Normally when I travel, I look forward to finding good places to eat and then blogging about it. But for some reason, I think of trips back to the US as somehow not “counting” as travel. And so I rarely blog about places I like in the US. Which is stupid.
So let me tell you about a restaurant in Boston where I enjoyed a leisurely, tasty, sophisticated lunch a few weeks ago: No. 9 Park.
No. 9 Park sits on the Boston Common, which prides itself on being the oldest public park in America (dating back to 1634 – LOL). The dining room was simple and comfortable – I felt like I’d walked into a well-renovated (a Gordon Ramsay-owned, even) gastropub. And I liked that. I liked that a much-hyped “special occasion” restaurant in Boston felt so casual. I know Americans occasionally push the casual envelope a little too far, but I do wonder: why does a well-cooked meal using high-quality ingredients served by attentive, knowledgeable waiters have to come with thick carpeting and showy chandeliers (a la France)?
No. 9 Park falls into the popular category of “New American” (which has its English equivalent in the equally-non-descriptive “Modern British”). The ingredients and sauces are identifiably French, which is fine by me. I never say no to oysters, foie gras and duck confit, and with the seared foie gras in mind, I’d say No. 9 Park knows how to source.
None of the dishes were especially creative (meaning there were no flavor or ingredient pairings that made me wonder “how’d she think of that?”), but everything I ate was well prepared and delicious.
At $42 for a three-course meal that included foie gras and several cheeses from the chock-full-of-interesting-local-and-French cheeses trolley, No. 9 Park struck me as great value. It was an elegant, welcoming place to grab lunch and catch up with old friends.
Our servers seemed a tad too chirpy, but that’s likely just me reacting after months of more reserved service in Europe. I loved that my (tap) water glass was never empty, and our servers always seemed happy to answer our questions. I felt right at home. You will, too, so drop by the next time you’re in Beantown.
No. 9 Park, 9 Park Street, Boston, MA 02108; +1 617 742 9991; closest T station: Park Street