2 would be with say a couple glass of wine, 2 apps, 2 main courses, maybe 1 dessert? I'd love to buy some of those half off certificates.

                    1. re: maddensmom

                      I haven't been yet, as Salem tends to be a once or twice a year deal for me when I take the ferry from Long Wharf. Surprisingly, I just checked the wzlx site and they still have some half price certificates. I thought they would be sold out. I've picked up a few certificates for the Quincy, South Shore, North End area and have been really happy with them.

                      1. re: Pegmeister

                        thanks so much again, peg. i went straight away and got more. i figure even if we only eat there once every 2 months, that's still 6x yr, yes?! and they expire in 2017!! ha!
                        oh, and get this, they've added Vitello Tonnato to their small plates 3 for $ now we alw get the vitello, the arancini, and the chickpea fritters to start off with (though they cost us dessert because we never have room for it ). man oh man we are happy campers there!
                        thank you again, peg. 'tis a very good thing you have done!