My friend Gail had raved about Boardwalk Bistro's Restaurant Week menu last year, so it landed near the top of my list for this year's celebration. I couldn't fit it into last week's hectic schedule, which made me glad when I learned that it was one of the places that decided to extend their special menu another week.
Pimiento ricotta -- pure pleasure.
Gail and I headed out on Tuesday night and were almost immediately faced with a dilemma. There were six first-course options and, well, we wanted as many as we could get. Our server solved our problem by announcing that we could get an extra appetizer for $5 apiece, so we loaded up on four of the six choices and proceeded to fall into a state of comfort food bliss.
My first plate was the fancifully labeled "pimiento ricotta atop toasted baguette," which we folks in Kentucky would call pimento cheese on toast. Mighty good it was, too. The addition of a fried herb and a balsamic drizzle made the dish a mash-up of Italy and the Old South, but it worked because it was all about presenting these favorite flavors in a way where they all complemented each other.
A seared scallop with grapefruit butter
A velvety corn soup arrived with a crab beignet in the center and chunks of ham suspended in each spoonful, while a romaine salad featured a generous amount of duck confit, a touch of duck bacon and a light hazelnut dressing. Our final starter was a perfectly seared scallop crowned with slivers of nectarine and served with a dollop of grapefruit butter and a pistachio vinaigrette that was so nutty you wanted to dredge each voluptuous bite of that shellfish through it. (And we weren't through with those irresistible pistachios.)
Because we were sharing a bottle of robust Bogle Phantom, made with Petite Sirah and Zinfandel, we opted for the two red meat entrée options. One was Lamb Wellington, with tender shank meat presented with a rustic apricot sauce and scallion mashers. It was a toothsome variation on the usual serving of meat and potatoes. The other was a Petite Filet Benedict, in which a 5-ounce cut of beef tenderloin had been wrapped in prosciutto and served with a poached quail egg and hollandaise. The beef arrived medium rare to order and practically melted in your mouth, with or without the unctuous sauce on top. Rosemary potatoes and asparagus spears rounded out the plate.
Petite Filet Benedict with a poached quail egg
The final option on the Restaurant Week menu is Cornmeal Encrusted Red Fish.
From the dessert menu, we chose a nut-lover's fantasy — pistachio cake with pistachio cream and pistachio ice cream — and a seductive chocolate torte with a bourbon caramel sauce. Both plates were cleaned before we left.
Most every dish offered as a fine reminder of the good food that comes out of Boardwalk Bistro's kitchen on a regular basis.
Culinaria's Restaurant Week continues through Saturday at Boardwalk Bistro as well as Azuca, Biga on the Banks, Bin 555, Boiler House, Myron's Prime Steakhouse and both Tre Trattorias.
This Friday, you can hear Jim Cullum's Band at Boardwalk Bistro while enjoying the Restaurant Week menu.
A chocolate torte with bourbon-caramel sauce
Lunch: Monday-Saturday; Dinner: Tuesday-Saturday