THE ISABELLA STEWART Gardner Museum is unique, eclectic, and highly personal. Now it’s getting a culinary makeover to match. With chef Peter Crowley at the helm, the new Cafe G opens Jan. 19.
Crowley has been at the museum for a decade, but until now, his efforts were curtailed by the kitchen’s limitations: a few small electric burners and one electric convection oven. With new facilities in the Renzo Piano-designed expansion, “it’s like a cloud nine situation every day,’’ he says.
The cafe is enclosed by three glass walls, allowing patrons to look out at the garden. There is also a patio set among lush plantings.
As for the menu, there will be small plates such as deviled eggs with Old Bay; apple salad with lychee, bacon, and sriracha dressing; and the cheesy, creamy French potato dish called tartiflette. Main dishes might include a grilled Comte cheese sandwich with frisee, fennel, and pear salad; caramelized sea scallops with butternut squash puree and salsa verde; or braised pork shoulder with shiitake mushrooms, rutabaga, and pearl onions.
For dessert, there’s caramelized hazelnut meringue with blood orange and hibiscus, banana bread pudding with spiced rum caramel, and warm cinnamon doughnuts with Champagne creme anglaise - a nod to the museum’s history. It is said that when it opened on Jan. 1, 1903, Isabella Stewart Gardner served guests champagne and doughnuts.
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