3.18.2011

Dinner At Bergamot During Boston Restaurant Week

I don't do restaurant week. I used to. When I first moved up here, I was so excited about it. I saw it as an opportunity to try new restaurants at a fraction of the price to see if I liked them enough to go back and pay full price. I seldom wanted to return to any restaurant I visited during restaurant week, and I finally gave up on it.

But for months I have been trying to make dinner plans with one of my friends, and the night we could both get together just happened to be during Boston Restaurant Week. And the restaurant we chose to go to just happened to be participating in Boston Restaurant Week. So I found myself heading to Bergamot this past Wednesday night to check out the restaurant week offerings. And I'm happy to report that Bergamot does restaurant week just as well as it does regular service. (Bergamot was already among my favorite restaurants before this visit.)

We were warmly welcomed by the host and led to a small table near the windows. (I actually wasn't originally planning to write about this dinner, but the lighting was so good I couldn't resist taking pictures.)

Our waitress, who was incredibly friendly and easygoing, came over and helped us choose from the wine and cocktail selections, brought our drinks, and took our dinner order. When she noticed my friend opted for the meatless choices, she asked if she was a vegetarian, just to make sure they would send an amuse-bouche she could actually enjoy.

We each had a different amuse-bouche, and we both agreed that they were a nice touch but a little underwhelming.

Hers was a little beet crostini
Mine was a flatbread with prosciutto

Along with the amuse bouche, we were also served fresh bread with honey butter, which we snacked on throughout dinner.

For her first course, my friend got the goat cheese salad with shitake mushrooms, frisée, oranges, and toasted hazelnuts. She tells me it was tasty.

Goat Cheese Salad with Shiitake Mushroom, Frisée, Orange, and Toasted Hazelnuts

I went with the split pea soup with chicharron and barley salad. The soup was incredible. I've never had a pea soup with barley in it, and I enjoyed the contrast in textures between the smooth, creamy soup and the toothsome barley pearls.

Split Pea Soup with Chicharron and Barley Salad

The plaintain gnocchi my friend ordered was definitely a good choice (and the vegetarian option among the entrees). She let me try one of her gnocchi, which I made sure to use to scoop up a little avocado. The gnocchi had such an interesting texture, and the flavors in the dish really popped. We talked about how some restaurants don't put much thought into their vegetarian dishes, but Bergamot definitely does.

Plantain Gnocchi with Black Beans, Avocado, Roasted Red Pepper, and Portobello Mushroom Confit

My entree was very good as well. I ordered the duck confit with tarbais beans, garlic sausage, confit fennel, and rutabaga. The flavors melded together and the textures contrasted, making each bite interesting.

Duck Confit with Tarbais Beans, Garlic Sausage, Confit Fennel, and Rutabaga

We also shared a side of potatoes over romesco sauce because we couldn't resist after our waitress described the dish to us.


And then, shocking the waiter who came to take our dessert order, I asked if we could get all three restaurant week desserts (paying for one a la carte). I don't know why that's shocking. I like my desserts, and if a restaurant has good ones, I'll order more than one for myself. I know from previous visits that Bergamot has phenomenal desserts.

One dessert I've had there before that is very popular is called That Grapefruit Dessert, and it was an option on the restaurant week menu, so of course we had to get it. A warm madeleine cake comes topped with wedges of grapefruit and a toasted white wine sabayon. After our first bites, my friend and I agreed that grapefruit is not used often enough in desserts.


My favorite dessert of the evening was the chocolate cremeux with avocado sauce. It sounds so strange, but somehow it just worked. And I loved the garnish of tiny avocado marbles on top. That white dust you see around the plate had us puzzled for a bit. It's olive oil dust made with tapioca. It pretty much melts in your mouth.

Chocolate Crémeux with Avocado Sauce, Olive Oil Dust, and Orange Zest

The profiteroles, while tasty, were our least favorite dessert. They weren't as light as we expected, but the flavor was very interesting.

Profiteroles with Cardamom-Orange Blossom Pastry Cream and Chocolate Ganache

We ended our meal with small bites of warm, moist cinnamon chocolate cake sent out by the pastry chef.

I think restaurant week offers one very key benefit to Bergamot. Often people are too full to order dessert, but during restaurant week, it's part of the package. Everyone who comes into Bergamot for restaurant week gets to try one of Pastry Chef Stacy Mirabello's creations. And because these desserts are so inventive and flavorful, maybe when they return for their next visit, they'll remember to save room for dessert.

I'm happy to say that I had a great restaurant week experience at Bergamot. It holds fast on my list of favorite restaurants, and I love that it's just a 15-minute walk from where we live.

Have you been to Bergamot yet?


Bergamot on Urbanspoon

19 comments:

  1. I've kind of given up on restaurant week here in NYC as well. Most restaurants just don't serve their best dishes, or at least not the dishes that I'm most interested in. And so I'd rather just pay more for what I really want, ya know?

    I'm glad to hear you had such a great experience with Bergamot though! next time I'm in boston I'll definitely give it a go! That plantain gnocchi looks SO awesome.

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  2. I feel the same way about Restaurant Week... basically, you're getting a free dessert and an extra app too. Sometimes E and I will go and one does RW menu and one orders off the regular menu.

    I've been dying to go to Bergamot, but we have yet to make it there. But, believe me, it's now at the top of my list.

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  3. I am with you on Restaurant Week after a bunch of mediocre meals. I love the gnocchi at Bergamot and am excited about our dinner there next month!

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  4. I feel the same way about Restaurant Week and have found myself disappointed way too many times.

    Like you, I adore Bergamot. They also gave me a table with great lighting...so I couldn't resist taking photos!

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  5. I usually pass on RW too but made 2 reservations this time around. EVOO worked out great and I'm hopeful Lineage tonight will work out well. I've only been to Bergamot once and was incredibly impressed. I can't wait to go again in early April, blogger style!

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  6. I love Bergamot too. Yay for Cambridge restaurants! I didn't get to go to any of the Restaurant Week places this time around, but I might squeeze in one over the weekend. That chocolate cake looks awesome.

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  7. very very elegant! i hadnt heard of Tarbais beans until just now! they look really yummy. and the plantain gnocchi looks fabulous- its amazing that plantains were the base of the gnocchi!

    xoxo <3

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  8. I am so glad Bergamot gave you a worthwhile RW experience! I had a really fun time this week at B&G. I can't wait to visit in April, all the food looks awesome.

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  9. Glad you had such a great experience, when I tried Bergamot when it opened it was just OK. I will definitely have to give it another go. Those desserts look amazing!

    For RW - I like making reservations at places that don't normally do then order off the regular menu...

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  10. Interesting observation about the inclusion of dessert with restaurant week. I find that when I go out to eat, I'm usually more interested in the savory options and less likely to order dessert. I guess, this is a good opportunity to for a restaurant that excels at desserts to show off a bit. I've never really thought of it that way.

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  11. I've never been to Bergamot - the gnocchi and desserts look great!

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  12. I haven't been to Bergamot yet- and based on your review this is something I need to change- FAST!

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  13. I've been wanting to try Bergamot forever and so good to know they take their vegetarian dishes seriously. That pea soup with barley sounds amazing! Very inventive. And any place that does desserts right is somewhere I need to go, clearly. I agree about grapefruit. I had a fabulous grapefruit dessert last summer when I was in Montreal: olive oil cake and marinated grapefruit and rhubarb.

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  14. Adam and I stopped doing restaurant week as well but just yesterday I was talking to a girl who had a few fantastic experiences... maybe we just need to be more selective with our restaurant choices as it can definitely be a good value.
    I'm happy to report that we actually have reservations at Bergamot at the end of the month. I've been dying to go there forever and finally arranged a dinner there with friends.
    On a related note, have you ever been to Kebab Factory? It used to be our favorite Indian place. SO good!! [Related because it's literally around the corner, lol]

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  15. I'm just not a RW fan. I feel like at most restaurants, the menu is underwhelming. I have been wanting to try Bergamot for a while!

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  16. wow, what a meal!! LOVE that plaintain gnocchi dish, and the grapefruit dessert :)

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  17. I love that you ordered 3 desserts!

    When Rafe and I started dating we went out to an RW dinner almost every night for a week. We decided then that there is definitely an art to reservations....some places are just not worth it.

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  18. I haven't been there, but this post makes me think I should add it to the list of places I need to try. That avocado/chocolate dessert looks great.

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  19. Thanks for the great review! I'll have to try Bergamot during the next Boston Restaurant Week go-around.

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