Beacon Hill Bistro’s Gnocchi Parisienne

Gold Bond
By KENJI ALT  |  December 14, 2007

Chef Jason Bond has never been one to shrink from tradition. His if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it style of flawlessly executing classic French and Italian dishes (with a few modern twists) won him a herd of followers from his days as chef de cuisine at No. 9 Park and the Butcher Shop. Through travels in France, he mastered the craft of charcuterie, and as head chef at Burdick Chocolates, he refined his pastry technique. Now, as executive chef of the recently re-worked Beacon Hill Bistro, Bond has finally found a venue to sing his own songs. And sing his food does.

My normal standby (and what I consider to be the signature dish) is the paté du chef ($14), an ever-changing selection of classic cured meats (recent choices have included an unctuous duck-liver mousse wrapped in bacon and a pork rillette so rich that it spread like cream cheese), but today I forgo my cravings for pork fat and liver in lieu of another test of the chef’s skill: handmade pasta. Not your typical potato or ricotta gnocchi, the gnocchi Parisienne at BHB are made by simmering ultra-light puffs of pâté à choux until tender yet chewy. They’re tossed in a heady pesto so green that you have to wonder if they blend each batch to order, and brightened by a healthy dose of mint and garlic chives; you can almost taste the late-summer farmer’s market on the plate. Add to that another New England summertime staple — chunks of lobster from Gloucester — and freshly shucked peas, and the dish has accomplished the goal of any classically trained French chef: to use refined technique and execution to perfectly showcase local ingredients at their best.

Available for $22 at Beacon Hill Bistro, 25 Charles Street, in Boston. Call 617.723.7575.

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