Thursday, February 7, 2013

Dinner out at 80 Thoreau

I few weeks ago my friend Ann posted a link from Zagat Blog about 9 Must-Try Tasting Menus in the Greater Boston Area.  This past weekend, Ann, Vivian, and I decided to pick one of the restaurants on the list and give it a try while the husbands were busy.  After looking them over, we decided to try 80 Thoreau in Concord, MA.

We've spent a lot of time in Concord - whether it's wandering around the cute downtown area, visiting Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, or walking around Walden Pond - but I'd never noticed 80 Thoreau.  As I was approaching the restaurant I realized why I'd always missed it.  It doesn't look like a typical restaurant.  We ALL had trouble finding it - it's just a pretty blue door with a sign to the right.  I kind of like a "hidden restaurant" though...

Our seating was at 8:45.  When Vivian made the reservation, she did so on Open Table, but didn't realize that that didn't reserve the tasting menu.  When she called the restaurant, they said their tasting menu was sold out that evening, but had room at the "Chef's Table".  Now THAT sounded like fun!

The Chef's table was a bar overlooking the kitchen, so we spent the evening watching the chefs work their magic...and then eating their creations.  We soon learned the other perk that comes with the Chef's Table are the little extras that are thrown in as you dine.  After we ordered our first course, our waiter brought us something to sample - tuna and an olive compote on crackers.

Then our first course arrived - we had Duck Confit with Grapefruit, Pistachio and Endive, and Poached Farm Egg over a bed of greens.  They were both delicious and full of flavor.

We enjoyed watching the chefs work while we waited for our Main Course.  It was a fun way to pick out what you wanted to eat next.  Watch them make the dishes...and pick the one that looks the best!  The chefs move around the kitchen so gracefully, flawlessly plating all the orders coming in.  I couldn't believe how calm it was.

For the main course, we decided to go with Pan Roasted Quails with Pomegranate, Chevre, and Barley, and the Roasted & Braised Chicken with Potatoes Gratin, Brussels, and Almonds.
The Quail

The Chicken

I was blown away by how large the servings were.  At most of the nice restaurants in Boston, you're presented with tiny portions.  Not so at 80 Thoreau.  I could only finish half of the juicy, bone-in breast - it was so big!  I did, however, polish off the Brussels sprouts and potatoes, which were fantastic.  I'm not usually a fan of the skin on a chicken breast, but this was delicious and perfectly cooked.

After watching the kitchen all evening, we knew dessert was going to be the Flourless Chocolate Cake.  The chocolate cake was finished off with a blowtorch, so how could we not get it?  I was most excited about the poached pears that came with the dish, which did not disappoint.  The cake was very rich, so these were a nice addition to the dish.

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Poached Pears

While we were swooning over the cake, the chef we'd been chatting with passed us another little gem to try -   Goat Cheese Cheesecake with a winter fruit compote and graham cracker crumble.  THIS was the dessert of the night.  It was tart without being overbearing, and we immediately abandoned the chocolate cakes for this guy.  We had a Goat Cheese Cheesecake at Audubon Circle a few weeks ago, but this was 1,000 times better.  The perfect way to end a meal.
Goat Cheese Cheesecake with Winter Fruit Compote

It was a fantastic evening out with great friends and was honestly one of my top two dining experiences ever.  I can't wait to go back!  If you live in the Boston area, you MUST make your way to Concord and try this restaurant - you won't be disappointed!

80 Thoreau on Urbanspoon


  1. Yummy Yummy Yummy!! I would love to eat all of these! xx. McKenna Lou

  2. Looks like an amazing dinner Lauren!! So fancyyyyyyy :)


  3. I love 80 Thoreau and agree that it looks hidden. The chef's counter sounds like fun! My review if you're interested:

    1. Hi Megan! You should definitely experience that table. So much fun. Heading over to check out your blog now!

  4. Amazing! What a great experience - thanks for sharing it with us! I'm really hungry now! As I was reading about your experience I was wondering if it made you want to run home and create any of the dishes? You're so creative and I could just imagine the gears going around in your head. :-) I really enjoyed reading this post. Thanks! Reia from

    1. YES! After running into the goat cheese cheesecake several times over the last few weeks, it's definitely something I'm going to try myself. Mmmmm!