|Local Feast at the Hyatt|
|Features - Chefs and Restaurants|
|Written by Jon Ross-Wiley|
Many hotels in the Boston area can boast well-appointed, high-end restaurants that are housed on their premises. How many hotels, however, can boast banquet service that can serve thousands, but still maintain a fresh, seasonal menu that features local food? The Hyatt Regency Boston can. Hyatt, as a corporation is undergoing a major campaign to Go Green, and, in doing so, has committed to reducing their overall carbon footprint. While this campaign extends into all areas of the corporation's operations, local food junkies like me will be most pleased to see and taste how it comes to play in the kitchen. And play it does.
Executive Chef Kelly Armetta has taken on the challenge of incorporating local foods into Hyatt's large menu of offerings, and he has done so with impeccable taste and whimsy. I was most fortunate to attend a press tasting of Chef Armetta's latest seasonal menus, and while there really are no words to describe the decadence of the feast appropriately, I will do my best to share some of the highlights of an evening that was nothing short of culinary perfection.
First, take a look at the entire menu and prepare to be inspired:
Cantaloupe Granite with Salami and Olive Skewers
Farro and Rosemary Lemon Braised Chicken, Spiced White Eggplant
Tonnato Salad on Ciabatta Toast with Preserved Lemons, Micro Basil
Gnocchi with Putanesca Cruda, Parmesan Cups
Grilled Pizza, Ricotta and Fontina Cheese, Caramelized Vidalia Onions, Arugula
Rustic Olive Bread, Three Cheese Semolina and Olive Oil Flights
Summer Menu--Soups and Sliders
New England Native Corn Bisque with Shiitake Mushrooms, Bacon and Truffle Oil
Summer Vegetable Soup with Cannellini Beans and Pasta
Lobster Cake Slider with Celery Slaw and Lemon Aioli
Sirloin Slider with Tomato-Onion Jam
Three Cheese Slider with Pink Brandywine Tomatoes
Fall/Winter Menu--From Cape to Cape (Cape Cod to Cape Anne)
Nantucket Bay Scallop Ceviche
Mini Lobster Salad Sandwiches
Sam Adams' Steamed Little Neck Clams
Quahogs "Casino" Style with New England Cobb Smoked Bacon
Dessert--Spring and Tasty
Créme Brulee with Fresh Currants
Locally Grown Strawberry Rhubarb Pie in a Shot
Lavender Honey Roasted Local Peaches, Fresh Vanilla Cream
Maine's Wild Blackberry Panna Cotta, Crispy Wafer
Cherry and Chocolate Bread Pudding
White Chocolate Cover Melon, Raspberry Dusted
NOTE: A full two tables of cheeses were made available as well, including Cabot and Capri varieties among others.
Now, for my favorites from each menu:
Toscana: Grilled Pizza, Ricotta and Fontina Cheese, Caramelized Vidalia Onions, Arugula
The best word to describe this pizza aside from delicious is "balanced." From texture to taste profile, this pizza was utterly complete. The grilled crust provided the perfect platform for the creamy cheese duo, the über-sweetness of the caramelized vidalias, and the bite of the fresh arugula. Generally, I need some kind of meat on my pizza to feel satisfied, but in this case, I didn't miss the meat at all. In fact, I think the addition of bacon or sausage would have detracted from the overall clean and fresh taste. Let's be honest, though...if it had bacon and sausage on it, I'd still eat it...happily and ravenously, I might add.
As far as lobster sandwiches go, give me a lobster roll any day and I will not complain. Whether the buttery or mayo-laden variety, I will eat it without reservation or judgment. Similarly, I've yet to meet a crabcake sandwich that I didn't like. So when lobster roll meets crabcake...watch out. This sandwich was all that you might imagine. While the cake is lightly fried, the freshness of the lobster was still right out front. The lobster cake was well-spiced, and the slaw and lemon aioli further elevated and brightened the lobster.
From Cape to Cape: Sam Adams' Steamed Little Neck Clams
While this dish was on the Fall/Winter table, I immediately thought of the lazy days of summer when I ate more than my fair share of these treats. I then reconsidered the fall/winter designation. Tailgating at the big game? Steamers work. Hearthside after an active day in the snow? Steamers work. These little necks work anytime really. While small, they are hearty eating. These were a favorite of mine even before I tasted Chef Armetta's treatment of them.
Dessert: Cherry and Chocolate Bread Pudding
All I have to say is, chocolate bread pudding made from croissants. Really, that's all I'm going to say.
The evening at the Hyatt will not be forgotten. For your next big event, consider the Hyatt...then invite me.
All photos used with the permission of photographer, Russ Coover.