Baldanza at the Schoolhouse

Baldanza at the Schoolhouse

Baldanza moved into the Schoolhouse restaurant last August and we decided to give them a try now that they have presumably settled in. According to their web site, this is a family business with Sandy Baldanza at the Proprietor, Angela Baldanza as the chef de Cuisine and Alex Baldanza as the General Manager.

The layout of the restaurant is much the same as it was before, with banquettes along the windowed walls and about 16 well-spaced tables within. The hosts are gracious and quick to seat you when you arrive. Water comes right away, and some very good bread and butter soon follows. We particularly like the pecan bread with raisins.

The dinner menu consists of 10 appetizers (mostly Italian), 7 definitively Italian pasta dishes and 7 entrees which seem to be much more American: hamburger, salmon, halibut, strip steak, pork chop, chicken Milanese and tuna au poivre.

There is a one-page wine list, with one prosecco, 2 rose’s, 5 white wines, and 16 red wines, many of them Italian and all but 3 available by the glass or full bottle. We chose the Montepulciano D’Abruzzo 2016, but would try something else next time.

If you’re looking for a single sentence capsule review: Everything we ordered was excellent, and we’ll certainly go back.

Fritto misto

One of our appetizers was an outstanding Fritto Misto ($21). It contained fried calamari, rock shrimp, and fried zucchini with a marinara sauce and a red pepper aioli, The portion was enormous and completely greaseless. It was excellent but save room for your main course!

Beet salad

Our other appetizer was an amazing composed Beet Salad ($18), with red and golden beets, tangerines, pistachio, green beans, apples, fennel, dates and goat cheese. I don’t think we’ve ever had a better one. What a great combination of flavors!

Shrimp risotto

One of our pasta dishes was Risotto with Jumbo Gulf Shrimp ($39). It was served, or course, with arborio rice, along with asparagus, cherry tomatoes and saffron. The flavors were outstanding, although the shrimp were so large that they were a little difficult to cut.

Tagliatelle Roma

Finally, our other entrée was Tagliatelle Roma ($28), which was their house made tagliatelle served with prosciutto, peas, mushrooms and a cream sauce. The waiter added some grated cheese as well. It had a smooth texture with little spikes of prosciutto throughout.

We would have like to tell you about their desserts (several are pictured on their web site) but we were much too full to order them.

However, next time, we are sure to try their Caesar salad and their meatballs, either as an appetizer or in their Rigatoni con Pallotine. Their Chicken Milanese looks interesting too….

Our bill was $143.95 with tax but before tip.

All in all, this was a delightful evening, and we welcome Baldanza to Wilton!

Tuna Noodle Casserole

Tuna Noodle Casserole

This midwestern favorite wouldn’t exist without the historic contributions of the Campbell Soup company. Campbell’s was founded in 1869, selling canned tomatoes, fruits and vegetables, but in 1897 the company’s manager, Arthur Dorrance, hired his nephew, Dr. John T Dorrance, to join the company. John Dorrance was a chemist by training and developed a method to eliminate much of the water in canned soup, making it much easier to can and ship. These canned soups in the familiar 10 oz cans would serve several people when the water was added back in and sold for about a dime per can. This revolutionized Campbell’s entire business, and Campbell’s became the Campbells Soup Company.

In 1913, Campbell’s introduced the a condensed Cream of Celery soup, which along with the 1934 introduction of their Cream of Mushroom soup became the basis for “America’s bechamel,” a simple sauce base the led to thousands of convenient recipes.

In the Midwest, people developed untold numbers of casseroles that they could quickly make for dinner or bring to pot-luck dinners and other social events. In the northern Midwest (Minnesota and North Dakota) these were just called Hot Dishes and their variety is legion.

The tuna-noodle casserole is one surviving casserole from the 1950s that people like me still make. This recipe is more or less the one my mother made, and is much like one in the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook.

There are a wide number of variations on this recipe: many use Cream of Mushroom soup as the sauce base, but we’ll stick to the 1913 version that used Cream of Celery. Some people add green peas or broccoli to their casseroles: you can adulterate them any way you like, but we’ll stick to the original recipe. You can make it in 10 minutes plus a baking time of around 20 minutes.

We make this casserole using half of a 12 oz package of noodles, which works out to about 3 ½ cups. And be sure to use Albacore tuna for the best flavor.

  • 3 1/2 cups dry egg noodles
  • 2 5 oz or 1 12 oz can of albacore tuna
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • ½ green pepper, cut up
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 can cream of celery soup
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes
  • Salt and pepper
  • Slivered almonds or crushed potato chips for the topping
  1. Preheat the over to 425˚ F.
  2. Cook the noodles according to package directions, about 9 minutes, and drain into a colander.
  3. Put the canned soup to a small saucepan and add the milk. Heat through and add the shredded cheese. Cook until melted.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the celery, onion, pepper, and mayonnaise.
  5. Add the tuna and break up any large lumps.
  6. Add the soup mixture and the noodles.
  7. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Put the contents of the mixing bowl in a large over proof casserole and top with slivered almonds. To honor the decade, we used a Corning ware casserole dish from that period.
  9. Bake for about 20 minutes until bubbling throughout.
  10. Serve while hot.
Chicken breasts with mushroom puree

Chicken breasts with mushroom puree

The idea behind this recipe in Bon Appetit is a good one. Making mushroom puree to go with chicken breasts (which are less flavorful than thighs) is a good one. But this is another case where the recipe just doesn’t work out at all like the photo: a problem we have with most recipes in Bon Appetit.

The complete recipe is linked here, but amounts to browning bone-in chicken breasts and then cooking them in the oven at 350˚ F for about  25 minutes.

Meanwhile, you make the mushroom puree from

  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 8 oz. button mushrooms, halved                                      
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp. crème fraiche
  • 2 tsp. truffle oil (don’t do this!)
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  1. Just as you’d think, you sauté the mushrooms in the butter until they give up their water and
  2. add the shallots and garlic, and saute them.
  3. Then you add the chicken broth, thyme and bay and cook it down at least by half.
  4. Next you add the cream and cook that down by half or more
  5. Skip the truffle oil: it always has a chemical taste since it isn’t truffles at all but 2,4-dthiapentane, and tests pretty fake.
  6. Remove the bay and thyme leaves and blend the whole thing until smooth..

Ideally the breasts are done now, and you put the puree on each plate and top with the sliced chicken breasts and a little sauteed Swiss chard. 

I can tell you that the puree is really delicious and would work with any sort of chicken as a sauce.

But there are problems

  1. The BonAppetit recipe doesn’t stop there. It has you sauté more shallots and garlic in butter and then boil down 2 more cups of chicken stock and strain it to make a sort of gravy. This is utterly superfluous, because it has the same flavors as the mushroom puree and runs off into the puree anyway.
  2. Serving the chicken breast sliced but with the bone still included makes it very hard to eat the chicken. You should debone it before slicing and serving.
  3. Cooking store-bought chicken breasts is not that simple since most of them are huge and hard to cook through without drying out.
  4. The puree in the BA picture is very thick and creamy. Despite our boiling it down a lot more than they say, we never got it to be that thick. Perhaps they used some arrowroot as well?
  5. Our puree had black flecks in it because most supermarket mushrooms have black gills. They call for “button mushrooms,” which may be whiter, but weren’t in our stores.

Our conclusion is that a simpler version of this recipe has real promise, but we’d not go through all those steps again.

How to save tomato seeds

How to save tomato seeds

At about this time of year (or sooner) you may be thinking about what you’ll be growing next year, especially if one or more varieties of tomatoes were particularly successful. You can, of course, just buy new seeds every year, but if you are growing an unusual variety, you may want to consider saving seeds from the most vigorous plants. In our case, we grew some really successful varieties bred at the University of Florida, and they specifically suggested that we save their seeds, since they’d rather not be in the commercial seed business.

You can save seeds from any variety, but you will have the best results from ones that are open pollinated, meaning that the seeds will produce the same variety of plant as the parent. This may not be true of hybrid varieties and saving them is a bit riskier: you can’t be sure their progeny will be the same as the parent plant.

Some writers suggest only saving “heirloom” seeds, but this is probably a bit extreme. Heirloom really means that most growers have gone on to something better than that variety. Heirlooms may have lower yields and be less disease resistant. There are still plenty of great tomatoes you can save seeds from, such as Better Boy, for example.

You want to pick a good example of the fruit to take seeds from, but it needn’t be perfect. The tomato could be cracked or have a recent slug or fruit borer hole, as long as it hasn’t rotted.

The difficulty in saving tomato seeds is that they are enclosed in slippery little gelatinous sacs, that are hard to work with.  And that gel sac also includes a growth inhibitor, so the seeds won’t sprout within the plant. You need to remove that as well. We’ll show here how to overcome that problem below.

(Seeds do sometimes sprout inside a tomato, which is a kind of a surprise, but is usually harmless. It’s called ovipary.)

Saving the seeds

Cut the tomato in half and scoop out some seeds and the accompanying sacs. We used a melon baller, but a spoon would also work. Put the seeds in a fine strainer and rinse them with running water. We used the sprayer setting on our kitchen faucet to try to blast open the little sacs. This works to some extent, but we found that alone this wasn’t  enough. Those seeds neve germinated.

The next step, recommended by a number of writers is to use Oxyclean stain remover. Put some tap water into a glass or pitcher and add a tablespoon of Oxyclean powder. Stir it in, and then add the seeds, including the gel and any bits of tomato that have seeds attached.

Let them soak in the mixture of half an hour. During this time, the seeds will probably float to the surface.  Then pour the seeds and some of the solution through the strainer again and rinse the seeds using running water. Pick out any bits of tomato that end up in the strainer.

Finally, prepare a paper plate with a napkin or coffee filter on it to catch the seeds, and dump the seeds onto that tissue. Incidentally, seeds may stick to a napkin, and parchment paper is better, but of course, it doesn’t absorb much water. Label the plate with the tomato variety and let the seeds dry on the plate for 1-2 weeks.

After that, put the seeds in envelopes and label the envelopes. Put the seeds in a zip lock bag and keep them in a cool, dry place. You can even store them in the refrigerator or freezer according to the Florida research group.

Testing the seeds

You might want to test the seeds to make sure they will germinate. To do this, put two or three seeds in a damp paper towel, and enclose it in a zip lock bag. The seeds will sprout in around 10 days.

Seeds sprouting

Then you know you are ready for the next season!

Pancake ‘toad-in-the-hole’

Pancake ‘toad-in-the-hole’

Toad in the hole is a classic British dish, made up of sausages embedded in a Yorkshire pudding batter and baked. The name comes from the ends of the sausages peeking out of the baked batter. In the U.S., the name has been used to describe eggs cooked inside bread or toast as well as sausages. That version is sometimes called “egg with a hat” to describe the little circle of bread you cut out for the egg.  In fact, the beavers at Myrecipes.com found that there are 66 different names for this dish.

So, with that in mind, we decided to make one more. Suppose you are making pancakes, as we often do on Sundays. Why not add an egg into those pancakes and make a Pancake Toad in the Hole?

So to try this, we made buttermilk pancakes using this heirloom family recipe (which is much like everyone else’s.) 

Then we cooked one side of a pancake with a little melted butter on the griddle for flavor, and then turned out over. 

About 1 minute later, we used a biscuit cutter to cut a hole on the pancake. The pancake will still be doughy in the middle, but you can cook that little “hat” while you make the main event.

Break an egg into a cup and pour it into the hole you just cut.

Let the pancake/egg cook until the egg is cloudy, and then flip it. This may take two spatulas (spatulae?) to keep the uncooked egg from weeping out.  Cook the egg for 30 seconds or more and flip the pancake back over. Serve the “Pancake toad” right away with the little hat alongside.

Cut open

This sweet/savory combination could have syrup added, or your could just eat it the way it is, using the pancake to sop up the egg.

Pancake benedict?

One variation we tried was to cook a small slice of ham in a little butter, and then put it in the hole of a pancake, and then add the egg. Again, cook until the egg is cloudy, flip it, cook 30 seconds, flip it back and serve.

Pancake Benedict?

In this case, syrup might be overkill. We suppose you might add hollandaise instead, but that might be ever more overkill.

You could also add a slice of sausage, but make sure it is a thin slice, or there may not be room for the egg. 

A delicious breakfast addition to impress your family and friends!

Galley Beach: how a top restaurant navigates COVID

Galley Beach: how a top restaurant navigates COVID

Galley Beach, under chef W Scott Osif has been a high end fixture in Nantucket for many years. With its setting on  a beach point, you can admire the food and the sunsets almost any night.

This year, they have moved to an two-course prix-fixe menu for $89, with several dishes having supplemental charges. They also have taken a big step and added the 23% gratuity to every check, which means the prix-fixe is really over $109. Oh, and they charge $15 for valet parking, an almost unavoidable charge since street parking is pretty difficult.

We’ve written about Galley Beach in 2019 and in 2015, praising its cuisine and service. This year, the service remained of high quality, but the food seemed far less successful than in past visits.

We started with an appetizer of Caesar salad, described as having white anchovies, parmesan croutons and creamy garlic dressing. As you can see from the picture there is one huge anchovie and one crouton, and the shredded cheese may ore may not be parmesan. We didn’t taste any parmesan, garlic or egg in the dressing, nor any lemon, vinegar, mustard or olive oil. We called this a “perfunctory Caesar salad.” We also note that it was served on some mixed greens rather than on romaine.

The right hand picture shows they one they served in 2019, which was very good.

Caesar 2021
Caesar 2019

We also had a Crab Cake for our other appetizer, which required a $15 supplemental upcharge, or $18.45 with the mandatory gratuity. It came with tomato, cucumber & mint salad. champagne beurre blanc. It certainly had plenty of crab and little filler, explaining the upcharge, but very little flavor. Now Maryland style crab cakes always contain spicy mustard, or sometimes just hot sauce, but this contained none of those, and was just kind of bland.  We had the same dish in 2015 and praised its flavor.

Crab cake

Our entrée was Pan roasted halibut with duck fat Brussels sprouts. summer squashes. sunchoke puree, and a $10 upcharge. The halibut was perfectly cooked, but without much flavor from the minimal puree. The “duck fat Brussels sprouts” were supposed to be sweetened by browning in duck fat. Actually, they were burned. You would think some head chef would be checking plates before they go out the door and catch things like that. We were not impressed.

Halibut

Our other entrée was housemade orecchiette. rock shrimp. buttered corn. capers. lemon. old bay. midnight moon. Not a lot of shrimp. Tasted like mac and cheese, but we’ve had better mac and cheese.

The waiter suggested desserts and there were only four rather standard choices, each $19:

  • Warm chocolate brownie with ice cream and salted caramel
  • Crème brulee with macerated blueberries
  • Turmeric Panna Cotta (Come on! Really?)
  • Strawberry shortcake

We chose to skip the dessert. Our bill, including 3 glasses of chardonnay, tax and a $57.50 service charge was $325. It’s not that we begrudge the inclusion of the service charge, but for an indifferent meal, this was an awful lot of money. Even so, it was cheaper than the Company of the Cauldron!

The Proprietors: an excellent Nantucket evening

The Proprietors: an excellent Nantucket evening

We’ve been to The Proprietors Bar and Table several times since it opened. Chef Michael LaScola has crafted a small plates/large plates menu made up of fascinating small dishes and some larger ones. This year, they changed the focus a bit, with there being three large plate entrees at the bottom of the menu, inviting you to build your dinner around several appetizers and finish with a main course sized entrée. These entrees currently include Roast Chicken [for two] ($48), Chicken Fried Trout ($37) and Korean Short Ribs ($41). This approach is a really successful change and we had a terrific evening with our appetizers and entrée.

It is perfectly possible for two people to share any of the small plates and certainly they can share the roast chicken, and that is what we did last night.

The waiter was cautious in suggesting that we really didn’t need to order more than two small plates, since several of them that we suggested were quite rich, and suggested that we might consider the Red Lentil Falafel with roast garlic achaar, sumac yoghurt and salted cucumbers ($18) as a lighter alternative. We ended up choosing two others and thinking seriously about having three, It just depends on your appetite.

We started with the Roasted Beets ($19.50) with Vermont Burrata, roasted strawberries, garam masala and chickpea crackling. There was plenty of this for the two of us: happily spreading the burrata on the chick pea “bread,” and topping it with beets and the occasional pistachio. Even people skeptical of beets will probably love this preparation. We certainly did.

Our second appetizer was Bijou Goat Cheese ($23) with apricot mostarda and green onion “biskits.” This hot appetizer was amazing. You could cut the biskit in half or thirds and spread it with the hot cheese, making it easy to share, but I didn’t want to: it was so good.

Finally, for our entrée, we ordered the Roast Chicken. It was served with a Farro Risotto, mushrooms, little roasted onions and a gooseberry agrodolce ( a sort of sweet-sour condiment). There were two quarters of chicken on the platter, one of leg and thigh and the other of breast and wing. This approach allowed the kitchen to cook them separately, so the dark meat is cooked and the breast not dried out. This was completely successful: all of the meat was tender and juicy, and we finished every bite.

Finally, since we ran out of small plates, we ordered the fabulous dessert: Blueberry Sorbet ($15) with whipped coconut cream, a sesame/blueberry crumble and basil. This was probably the best sorbet we have ever been served.

This new approach at the Proprietors is a winner: we really had the best meal of our entire visit there last night. The Proprietors is at the corner of India St and Center St, and is open from 5pm Thursday through Tuesday nights, and closed on Wednesdays. You definitely should make a reservation.

The Company of the Cauldron: Beef Wellington

The Company of the Cauldron: Beef Wellington

This venerable Nantucket restaurant was a popular high end fixture of Nantucket dining when Chef Joseph Keller took it over from the retiring Kovalencik family in 2017. It has the same style: warmth and friendliness it always had, and still provides one single 3 course prix fixe meal each night. Each meal also includes one of Keller’s famous popovers, that he developed while the chef at the Woodbox. Here in the late season, Keller has only one seating a night: in high season there are sometimes two seatings.

We went last night (Wednesday) for an elegant meal featuring Beef Wellington. You nearly always will require a reservation here, because there are only 28 seats inside, where there were nearly 50 in pre-COVID days. They also have three 4-top tables under a tent just outside taking up a lane of India Street, as several other restaurants are also doing. You can see each week’s menu online to decide what day you might like the best.

We were seated right away for our 7:00 pm reservation, fortunately at a center row table at the end, where we had a good view of the open kitchen. Keller and his sous-chef produce all these meals in a kitchen smaller than some home kitchens, although he does have much better ovens.

We ordered a bottle of a 2017 Michael Pozzan “Annabella” cabernet ($69), which came with an interesting story from the wine waiter about how Pozzan became a winemaker and grower.

Soon after that they began distributing the popovers: one per person (sometimes you can get a second one if they aren’t too busy).

Popover

Soon after that, the waiter began distributing the Bartlett’s Summer Garden Heirloom Tomato Salad, with local lettuces. Cucumbers, picked red onions and the Company citrus vinaigrette.  We watched the chefs assembling the salads, taking the mixed lettuce from an enormous bowl where they had tossed in the vinaigrette and olive oil. Then they put a serving in each bowl and distributed the tomatoes, radishes and cucumbers into each bowl. 

Summer garden salad

It looked beautiful, but that citrus dressing seemed awfully sour to us, and the tomatoes not very flavorful compared to what we have in our home garden right now.

The Beef Wellington was Snake River Farms tenderloin of beef in house-made puff pastry, local organic mushroom farce and a house demi-glace. We watched Chef Keller take the long puff pastry “loaves” out of the oven, check their temperature and return them for just a bit more time. You can see one of those puff pastries in the background. Meanwhile, they laid out the plates and poured the demi-glace onto each of them. Then, Keller sliced them into almost 2-inch slices and plated them, with his associate adding a bit more mushrooms to each plate. Then, the waiters worked with a pile of folded white napkins to pick up the very hot plates and began delivering them to the diners. All of this took about 45  minutes, so we were glad we could watch the show.

Beef Wellington and green beans almondine

The beef was uniformly tender and delicious, and it was certainly a substantial portion.

While we were eating, we could watch Keller and his sous-chef laying out the crème brulees, sprinkling sugar atop each of them and then torching them to melt the topping. You can see this at the top of the article. They then added a shortbread cookie to each and served them.

Creme Brulee

This last course was served about 8:45pm: we ate it eagerly and paid the bill.

The prix-fixe cost for Beef Wellington is $135 per person, bringing the bill with wine and tax to $347. With tip, two people would easily spend $400 here for a 3-course meal with an added popover. This is just too expensive, even for Nantucket, and we don’t recall paying that much anywhere else on the island. So, the food was very good (well, except the salad) but be prepared to carve a new hole in your credit card!

Company of the Cauldron is open Tuesday through Sunday with at least one seating each night. You can find the menus (and their varying prices) on line. Sundays have become Chicken and Waffles night. We had that a few years ago. That price is currently $95 per person.

Cauldron outside the door
Dune: always a favorite

Dune: always a favorite

We try to dine at Dune almost every year, because the cuisine is always imaginative and the service excellent. The cuisine certainly impressed us this year, with an excellent menu of seafood, veggies and meats. It consists of seven appetizers and eight entrees, as well as several imaginative vegetable side dishes.

We started with a stunningly beautiful roast beet salad ($19.50) with whipped goat cheese, beet vinaigrette, pistachios, and balsamic vinegar.

Roasted beets with whipped goat cheese

And for our other appetizer, we picked the pork and mushroom dumplings ($19) with citrus ponzu, pickled carrots and daikon, sesame fried garlic and cilantro. While this is in the style of Chinese dumplings, these were far more imaginative and flavorful, and they disappeared in moments!

Pork and mushroom dumplings

Both of our entrees were spectacular. The Pan-seared Atlantic Halibut ($48.50) was extraordinary, served with a buttery coconut lemongrass broth, shiitake, purple potatoes,  boy choy, romanescor (those little Christmas tree broccoli relatives), basil, fired garlic and lime. Every bite was a treat.

Pan seared Atlantic Halibut

And finally, or other entrée was Grilled Prime Sirloin Steak ($49.50) served with crispy garlic fingerlings, Bibb lettuce and cherry tomatoes, bacon vinaigrette, blue cheese butter, and “D1” sauce, which seems to be more or less bearnaise. Steaks are sometimes variable, but this one was outstandingly tender, and easy to eat. We both loved every bite.

Grilled Prime Sirloin Steak

Every restaurant on Nantucket (and everywhere else) is having staffing problems you have to allow for, and Dune is no different, but we know how difficult COVID has been for the restaurant business, we are not about to criticize any of their difficulties.  Go to Dune and enjoy excellent, imaginative meals!

Via Mare at the Greydon House

Via Mare at the Greydon House

This is the third season for Via Mare at the Greydon House and we returned to enjoy another meal after our delightful visit two years ago. The menu suggests that Via Mare is a Venetian style restaurant, with Cichetti (tiny bar bites), Small Plates and a few Secondi (main course entrees).

It is perfectly possible to make a meal out of a selection of small plates, or have a few small plates and perhaps split an entrée: they consist a Fish of the day ($44), Rib-eye steak ($79) and Roast chicken ($34).

For the two of us, having a series of the small plates seemed like a fun way to go, since each small plate would give a small serving to each of us.  For larger parties, you could just order a larger variety of small plates, as the group of six diners next to us was doing.

No matter the order on the menu, the staff will bring each plate when it is ready, although one at a time for the two of us, but in clusters for larger tables.

Our first plate was Jonah Crab toast ($26), with celery, apple, jalapeno and parsley on a slice of their house-made bread.

Jonah crab toast – one of two poritons

The photo shows one of the two portions of the crab on toast. This came first, probably because it is served cold. It was, as you can see, really diminutive for the price, and wasn’t our favorite.

The next serving was our favorite: the Hot Chicken Milanese with Moroccan pancakes. While as hot as Nashville Chicken, (children, beware) it was really delicious. Since it was only $9, we should have order several and made a meal of them!

Hot chicken Milanese with Moroccan pancakes

Next to come was the Stracciatella Crostini ($14) which the menu describes as crostino: hand-pulled stracciatella / our bread. This differs markedly from the description in 2019 “Hand pulled straciatella, olio verde and flakey salt,” and was not particularly flavorful.

Stracciatella crostino

Our final plate, was called Crispy Taters, twice fried & smashed / straccino / prosciutto crumble / chilis ($14). This was delicious: crunchy and a little spicey, and in another world, we’d just eat that and the chicken.

Crispy taters

We’d reached a decision point here. We could have ordered the Rigatoni Shrimp, Calabrian Chili, lemon and breadcrumbs, or we could have ordered and split the roast chicken. We saw both on neighboring tables and thought they looked great.

Or, we could try out the desserts. There are only two: Chocolate Budino, which is essentially a rich, dark chocolate pudding, with toffee caramel, cinnamon meringue and whipped cream ($13), or we could have the Peaches and Cream rice pudding ($13) with peaches, lime tuile (a butter cookie) and saba (an Italian syrup). We got one of each. Even though we favor chocolate desserts, we really think this peach dessert was outstanding.

Chocolate budino

Peaches and cream rice pudding

Since the day’s menu is different from that on the internet, we post a copy below.

Menu from August 31, 2021

Via Mare is located in the Greydon House Hotel at 17 Broad Street, and is open for dinner from 5:30-9:30, Tuesday through Saturday. They also serve brunch 11:30-3 on Saturday and Sunday until September 5th.