June's Can't-Miss Dish
The Opening Line (Myers + Chang)
Q&A: Frank McClelland of L'Espalier
Looking for a no-fail, mouthwatering, gonna-tell-your-friends-about-it plate? Each month, Boston Globe columnist Ellen Bhang highlights the dish you need to try right now—and a delicious wine to sip alongside it.
On the plate: House Special Eggplant
Where to find it: At Blossom Bar in Brookline Village, cocktail impresario Ran Duan (famous for The Baldwin Bar in Woburn) has transformed his family’s original restaurant, Sichuan Garden, into a destination for lush libations and addictively spicy Chinese fare.
Notes on the nosh: The garlicky fragrance wafting from the platter is irresistible, even if the aubergine looks like a slithery creature emerging from the deep. The eggplant is double-cooked, rendering its flesh sumptuously silky. The nightshade is split lengthwise, sizzled in hot oil, then finished in a wok with sweet-savory hoisin, ginger, and a generous helping of minced chicken. The saucy dish—which like most plates at Blossom Bar, is meant for sharing family-style—begs to be spooned over steamed rice and devoured on the spot.
Sip alongside: Oenophiles will find plenty to love here, including a Spanish tempranillo. Bar manager Will Isaza recommends a 2009 Rioja Reserva called “Viña Arana” crafted by venerable bodega La Rioja Alta. “It’s clean, with some aromatic notes that are similar to how it tastes,” he says, calling out “super-ripe cherry” as well as “tobacco, caramel, and spice.” The red’s elements meld together seamlessly after years of bottle age. “It’s extremely well-balanced with an elegant style of tannin,” says Isaza. “It’s a fit with Sichuan cuisine.”