With life in and out of the office getting busier and busier, date nights have become one of my favorite ways to unwind. Whether it’s cooking something delicious together at home, trying a new restaurant, or cozying up in an old favorite, time that’s (sort of) disconnected from the electronic world where we focus on each other is simply the best.
Last Friday we received new furniture, which will eventually make our home more organized. But at first, well, we had twice as much furniture plus clothes that needed to be moved to new dressers or to piles for donating or trashing. I don’t know about you, but being in a cluttered, chaotic environment makes me feel cluttered and chaotic inside. By Saturday afternoon, after work, cleaning, and errands, I was spent, and we decided we needed to just step away from it all.
Our date night started with a lazy late afternoon viewing of Sleepless in Seattle. Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan somehow soothe the soul. Once we were nice and relaxed, we headed to a new-to-us restaurant, Steel & Rye in Milton for cocktails and dinner. We were early for our reservation and explained that we wanted to grab a drink at the bar first. The hostess was friendly and pleasant, and we were pretty wowed by the massive space, which used to be a garage for Fallon ambulances.
At the long, spacious bar (which was already pretty full by 5:30), I ordered a Seelbach, the perfect blend of bourbon, combier, bitters, and one of my favorite sparkling wines, Va de Vi from my beloved Gloria Ferrer.
Once seated, I decided to order a glass of Va de Vi to go with dinner. While waiting for all of our food to arrive, some friends-of-friends walked by! They have an eight month old who we had never met, and it was so fun to catch up with them
Today’s Cheese – Quince Jam, Meg’s Black Pepper Bread
Then we got started on chowing down. As we often do, we ordered a few appetizers and an entree, planning to split everything. I loved the presentation on the cheese, the crunchy peppery bread, and the sweet jam together. We were chatting with our friends and missed what cheese it was, but I’d say you probably couldn’t go wrong with this dish.
Colorado Lamb Meatballs – Harissa, Hen Egg, Greek Yogurt, Pine Nuts
Next up, we shared the lamb meatballs. A runny hen egg was plopped right in the middle of the slightly spicy sauce, and when we cut into it, everything ran together. Is there anything more beautiful? The egg added a richness to the sauce and the tender meatballs; this is a winning combination.
Oyster Stew – Virginia Oysters, Smoked Hake, Applewood Bacon, Potato, Leek, Chive Biscuit
When I saw oyster stew and a fried green tomato salad on the menu, I knew I had to have both, and thus my main meal was born. The oyster stew was pure heaven; plump, briny oysters, mixed in with salty, smoky fish, bacon, little potatoes, and all topped off with flaky buttery biscuits. Perfection.
The Lolla Rossa was the fried green tomato salad, and I ate every bite of the breaded tomatoes, bitter lettuce, and radishes, all decked out with buttermilk dressing. When I think of comfort food, salad doesn’t often come to mind, but this salad certainly changed that. I could easily eat it nightly.
Organic Chicken – Swiss Chard, Tasso Ham, Anson Mills Grits
My husband went with the chicken, always a true test of a chef’s skills, some might say. This chicken over grits did not disappoint. It offered all sorts of flavors and textures and a large enough portion that we shared some of it for lunch the next day.
Affogato – Chocolate Semifreddo, Vanilla Gelato, Amaretti, Chocolate Pop Rocks, Espresso
When dessert rolled around, we were stuffed, but I am a huge affogato fan and decided we just had to have it. This affogato featured a semifreddo base that was silky and rich, topped with gelato and chocolate pop rocks! Somehow I only got a couple of the pop rocks, but my husband was popping and crackling away. It was a fun and decadent spin on a classic.
We left Steel & Rye so relaxed, full, and thrilled to have a new favorite. We would easily put it in our top 10 dining experiences of all time (a list I need to create!).
Thank goodness the weekend is almost here; I am more than ready for another date night. . . and we might end up at Steel & Rye again.
Have you had any spectacular dining experiences lately?