Sunday, April 5, 2015

Loyal Nine

          Loyal Nine is one of the most anticipated restaurant openings in Boston (East Cambridge) this spring, and I showed such restraint by waiting a whole week to try them! The concept is east coast revival cuisine, or updated takes on classic New England dishes and ingredients. The menu is unlike anything I've ever seen, with dishes I've rarely or ever tried - think Atlantic sea bream, butterfish, periwinkles and turkey neck.

          The atmosphere fits perfectly with the concept, sort industrial meets log cabin with lots of wood, beams, and open space. Many of the dishes are made by one of the owners in house, and our server explained that items she doesn't make come from local thrift shops.

          Each meal starts with some hearty slices of home made rye bread and cultured butter, along with a bowl of beans. The beans are fried and served with bacon and seaweed; sort of a nod to the classic New England baked beans. I couldn't stop eating these, the texture was really unusual and delicious - crisp on the outside and perfectly tender inside.

          The menu is divided into three sections: on the ice, with hands, and trenchers or larger courses. We tried a couple of dishes from on the ice to start both recommended by our server as being some of his personal favorites.

          First was the caveach of butterfish with black walnut and smoked oyster root. The simple preparation was perfect for the delicate fish.

          Next was the soused mackerel on brown bread with horseradish cream and radishes. This was one of my favorite dishes of the night, I loved the soft brown bread and the combination of the mackerel and horseradish.

          We ordered one dish from the with hands section: the fried clam and pig ear roll which was another recommendation. This was a twist on both a hot dog and clam roll, with a hearty New England style roll filled with fried clams and topped with two fried pigs ears. 

           We finished with two trenchers: the Scituate lobster with Shagbark hickory nuts and mead and the matelote of RI squid with bone marrow dumplings. I've never eaten lobster meat so tender, the meat in the shell was falling apart and almost creamy. I think I scraped the shell at least 3-4 times trying to get one more bite.

          Although I enjoyed the squid, the bone marrow dumplings were really the star of the show. These were my favorite dish of the entire night; the marrow seemed to be infused in the dough so you got the flavor in every single bite.

          There is also a cafe in back, which our sever showed us at the end of the meal. It's a really cool set up with some serious equipment. The cafe serves a selection of bakery items and a breakfast sandwich which they're hoping will become the best in Boston.

          The experience was outstanding; the food unlike anything I've had before and all of the staff was knowledgeable, friendly, and excited about the menu. I can't wait to come back for dinner, and will definitely stop by before work to try the breakfast sandwich!

Loyal Nine on Urbanspoon

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