VENU #19 Jun/Jul/Aug 2013

Page 41

garlic soup with local trout, American caviar, sour cream, and alliums (edible flowers); pressed foie gras with ginger cake, rhubarb, citrus, and radish; roasted scallops with ricotta gnocchi, spring vegSEASONS, At the Ocean House etables, carrots, and English peas; smoked New England family farms beef served with fingerling potatoes, ramps, king trumpet mushrooms, and chimichurri; and a dark chocolate and Grand Marnier soufflé. Need we say more? The Ocean House has several dining options, multiple patios and an indoor lap pool that opens up onto a sunning area overlooking the dunes. The private beach with beach butlers is easily accessible to hotel guests via a wooden walkway from the house. There’s more… The OH! Spa is the only Forbes Five Star spa in the northeast and the OH! Salon prepares guests for their close-ups. Events are a common occurrence, from intimate rehearsal dinners to lavish weddings, to corporate meetings and company clambakes. Fully equipped meeting rooms and break out rooms are in session all year round. But on this particular road trip, it’s all about the luxurious accommodations, breakfast in bed, lazy beachy days, cocktails by the fire, a five-star meal, and living in the lap of luxury – and the Ocean House delivers just that.

Hotel Commonwealth

For all you city slickers out there who prefer vivacity over relaxation, hit the Mass turnpike to Boston, the largest city in New England. Settle in to Kenmore Square’s Hotel Commonwealth, a wonderfully situated Victorian-meets-Federalist style hotel at the intersection of Beacon Street and Commonwealth Avenue. Enjoy the fervor of local Red Sox fans parading

in and around Fenway Park, and stroll the tony shops and eateries along Newbury Street. Hotel Commonwealth is comprised of 150 spacious rooms with fully loaded amenities and comforts. The hotel is also home to the high octane American Brasserie, Eastern Standard. Slightly masculine, and a wonderful combination of old world charm and modern day influences, Eastern Standard is a throwback to an era gone by, where 3-martini lunches still happen and deals are made. The focal point of the room is the 46-foot long white marble bar. Eastern Standard’s high ceiling accentuates the chatter in the room and plush red leather banquette seating throughout creates dining pockets for diners to sink in and decompress. The menu is bold and hearty, with some added icy raw bar seafood thrown in for good Beantown measure. A classic French style salad, frisée aux lardons with a poached egg, shows off a bit with added toasted hazelnuts and lightly pan fried sweetbreads. We fought over the last bite of their popular, perfectly seasoned steak tartare and ordered an extra helping of the fried Brussels sprouts. Scampo Portion sizes are generous so best to order a bunch of things and pass them around the table. We created our own version of surf-n-turf with local cod baked with herbed breadcrumbs, served with braised cabbage and fried zucchini, and paired it with a wonderful, slightly charred, grilled rib eye steak with red onion and pine nut salad and a silky potato purée. All of this wrapped up energy spills out onto Commonwealth Ave in the warmer months, creating an even stronger social anchor for this urban neighborhood.


Fairly new on the Boston scene is chef Lydia Shire’s eclectic Italian restaurant concept Scampo, located in the architecturally stunning Liberty Hotel. Placed on Charles Street at the foot of Beacon Hill, the 300-room luxury hotel houses an array of nightlife hot spots including; CLINK, Alibi, Liberty Bar, Catwalk and the more sophisticated, Scampo. Scampo is fun. The music is loud, the staff is friendly and stealth, the décor is playful (comic book posters line the exposed brick walls) and the kitchen and antipasti bar are in full view. Rotund hanging copper light fixtures illuminate above the u-shaped bar which boasts bright orange leather back seats. The menu touches upon Italian / Mediterranean notes, with a bevy of global influences. We heard about the lobster pizza days before we arrived. Once there, it all made sense. Sweet lobster atop a chewy thin crust, with just enough smoked mozzarella cheese and roasted garlic, elevated this talked about pie to decadent status. Perfect while sipping a crisp, grassy 2009 Verdicchio, Casalfarneto is calamari fritto with shishito peppers and pungent pepperoncini with a spicy lemon aioli. Crossing continents, tandoori fired sea scallops with whipped white eggplant is a pleasant sweet versus smoky combination, and from the mozzarella bar (changing constantly), the Iberico ham with warm mozzarella and black truffle carpaccio served with toasted white shokupan bread (Japanese sandwich bread) is beautifully presented, but quickly dismantled. Fresh fish, chops and steak preparations are creative, but be sure to experience at least a fork full of Scampo’s signature spaghetti with cracklings and hot pepper. Al dente house made pasta, pork fried goodness and chili pepper…you do the math.



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