A new dining option overlooking Mirbeau Inn & Spa’s Monet-inspired gardensBy Maria Allen
The sun had just begun to slip behind Mirbeau Inn & Spa’s main manor as my friend and I were seated at an outdoor café table overlooking a picturesque pond edged with ornamental grasses and flowers. From our seats on the patio, we could hear the gentle sound of water pouring over a small waterfall and watch executive chef Daniel Kenney cook up gourmet pizzas inside a wood-fired pizza oven.
The newest dining option offered on the grounds of the inn, The Garden Bar offers a simple yet thoughtfully curated selection of mouthwatering appetizers and crispy pizzas to choose from. The pizza dough in made using organic wheat flour, local honey and sea salt. The pizzas are cooked over the embers of burning hardwood in an oven that reaches 600 degrees.
“Using wood to cook and flavor foods is one of the oldest cooking methods in existence,” says chef Kenney. “It also brings out the delicate flavor of each ingredient, from the basil grown in our gardens to our locally sourced vegetables.”
Chef Kenney took over as executive chef at Mirbeau Inn & Spa just a few months ago. A graduate of Johnson & Wales University, he comes to the job with over 20 years of experience working in some of the most distinguished restaurants and resorts in the northeast. Most recently, he was the corporate chef for Scout Hotel & Resort Management, serving as the executive chef of the group’s Sea Crest Hotel in North Falmouth, Harbor View Hotel in Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard and Mahogany Bay Village in Belize.
Everything on the menu sounded delicious, so my friend and I decided to order several different starters to share over glasses of Malbec. We started out with a Hearts of Romaine salad. The salad plate contained a pile of large lettuce leaves topped with crunchy croutons, shaved Manchego cheese, Spanish white anchovies, cured olives and wood-fired baby tomatoes. The greens were drizzled with creamy peppercorn dressing that had just the right amount of spiciness.
Next, the chef brought out a plate of fire-roasted oysters topped with a buttery blanket of bread crumbs, Portuguese chorizo butter and Espelette pepper. The oysters were artfully plated on a bed of wood chips and coarse salt. Even after being baked, each oyster delivered a briny burst.
We also enjoyed a plate of sliced cranberry toast topped with house made ricotta, wood-charred cranberry toast, spicy arugula and crisp La Quercia prosciutto strips gilded with golden strands of orange blossom honey. The flavors of the ingredients melded together perfectly to produce a taste that was heavenly.
After all that food our stomachs were already pretty full, but we decided to go ahead and try one of chef Kenney’s specialty pizzas. After perusing the creatively named choices, we settled on The Trap, a pizza that came topped with chunks of Maine lobster, housemade ricotta cheese, wood-fired sweet corn and peppers, Portuguese chorizo, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, tomato sauce and fresh basil.
The pizza was perfectly cooked—the crust crisp with a delicate chew—and each luxurious bite highlighted the sweet flavor of fresh lobster. Other favorites on the pizza menu include The Barn, which brings together the flavors of wood-fired onions, La Quercia prosciutto and manchego cheese, and The Butcher, which contains apple-smoked bacon, porchetta, Portuguese chorizo and more. Guests also have the option of ordering their wood-fired pizzas a la carte, choosing from a diverse selection of toppings.
Guests who arrive at the restaurant early enough can grab a seat at the pizza bar that encircles the oven area to watch the pizza making magic. Tucked within the inn’s Monet-inspired gardens, The Garden Bar is a hidden gem.
The Garden Bar
35 Landmark Drive in Plymouth