Last night I got to finally check out a restaurant that Ive been wanting to try for quite a while. 75 Chestnut is located on a quaint side street off of Charles Street in Beacon Hill. I think that its quiet sophistication is what has called me to it, nothing showy, and I hoped that those ideals would be passed into its food.
Inside the small sized restaurant you had the same feeling. The room was decorated with trinkets that led you to believe that they were just simply discoveries along the way, from series of paintings of trees to a few jolly garden gnomes. Each of these obscure finds made me feel as though I was in a comfortable spot, somewhere to relax and enjoy. The tower of cheese that greeted us as we entered assisted in this idea as well.
We were led to a table and just after sitting I heard a waiter speaking to the ladies who sat next to us- his manner was increasingly friendly, educating them about the dessert menu in a knowledgeable way, but equally accepting their refusal and encouraging them to sit as long as they like to finish their wine. Being encouraged to enjoy my stay in a restaurant is one of my all time favorites. Too often servers are excited to get the next party to the table and tend to unconsciously rush their patrons. I was pleased at his efforts to have them relax and got a warm feeling that my expectations for the restaurant would be upheld.
We ordered, no surprise I'm sure, the mussels to start. They were served in a wine broth with chorizo sausage, tomatoes, garlic and a variety of herbs. They were wonderful- the broth was thick enough to stick to the mussels themselves and add to their flavor, and the accompanying bread was great for sopping it up. The sausage added a nice heat to the dish.
For my entree, I chose the Nantucket Seafood Stew, which was a nice medley of shrimp, scallops, salmon, halibut and sea bass in a tomato based broth with potatoes and carrots added in. As I started into the stew, I really enjoyed the different textures of types of fish along with the different vegetables. The fish were beautifully cooked, flaky to the fork and had maintained their own flavor as opposed to taking on the general flavor of the stew. The shrimp were equally good, however I found the scallops to be a bit of a disappointment. I believe that they cooked them just in the pot with the rest of the stew, so they lacked that beautiful texture combination of the seared outside and the soft inside that they normally have. They had lost all flavor of their own which was also rather disappointing. However, on a chilly, rainy night in May the stew was hearty and good and made me almost too full for dessert. Almost.
We decided to split their trio of creme brulee, which was served as three pots of creme brulee, one Tahitian Vanilla, one Passion fruit and one bittersweet chocolate. I have a very strong affinity for creme brulee in its purest sense, so I have to say that I really enjoyed the Vanilla the best. The Passion fruit was very tasty, however the sugar crust hid the taste of the fruit until the very end, and then it was delicious, but I would have liked to have had a stronger presence. The chocolate was good...honestly though it was nothing to write home about. Basically pudding with a crust, I took a few bites and then felt satisfied. For me to turn down chocolate is not a normal affair. I was also disappointed in the latte that they served, the coffee was extremely weak, and whether they had added too much milk or it was just old coffee, it was cold. To be fair, lattes are not on their menu and so it is possible that by doing us the favor of making them we had really asked too much- but I would have been much happier had they just politely declined to serve it.
That said, I really enjoyed my experience at 75 Chestnut. The ambiance, the attitude and the food all combined to a good experience and one that I will return to.