Description: French / Italian, Beacon Hill, Chef’s Tasting Dinner.
No. 9 Park is a gem in the Barbara Lynch portfolio of restaurants. This French / Italian place sits on a slope in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Boston. The interior is small and cozy, dimly lit and rather spartan with the starched white table clothes and very little else. My dining companion and I both ordered the Chef’s Tasting menu which is a 7 course prix fixe dinner for $112–a bargain in hindsight given the price and quality of the ingredients used. I also opted for both the optional supplementary dishes–a foie gras dish and a prune stuffed gnocchi dish. Another highlight is the service–the servers were warm and unobtrusive, never haughty. My wine glass was quietly taken away and my bread roll replaced…all without my notice–a certain sign of meticulous service.
Overall impressions: top notice ingredients and excellent preparations. The first two seafood dishes were delightful starters. The raw scallops were wonderfully sweet and sat in a uniquely exquisite green apple consome–it’s bright fruitful flavor was distinctly apple and paired with the mild scallops well. There were also two tiny pieces of uni in the dish that lent a nice creaminess to the dish. The next dish, the lobster dish, was also a home run. The sweetbreads were the best I’ve ever tasted…just barely breaded, allowing the very special taste of the sweetbread to shine. The cabbage gave the rich dish nice balance with its tart flavor and crunchy texture.
The chestnut cortezzi was a little disappointing after the first two dishes. Well executed but I found it to be too heavy on the butter and rather bland otherwise.
The prune stuffed gnocchi was also rather bland. I probably would not order this supplement next time. Note: it does include a small piece of foie gras.
The foie gras was your standard foie gras and came served with two pieces of a very dense sausage. A good dish but nothing special.
The egg and flat iron steak where both delicious dishes. The flat iron steak was cooked to a perfect medium rare and was moist and superbly tasty. A standout dish. Before serving, a rich beef broth is poured over the steak which enhances its flavor greatly–I actually wanted to drink the broth, it’s that good.
The dessert (we skipped the cheese dish…we were both getting very full by this point) included a sweet potato “sorbet” that was extremely creamy and not icy at all. It was very pleasant and cooling and very mildly sweet.
The main dessert was cranberry clafoutis which was absolutely delicious although I detected no miso. Dinner finished with petite fours…orange madeleine cookies and raspberry (I think?) fruit squares.
Conclusion: A wonderful experience. The restaurant is quite romantic but I did see a larger business group there as well. Food and service are both top notch and more creative than I had anticipated (especially the apple consume). If I were to go again, I would certainly get the prix fixe menu but probably would not get any of the supplements (or perhaps share the foie gras dish). Without the supplements, expect to leave the restaurant full but not about to burst (ala PerSe).