Slow-Poached Egg with Paddlefish Caviar, Celery Leaf Salad and Bottarga ($15)
A base of kabocha squash that's roasted, then smoked is surrounded by a salad of celery leaves, pickled onions, and bottarga. The egg has been cooked for an hour at 62°C, to a perfect molten consistency, and topped with paddlefish caviar. It all essentially ends up stirred together in a vibrant chorus of smoky squash, rich egg, and the punctuation of caviar—it's strange to look at once de-composed a bit, but all in one mouthful is the way to get it.
Lemon Meringue Pie with Candied Almonds ($8)
It looks like the ratio's out of balance, a 3-inch crown of meringue on a maybe half-inch layer of filling, but that filling is so powerfully tart, the meringue so supremely airy, that it works perfectly. Order this.
Roasted Beets with Orange Ricotta and Grilled Bread ($14)
Housemade ricotta with olive oil, orange juice, and zested orange join the beets.
Grilled Clam Pizza ($18)
Freshly shucked clams meet additional clam juice, olive oil, garlic, and chili flakes atop this pizza. We wanted a little more salt and a little more flavor from the dough, but the toppings work beautifully.
Cod Throats Meuniére ($15)
Coated in semolina before they're fried, with a Meuniére sauce using browned butter, lime, and veal stock. Texturally, they didn't have quite the crisp we wanted, but the Meuniére was rich and satisfying and paired beautifully.
Roasted Mushrooms and Kale “Risoato” ($19)
Risotto made with steel-cut oats; get it? They're toasted with clove and cinnamon before they're cooked risotto-style with vegetable stock and white wine. It's finished with kale puree and topped with pan-roasted hen of the woods mushrooms and grated horseradish.
Hashed Brussels Sprouts and Lentils ($8)
The lentils didn't really contribute—as in, there seemed to be about twelve lentils in the whole bowl—but with a smartly seasoned sprout hash, we're not really inclined to complain.
Bacon-Shrimp Burger with Spice-Dusted Fries ($18)
We're generally skeptical of non-meat burgers, but this bacon-shrimp creation was fantastic. It's rock shrimp ground together with bacon, spiced up with aleppo pepper and garlic, and then coated in an egg wash and panko breadcrumbs before it's cooked on the plancha. It gets nicely crusty and is smartly paired with a homemade pretzel roll, with quick-pickled fennel to top it off. Our only maybe-complaint? The flavors are so intense that we couldn't imagine eating a whole one. But that just means you should get one and share it. (The fries are great, too.)
Mangalitsa Pork Sandwich
Pork neck, of a Mangalitsa pig from Mosefund, is marinated overnight in cider, garlic, and rosemary before it's grilled slowly on a wood grill, "up to an hour and a half," says Cardoz. That smokiness comes through even with all the other elements of the sandwich.
Chocolate Pecan Layer Cake with Pecan-Chocolate Chip Ice Cream ($8)
Without any major flaws, this chocolate cake still didn't rise to the level of "memorable." In fact, the memorable part was the Pecan-Chocolate Chip Ice Cream, which was so muted in its flavors that we couldn't tell what it was. (North End's other ice creams were excellent and powerfully flavored; we hope this one will rise to their level.)