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Fine dining restaurant in downtown Amherst surprises with extravagance

(Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism/ Flickr)

From the crimson napkins folded in unimaginable ways to the rose handed out at the door, my Valentine’s Day experience this year was utterly unforgettable. I strapped on my high school prom shoes that I nearly forgot on my road trip back home and headed inside the seemingly extravagant Lord Jeffery Inn, where the hidden 30Boltwood restaurant greeted me through the cedar double doors.

Nestled within downtown Amherst, 30Boltwood has a rustic charm along with a superb ambience. The use of fall colors even during the winter invites you in for a longer stay than normal, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Beyond the decor, the bar is placed at the dead center of the restaurant along with a live saxophonist, a magnificent way of drawing community members inside for a nice drink and hot meal.

With the choice of either ordering from the regular menu or being set up with a four-course meal, there were unlimited options for Valentine’s Day evening and great choices for any night of the year. Each course had several different options, with the exception of the dessert choices. Prices ranged from $70 per person without wine pairings to $90 per person with.

For the first course, I chose to indulge in the lobster and caviar soup. The chef neatly placed a plentiful portion of lobster and caviar in the center of the bowl. The portion of lobster was not too overpowering; do not expect chunks of lobster similar to a lobster roll. The waiter came to the table and slowly poured the potato leek soup around the seafood to pair, creating an enjoyable and slightly smoky taste.

The caviar proved to be slightly fishy for my taste but not too overpowering that it knocked the sweet taste out of the lobster and leek soup. It was an excellent combination to say the least.

The thick texture was heavenly. If you are a fan of a good ole’ New England clam chowder, this dish will set you back in your seat with excitement. The presentation, on top of its taste, was the perfect start to the elegant meal. Needless to say, my date and I ordered two of these because we couldn’t settle for one serving.

For the second course, I chose to order the tagliatelle, a thick Italian pasta topped with leeks, oyster mushrooms, garlic and parmesan. While I originally was worried that this dish may be a little too sweet for my liking, the presentation was off the charts. The only thing that could have been changed is adding another flavor to counteract the sweetness of the mushrooms and garlic. While the dish was superb, this flatness of flavor prevented it from reaching its full potential.

The third course acted as the main entrée: filet mignon paired with mashed potatoes and carrots. The chef took a traditional meal cooked by dozens of restaurants in the area and clearly outdid himself. Pairing the filet with a bitter balsamic vinegar sauce was a bold choice but it turned out to be amazing. In addition, he added a relish pickled garnish, which added a sweet crunch to a tender filet.

To top off the night, the fourth course consisted of a chocolate tart with a mango glaze on the side. Though I never thought that dark chocolate and mango pair nicely, I was mistaken. If you were single this past Valentine’s Day, this would still be a perfect end to an awful holiday.

30Boltwood blew my expectations out of the water that night. From superb service and management to a mouthwatering menu, it was an unforgettable night. I would encourage any young couple looking to splurge on a night of fine dining or any older couple looking for a nice night out on the town to make a reservation at 30Boltwood.

Cassidy Kotyla can be reached at ckotyla@umass.edu and followed on Twitter @CassidyKotyla.

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