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Journeyman, Somerville

Journeyman busted on to Boston’s dining scene in 2010, garnered lots of rave reviews and quickly became a darling on the food boards. They only served tasting menus (choice of 3, 5 or 7 courses) and most everything is made in house. Times have changed and the limelight has moved on. Journeyman changed their menu structure; there is no choice, dinner is $85 and includes 9-12 dishes per person.

Steve gave me a gift certificate to Journeyman, but requested that I take someone else to dinner - the idea of having no control over his food did not appeal to him. I took my friend Peggi who was happy to try everything.

There were only two other tables occupied when I arrived for our reservation. I was alarmed – no restaurant should be this empty at 7pm on a Friday night. The room was also unimpressively cold and industrial and I was seated in a chair that screamed IKEA.

Dinner was an elaborate parade of tiny, precious dishes that were better described as interesting or imaginative than delicious.

photo 1

There was a bread basket, with 3 types of hearty bread and soft salted butter. We also got a flaxseed chip with a yogurt dip. It was reminiscent of Chinese shrimp chips in texture.

photo 2

Raw oyster encased in a smoked gelee wrapper. It was visually fascinating, like a see- through ravioli.

photo 3

Sea scallop with celery and apple. The texture was firm and pleasing, with a fresh briny flavor.

photo 4

Charcuterie plate with a soft boiled egg and pickled cauliflower. The 3 thin slices of coppa were unremarkable.

photo 5

Hearts of palm, caperberries, cracklins and a single walnut. I, literally, can not think of anything to say about this dish.

photo 1 (1)

Monkfish, escargot, and brisket. The monkfish was tasty, but it was the size of a small McNugget.

photo 2 (1)

Liver agnolotti with shallots and bacon. This was my favorite course of the night – if only it was 4 times the size.

photo 3 (1)

Veal with radishes, artichokes and mushrooms. It was yet another precious, tiny plate of food. It was lovely to look at, not terribly exciting to eat.

photo 4 (1)

Egg nog custard. It was announced a as “pre – dessert”. The custard was served warm and it was delicious.

photo 5 (1)

We were served 2 different desserts; I had a sweet potato mousse with hazelnuts and a coffee smear. I am not a big fan of sweet potato, so this dessert did not appeal to me.

photo 1 (2)

Peggi’s was an olive oil cake with candied olives, apple sorbet and a tube of banana pudding. The candied olive was the strangest thing I tasted all night, but as I continued to eat, the sweet, briny, crunchy combination started to grow on me.

photo 2 (2)

They also gave us a “post-dessert” of caramels, truffles, praline, madelines and homemade marshmallows. I enjoyed this small dish of treats far more than the actual dessert.

The service was excellent; they were extremely attentive and friendly. It was clear that a lot of time, energy and thought went in to each careful composed dish. I think there were some hits (the liver agnolotti) and some misses (sweet potato mousse). When the bill comes in at $240 (the meal, 2 cocktails and tip), my expectations are high and Journeyman failed to meet them.

http://www.journeymanrestaurant.com/menu.htm

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