Every Monday, TMR brings you a restaurant review!
I was fortunate enough to attend a media dinner last Monday evening with fellow bloggers Rachel, Tara, and Lena at Ceia in Newburyport. When I stepped into the restaurant, I immediately felt like the hour-long drive north from Boston was well worth it. The rustic look was balanced with beautiful modern accents, creating a tremendously cozy atmosphere. Would the food live up to the setting? Let’s check out what was on the tasting menu: Baby Beet Salad, Pappardelle, Cod, Prime Rib, and Brillat-Savarin…served alongside a glass of wine (Convento San Francisco Temperanillo).
Up first…the baby beet salad. This salad proved to be a solid starter to the meal. The cool beets and thinly sliced pieces of butternut squash were a great seasonal choice. Strong Cabrales cheese (in small bites) provided a nice pop to the dish. But something was missing, and one of my dining companions quickly nailed it…texture. The suggestion of crushed pecans was spot-on.
Our next course was the pappardelle. The thin sheets of freshly made pasta rested in a mixture of pulled rabbit and Dijon and veal ragout, topped with some Rams Head fungi, and a touch of mousse. Just a great all-around dish for the second course. It wasn’t at all heavy, and the tender rabbit was a nice match with the pasta. Not to be overlooked was my refreshing mousse topping.
The next dish—cod with garbanzo mash and creamed chard—was my favorite of the evening. This example of plating perfection was only topped by the dish’s execution. The delicate cod had a beautiful coating and rested alongside the mash and chard. A forkful of all three elements worked out best for me. The mash was creamy, with slightly hardened bean chunks throughout. And the perfectly cooked chard was a wise choice with the fish. I couldn’t find fault with any aspect of this dish.
Following the fish course, we tried a ribeye offering that was surf n’ turf meets steak n’ eggs. My only slight criticism with this dish was the egg. It rested over some potatoes and I would have preferred it to be a little runnier. The meat was perfect and no complaints about the hunk of lobster sitting on top.
We finished the dinner with some Brillat-Savarin cheese. This was just not my style…at all. The cheese was overwhelmingly strong for my liking, but that’s not to say it wasn’t good—just not my preference. Two of my other table mates seemed to love it.
This was my first time in Newburyport, but certainly not my last. Ceia was a complete reflection of the town—quaint, cozy, and certainly worth another trip back.
25 State Street
Newburyport, MA 01950