Well, we finally had a chance to visit Chef Lee Chizmar’s and Erin Shea’s new place, Bolete (pronounced, we learned,“Bo-leet”) Saturday night. It’s everything we anticipated and more. The décor is understated and sophisticated, yet relaxing, reflecting Erin’s gift for making guests feel welcome and at home. Erin has assembled a great list of wines by the glass or bottle and some innovative cocktail selections. Try the “Ghost of Mary,” an updated version of the “Bloody Mary.”
The menu developed by Chef Chizmar is familiar when you see it, with offerings such as tenderloin of beef, smoked pork chop, halibut, and breast of duck. But the preparation and presentation are nothing short of fabulous. He lures you with the familiar and takes it to another place, with layers of flavor that surprise and delight.
But it’s the attention to detail that takes your breath away. We had the cauliflower soup, which was wonderful. But not content to merely serve the soup at Bolete, our server James first presented us with a soft-boiled quail egg, covered with panko and lightly deep-fried, sitting on a tiny nest of greens in a small skillet. The soup then was served via a cast iron teapot, into the skillet, with the quail egg sitting on its tiny island. Wow! It was delightful and delicious. For entrees, we enjoyed the duck breast, lamb shank and halibut at our table.
Anything that can be made on premises is done right there, from the soup stock to the yeast rolls, served hot from the oven. The pork chops are smoked on premises. Chef Chizmar leaves nothing to chance. He wants total control over the experience of his guests in his restaurant.
We enjoyed ourselves so much that we returned for brunch on Sunday. Having had the duck the evening before, I had to try the duck comfit hash and sunny-side-up eggs. Somehow, the term “hash” didn’t do the dish justice, but it reflects Chef Chizmar’s knack for taking the familiar and turning it into a completely new experience. It was terrific. I also stole a bite of my wife’s eggs benedict with smoked salmon, and can highly recommend it as well.
I understand that it’s getting tough to get reservations on weekends, so book early. When we arrived at 6:30 Saturday for our reservation, the place was already full.