I must have passed by this place a dozen times but never realized it existed until my recent dinner here. Aptly named No. 9 Park, the restaurant is a stone's throw away from iconic Bostonian landmarks such as the State House and the Boston Commons. Inside, the atmosphere is dim and cozy with bountiful slabs of mirrors decorating the walls. We were seated in one of the comfy, sofa-style corner seats. The rest of the dining space is populated with wooden tables covered in white tablecloth. The decor in general is rather minimal, yet refined and our waitstaff was formal but very welcoming and friendly.
Grilled Calamari Confit
What a tiny appetizer and it wasn't even that good. The plate consisted of a couple (there was literally only 2) of PEI mussels, cubed chorizo bits, almonds and of course, calamari. The calamari was far too overcooked. It was like they prepared the dish at the beginning of the night and had it sit under a heat lamp until they served it up to me. The mussels were scrawny and likewise, the chorizo was dried out. I had such high expectations for this place and so far, they've disappointed.
Crispy Pork BellyFor my entree, I revisited one of my good ol' friends, the pork belly. The green is a sweet pea veloute, the white is a sauce gribiche (which is a mayo-like eggy sauce) and the dark brown is a "bacon jam." The veloute was smooth, velvety and flavorful. Then, there was that odd "bacon jam," which was reminiscent of sa-cha sauce in terms of look and texture. As for the the pork belly, the skin was in dire need of a sear because it looked like a sad block of rubber. But once I tasted the meat, all complaints of mine flew out the window. Although the pork lacked that crispy skin on top, man did it make up for itself in terms of flavor. It was extremely savory, fatty (and I say that with all the best in mind), tender and luscious. YUM!!
Ginger ParfaitFinishing off a heavy meal, I opted for the palate-cleansing ginger parfait. The block of parfait along with the small mint leaves really delivered a blast of freshness. Also present, the citric component from the blood oranges and the tart clear gel underneath, really cut through some of the sweetness from the ice cream and the little sliver of moist cake.
Petit FoursThe little Boston cream square was really good but the yellow colored lychee jelly square was just too sweet to finish.
What my dinner date ordered:
Mixed Organic LettuceClearly, my dinner date was far more health conscious than I. The bibb lettuce, as always, was very soft and buttery. The salad had a touch too much salt sprinkled on top. As for the dressing, it was creamy but light. My favorite part (though you can't really see it) was the chevre cheese, which was extremely fresh and had a texture identical to silken tofu.
Roasted Scottish SalmonThe fish was roasted to a perfect medium, leaving the inside moist and delicate. The skin was seasoned well and very crispy. Underneath the salmon is a bit of lentils, cauliflower puree and some beef jus (or juice/ sauce). I must say the lentils were a little undercooked.
Brown Butter FinancierSomebody explain the arrangement or presentation of this dessert please!! I'm telling you right now, this was how the financier was served. Perhaps I'm just not sophisticated enough to understand the plating of this dish but it seriously looks like someone just ripped through it. I wanted to like the cake but I didn't. It was unfortunately rather dry and hard around the edges. Even the center of the cake was far from moist. In fact, the little caramelized banana slices on the side outshone the star of this plate.