Barbara Lynch has a veritable culinary empire out here in Boston, with her main restaurant, oyster/raw bar, charcuterie, catering company, and produce storefront (complete with ridiculously priced items like a $5 heirloom potato). It's quite admirable to see a female chef be so successful, and I was curious to see what her food would be like.
When I was visiting Boston a few years ago, I tried to drop by for lunch but was unsuccessful since No 9 Park wasn't open on Sundays. Now that the city is my home base, it was finally time to take the plunge. What better way to celebrate the end of my internship in December than with a nice lunch there?
The restaurant itself is located between the shadow of the Statehouse and the historic Park Street Church. It's very understated on the outside, black with shiny brass fixtures. Inside is a cafe, bar area, and the formal dining room. We sat in the dining room and ordered the lunch 6-course tasting ($54) with wine pairing ($80).
I'd scoured Chowhound for some advice before going, and was told of an off-menu cocktail pairing that you can opt for instead of wine. Since I know next to nothing about cocktails and was told No 9 Park had phenomenal ones, I immediately chose to go for it. H opted for the wine pairing so that we could have sips of each other's libations. I'm not sure if the cocktail pairing was the same price as the wine pairing, but I feel like it was pretty close.
The wine pairings were selected by our waiter, and the bartender selected my cocktails after finding out my likes/dislikes. I'm quite a novice when it comes to alcohol, and I only ended up finishing two of them. Still, I could tell that they were expertly made: the right balances of bitters, sweets, acid, and temperature.
The food itself is what I would describe as seasonal with French technique. The only exceptional course was the homemade pasta sheets with truffles and butter. In fact, it was so good that it made my Top 10 of 2006. Most of the other things didn't impress me with creativity even though they were prepared well. A plain hamachi carpaccio with aged soy seemed like a bland stab at fusion, and a deconstructed bouillabaisse didn't have many vibrant flavors.
Would I return again? Yes, but I think I would opt to have wine or a cocktail paired with a cheese plate in the bar or else have the fresh pappardelle bolognese in the cafe instead. We didn't have any room left for cheese, but it sure was tempting when the cart rolled by. The French in me never subsides.
(Unfortunately, I didn't record the concoctions created for me, so I'll leave the photos uncaptioned lest I lead you astray.)
No 9 Park
9 Park Street
Boston, MA 02108
Tel: (617) 742-9991
Mon-Sat 10-9:30, Cafe 5:30-11