At his flagship restaurant Clio, Chef Ken Oringer creates beautiful, wildly inventive French dishes with an Asian flair; inspiring and impressing at every turn while perfectly balancing flavors, textures, and nailing presentation. The awards and accolades for both the chef and the restaurant over the years have been outstanding. Nineteen years to be exact.
December 18th was my first time here. I was really glad I was able to dine at this Boston legend before they close their doors for good on January 1st. I left wishing I had taken the opportunity to splurge on this experience sooner, and wanting to shout from the city rooftops to take advantage before time runs out.
My cocktail, Smoke & Cinder ($17) was an intoxicating blend of Fidencio Mezcal, Aperol, lemon juice, grapefruit juice, and burnt cinnamon syrup. In a unique process, the smoke from the burnt cinnamon is trapped inside an overturned glass and the drink is poured tableside. It's incredible how the smokey, woodsy scent lingers - it hits you on the nose with each sip and intensifies the flavors of the Mezcal and Aperol, two of my favorites.
The Cassolette ($25) is a revelation where lobster, sea urchin, parsnip milk and candied lemon meld to create a rich flavorful bisque. The parsnip milk foam is light and frothy, a technique that adds a playful element to the dish before exposing the rich broth filled with sweet buttery and briny uni in delicate harmony with tender bites of lobster.
While the plate might appear overwhelming, the Pheasant Roast ($45) delivers on all accounts. The pinkish-white meat - cooked to a perfect tenderness has a delicate earthy flavor which lends itself beautifully alongside kimchee ramps, corn preserves, seeds + grains, and a touch of foie gras. There were so many fun, whimsical textures happening on that plate, from the unique nutty crunch of the sunflower seeds and farro to the frothy, creamy foie gras. And it was definitely a treat to have ramps out of season, the kimchee was a wonderful way to preserve this springtime delicacy! A classic, well known Ken Oringer dish is his Black Licorice Roasted Muskovy Duck ($45). The duck is indeed phenomenal, served with a Buddha's Hand citron spring roll, fennel bulb, rutabaga and candied pomello.
And after an incredible meal, in swooped a dessert that took it to another level of wonder. A Milk and Chocolate ($13) showcases chocolate ice cream encased in hard shell, with chocolate crumbs, glazed quince, salsify and pulled honey. Alongside I sipped a White Oak Akashi ($11) - a fantastic small batch Whiskey from Japan.
My evening at Clio will be fondly remembered long after they close their doors for good. This meal was for sure one of the best.
370a Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215