Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Boston Restaurants: Clio; Uni; Rialto; Sportello; Barking Crab; Durgin Park


Clio is the main restaurant owned by very talented chef Ken Orringer. For me, this was by far, the best restaurant in Boston that I visited this trip. It may be their best resto, period!

Great, house made cocktails and mixed drinks. Enjoyed a "JRT", diplomatico rum, allspice dram, burnt cinnamon syrup, lime, mace and fresh nutmeg. There are so many enticing choices, the drinks menu was worth asking for and keeping. You could spend the night at the bar!

Great bread and great butter was presented, for me, a sign of a truly discerning chef.

Amuse: blue cheese financiere. Slightly sweet and crunchy.

Hay roasted heirloom carrots, guanciale, pickled radish pods, rye. Rich carrot flavour, very sweet and slightly smokey and soft textured accompanied by the contrast of crunchy toasted rye. A superb dish reminiscent of one I enjoyed at the wonderful Willow Inn on Lummi Island, Washington.

Fricassee of burgundy escargots, puree of carrots and argan oil, kuzu kosho, green ginger gremolata and wild rice. Wonderful textures and earthy flavours with citrus highlights.

Cassolette of sea urchin and lobster, foamed parsnip milk, crispy shallots, candied lemon, chopped chives. What a harmonious melding of flavours with a touch of heat!

Roast suckling pig, confit of porcelet belly and loin, fresh corn grits, morcilla (blood sausage), whisky jam, burnt peach, honjameji mushroom, crispy crackling, integrated with some sweet corn kernels.

Duet of beef, grilled, rare Meyer skirt steak, root beer braised short rib, hearts of palm brulee, charred cippolini onion and lemon balm "diable". Loved the liquorice flavours in the dish

Raspberry confetti, verveine sorbet, thai basil, waffle cone crunch. What a refreshing dessert.


Uni is the “next door” sister restaurant of Clio, and owned by chef Orringer and his group. It is in the same space as Clio but at one end of the resto and down the stairs. For a resto that is not "prime" Japanese, the fish was remarkably fresh. For a Japanese style fish resto, the desserts were incredibly good and come from the sister restaurant Clio. Overall, this is a resto not to be missed.

Awake (Australian green lip abalone) steamed in sweet kelp with cauliflower, lime, garlic (no photo).

Vegetable tempura arrived crispy but over-battered.

Maine sea urchin, pickled mustard seeds, ume (plum) vinegar and citrus rice.

Shishito, fried Japanese peppers with sesame, kabayaki glazed tuna flakes.

Hamachi toro, warm olive oil, pickled ramps, spicy shallot condiment.

Itoyoridai (threadfin bream) candied fennel, mandarin kosho, puffed rice.

Sake (salmon) toro, shiso, pickled peaches, sesame, cilantro.

Hamachi collar, soy, warm olive oil.

Rooibos poached quince, caramelized white chocolate, chicory, horchata ice cream.

Passion fruit tart, litchi sorbet, matcha tea, aloe ice cream cubes, coffee crumble. A wonderfully refreshing dessert.

Miso dark chocolate cremeux, banana ice cream, golden miso, cashew butter. A wonderful dish for chocolate lovers.

Chocolate coulant, inspired by Michel Bra, coconut cocoa nib ice cream, coconut butter in the middle.


Roasted stuffed squid, pork sausage, spicy greens and squid ink. A balance of sweetness and spice, nicely offset with cilantro.

Grilled clams, andouille and toasted garlic bread. Andouille: wonderful coarse textured, garlic sausage.

Fisherman's soup with rouille, basil oil and gruyere. A properly executed, full flavoured soup.

Orchietti, spicy greens, pecorino and house made sausage. Good pasta, but the whole dish was lightly too salty.

Brown sugar lamb rack with slow cooked shoulder, orange, black olives, rosemary all accompanied by a potato stack, arugula and shaved fennel. The the rack was cooked perfectly but shoulder was dry.

Roast pork, kale, polenta and chanterelles, topped with crispy bacon. Polenta and mushrooms inedibly salty. This kitchen has a heavy hand with salt.

Caramelized autumn fruit tart, maple cream candied lemon zest. Overly syruped.

Brandied hazelnut semifreddo, poached quince with pumpkin zabalione. Very good semi- freddo.


Owned by Boston chef Barbara Lynch. This is a terrific place for breakfast.

Smoked duck hash, slow scrambled eggs, root vegetables and potato, served with crisp thin toasts. A great savory breakfast dish. Cooking the scrambled eggs this way was one of the best examples of scrambled eggs that I have experienced. 

Winter turnip soup, pig trotters, apple mostarda, turnip pesto....chunks of trotter. A truly great soup, maybe not for breakfast, but, for any other time (no photo).

Sausage... earthy, coarse, well herbed "country" sausage as good as you can want with breakfast, or any other time.

Great pancakes (no photo), etc. For brunch, this is a resto worth going out of your way. 

Barking Crab

Barking crab cakes with red pepper aioli.  Very tasty but a little too finely chopped resulting in less appealing texture.

Stuffies, Rhode Island chopped quahog with chorico and Portuguese sweet bread stuffing. A bit too much bread, too much sausage and not enough clam.

Fried, breaded, whole bellied, Ipswich clams with tartar sauce and lemon. Batter a bit too heavy and greasy and not crispy enough to be pleasing.

Lobster salad BLT. French fries are crispy, but greasy. Lobster filling non-descript flavours. I prefer steamed or boiled lobster anyhow.

Lobster roll sandwich with fries. Fries were nice and crispy and the lobster roll tasty....but, i still prefer my lobster steamed and whole.

Durgin Park

One of the 2 oldest restaurants in the United States and still going strong. For years, when I would come to boston, I was always committed to at least one meal at Durgin Park and would always start with the steamed clams (no photo), then have the biggest rare piece of roast beef. Both dishes are still terrific and the perfectly cooked roast beef sensational.....tender and tasty!

Great, incredibly crispy (I bet you can't eat just one) onion rings.

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