Friday, February 9, 2001
The Mosquito Dines Out Aïgo 84 Thoreau Street Concord
On Saturday evening we dined at Aïgo in Concord and it was so nice to have Monsef Meddeb back in charge. Some restaurant chef/owners just have the formula for the right combination of flavors and tasteful décor that leads to a leisurely and pleasant dining experience.
We certainly have plenty of good cooks here in Carlisle, but going out and having someone else do all the work and clean up is necessary for most of us. After a lunch (at Radius) to support Oxfam America and The Greater Boston Food Bank, we had dinner at Aïgo. We usually don't have two super meals in one day, but we had forgotten about our earlier engagement until it popped up on the computer to remind us and by then we were set on Aïgo for dinner.
The evening at Aïgo proved to be a winner. We did not order a first course as lunch had been larger than we usually experience. At Aïgo, Alex had the grilled pork chop with an apricot-juniperberry-leek-ginger relish, horseradish-mashed potato turnip, confit cippolinis (it should have had haricot verts, but they forgot, so he just had carrots) and sage-enhanced jus at $24. I had the porcini encrusted chicken breast and its boudin, haricot verts, roasted parsnips, and a foie gras with lentil cream at $24. Both were excellent. The only thing we might have liked better was a somewhat larger serving of vegetables. Most of the restaurants don't seem to do this now, but I would have happily given up one foie gras for more roasted parsnips. This is an amazing confession, as for years I couldn't stand parsnips and never realized the problem was in the preparation. Parsnips are better if frozen before preparation and even better when roasted. Any residual sharpness in the flavor leaves.
Another pleasant aspect of Aïgo is meeting old friends. We had time for catch-up with friends from 30-plus years ago, whom we rarely see. In addition, the guests at adjacent tables on either side of us were friendly and offered comments on the food that helped us choose our entrees. The wine was a 1997 Pinot Noir, Mirassour (Monterey County) at $24 per bottle. I enjoyed the taste, though it took a few minutes to breathe and develop. Our dessert was a chocolate mocha mousse cake with coffee sauce at $6.50. It was a generous serving and more than adequate for two to share. Of course the taste was perfect for a chocaholic.
Aïgo is open Tuesday through Saturday from 5.30 p.m. I do recommend reservations. It is nice to have chef/owner Monsef Meddeb, formally of L'Espalier in Boston, serving food again in Concord with good taste and style.
© 2001 The Carlisle Mosquito