Moon Cusser, Boston
I waited to go to Moon Cusser, a fish restaurant, just to make sure that all glitches attached to a new restaurant would have been ironed out before I arrived. The sister restaurant of Concord’s 80 Thoreau is on the third floor of a Stuart street address, with the Moon Bar located on the first level (easier to navigate your way home without stairs to contend with, I assume). The dining room is simple, with banquettes lining one long wall and tables with white napery and modern white place settings.
Waiters whisk plain and sparkling water carafes over to the table, and menus and wine lists are proffered. (For the record, the wine list is amazing and many of the choices are affordable. If you have just come into an inheritance, blow a part of it on a bottle of Chateau d’ Yquem. You will be amazed).
The a la carte menu, as expected, was primarily made up of seafood, with lamb chops and Wagyu steak dishes for the hard protein lovers. Warm bread and sweet butter are served at the arrival of the ordered glass of wine, a generous pour of a chilled, crisp white sauvignon. The dining room is quieter than many restaurants in Boston, so conversations are possible without leaning in across the table, a boon to those of us who aren’t permanently attached to our cell phones for companionship.
The turnip soup was delicately sweet and satiny, with poached oysters afloat in a cream base with a hint of pear, a fillip of springtime in a winter dish. The serving bowl was deep and wide, more welcoming than the usual cup portion and extremely satisfying. Moon Cusser‘s take on chowder was a clam-filled, light, smoky broth with a hint of truffle oil and bits of ham, lovely, in a generous portion. A smaller portion of al dente squid ink chitarra, an egg pasta cut to look like it had been pressed through guitar strings, was musky from the ink and had a bit of sweetness from a dollop of tomato jam plus texture from a dusting of breadcrumbs, a worthy and interesting taste fest. The stuffed skate was sweet but overcooked and a bit mushy, filled with a potato mash. Although the menu mentions lobster as a component of the dish, I could not taste any in the mashed potatoes nor did I find any hidden in the lightly oiled chard and tender baby carrots that surrounded the skate. The scallops were more successful, tender and perfectly seared and balanced atop buttery lentils and fragrant sautéed mushrooms.
For dessert, the passion fruit sorbet was a tart palate pleaser while the panna cotta was an array of glistening polka dots of cooked sweet cream next to a boule of fruit sorbet. For a flourish, a complimentary tray of dark chocolate bonbons, followed by a good cup of coffee, completed the meal. Our leisurely meal was typical for a better restaurant, but if you don’t have time to lollygag, there is a three-course dinner menu, available from five to seven for theatergoers, for $49. Go, eat, enjoy.
304 Stuart St.
Dinner from Monday through Saturday 5 to 10 p.m. ∆