A Terrific New Newton Restaurant Discovery: Andre's
This is a bit of a story so I'll begin with the punch line in case I lose you part way through!
April 2, I was too sick from my head cold to be able to go out for dinner. I held out until shortly before we were due to leave and then gave in when Elliott suggested that if I couldn't taste what was the point of going. So I moved the reservation to a week later and missed a very special birthday cake made by chef Andre de Waal for both me and his dynamic maitre d' wife Tracey who, coincidentally, shares the same birthday!
What an amazingly delicious dinner we had one week later when my taste buds were restored. Since we're both trying to moderate our calories, Elliott chose just a main course but when I saw that the special foie gras of the day was sautéed fresh foie gras, I succumbed instantly. It had a tangerine reduction glaze that was magnificent. But along with my foie gras came house cured salmon for Elliott--the dish he would have chosen had he been planning to have an appetizer. And it was superb.
We eagerly awaited Elliott's chicken and my loin of lamb with maple glaze but to our surprise along came an exquisite dish of perfectly cooked branzini. This fish course was followed by a most unusual salad with a horseradish dressing, so beloved by the clientele chef Andre bottles it for sale.
The chicken turned out to be the best we've had in years--free range organic from a farm in upstate New York. The mashed potatoes were amazing and turned out to be made from Idaho potatoes with butter and cream. We had to take a doggy bag as we were only able to eat about half but then a special dessert appeared: the mini croquembouche shown above, filled with an utterly delicious milk chocolaty cream and glazed with the traditional caramel that holds it together, then encased by the magical spun sugar. Just one more I kept saying as I popped yet another one in my mouth until we came to the last one and I said: "This one's yours." "No! It's yours." Elliott replied and I did not contest it.
On my way out I couldn't resist giving a big hug and kiss to chef Andre and wife Tracey. I wasn't alone--I noticed another guest who followed us doing the same.
How charmed we were to see this talented young couple rejoicing in their profession and giving it 100 percent of their generosity, enthusiasm, and skill. If you live in the area, do not miss it. You may well run into us, as we surely will be back. And do check out chef Andre's website and blog.
Now here's the story behind the story of how I learned about Andre's.
When I was 23, I worked as a medical secretary for a Dr. Maurice Fitzgerald Goodbody. I cooked him lunch every day on the Bunsen burner in his small lab until he told me that his wife was complaining that he was gaining weight and not hungry for dinner. Besides, he added, I was turning the place into a short order joint.
About 20 years went by and one of his 8 children, Mary Goodbody, became the founding editor of Cooks Magazine. My first two articles, Understanding the Layer Cake and Understanding Génoise, were the start of my career as a food writer. Soon after, I received a photo in the mail from Dr. Goodbody of him making a cake for his wife's birthday from my recipe from his daughter's magazine!
At the time when I was working for Dr.Goodbody, the Goodbody's invited me to their farm for the weekend, which they called the beyond Hope farm because it was just outside of Hope, NJ. Little did I know that some years later I would have a house in Hope and soon to be making the wedding cake for Mary's daughter Laura. During the recent wedding cake planning session, I asked Mary if she could suggest a special restaurant in the area where I could celebrate my upcoming birthday. It was she who suggested Andre's. She had not yet been there but she was impressed by the food at every event she attended in the area that was catered by chef Andre.
And that's the happy story.