|This daily special of local pan-seared scallops at Patio is still one
of the best meals I've ever had, and tops among my food memories.
Each time my culinary thoughts turn to some of these remarkable meals, a few of those memories always make me pause, remembering for a moment the bliss of tasting those dishes the first time, and I end up hoping against hope for another taste of those very same meals.
That second chance meal is really not likely to happen since some of those were created years ago by chefs who have moved on, but I can dream, can't I? Here's a bit of what I wrote in June of 2012 about a meal that still makes my mouth water…
"Of the two dozen meals I had all around the town this past week, the best thing I ate anywhere was the scallops at Patio, hands down. This dish was the special that day, and I hope to find it on the menu again sometime. Each day Patio features the freshest, the most beautiful, the most succulent... whatever is the very best seafood, meat, poultry, vegetables or herbs that become available each day will inspire the chef to create a new dish to offer along with the varied choices of his regular menu. When owner Joachim Sandbichler, fishing on a rare day off last summer, landed a beautiful Striped Bass, it became a special on the menu that evening, just hours out of the water.
"This night I was wanting something vegetarian but I couldn't resist ordering the special once I heard the waiter describe it: pan seared PTown scallops, Baby Gem Lettuce (kind of a cross between Romaine and Buttercup) sautéed with bacon and shallots. The pan must have been smokin' hot when the scallops went in because they got a nice, crusty caramelization but stayed perfectly tender and succulent inside. The Pan was deglazed with a sherry-tomato-caper vinaigrette, and the dish was finished with a Lemon Beurre Blanc drizzled on the plate. This was the most miraculous combination of flavors and textures I tasted this past week. The tender sweetness of the scallops paired with the very slight bitterness of the lettuce, which has a firm texture a bit like flawlessly cooked leaves of Brussels Sprouts, was a stellar combination, and when you add in a bit of acidity from the vinaigrette along with the velvety creaminess of the Beurre Blanc, this dish was perfection on a plate."
See why my mouth is watering? I'll bring up a few more of my all-time favorite dishes over the summer. Feel free to comment below on your favorites, too. Here's to a new summer season, and more truly memorable meals in a town with some 90 restaurants, clam shacks, takeouts, delis, bakeries and coffee shops to offer us something great to eat.