It was my birthday dinner. I chose Lawson Pub for two reasons. In its previous incarnation at the same location I enjoyed many fun nights with friends. So one of my reasons was purely nostalgic. The other reason I had been longing to eat here was that I have loved the amazing food created by chef owner Joseph Bonacore for a very long time. I have been a fan of his since the days when he owned a restaurant named Tuscany. I remember my first meal there. I was so overcome by the food that all I could do was sit quietly and savor each bite unable to speak. That was in the early 90’s when ostrich and bison and other exotic meats were all the rage. The next place Bonacore opened was called Sole. It featured home style Italian food and it was fabulous. The only problem there being that you could never get a table without waiting hours.
I eagerly awaited the menu so I could enjoy his cooking once again. I sipped my wine; a very nice Pinot Noir. They have a decent selection of wines by the glass here. Since everyone at the table had such varying wine tastes that is how we ordered.
The menu features some classic pub fare in homage to the original Lawson Pub as well as some other interesting and interestingly named choices. It’s always a good sign when so many menu items sound appealing that it is difficult to choose just one.
The waiter came back for our order.
My mother was up first.
She is not the most adventurous of diners. She ordered the branzino. Hold the agrodolce sauce, hold the butternut squash multigrain risotto. She wanted hers with tomato sauce and fingerling potatoes. Oh and could you hold the branzino and give me chicken instead! Only kidding about that last part but it was pretty close. I think our waiter needed a break after her order. He was relieved when I only said – I’ll have the short ribs and left the rest up to the chef.
My daughter ordered mussels with garlic, shallots, white wine and tomatoes and gluten free pasta. George and Jordan ordered the veal chop parmigiana . The short ribs came with asparagus butternut squash risotto and seared spinach.
Well the food arrived and it was as wonderful as I had expected. Everyone enjoyed their meal. I tried the mussels and they were garlicky and plentiful.
The veal chops came with sides of stuffed shells; cheesy and saucy and perfect comfort food. Really enough for two meals!
And my short ribs…. Well they were in a rich deeply flavored brown sauce . They were so tender. The risotto was creamy and had little chunks of squash and pieces of asparagus in it.
Dinner was delicious.
Then we ordered dessert. Dessert here is made up of little tastes. Jordan ordered the Banana Lollipops.
Frozen chunks of banana smothered in chocolate. George tried the Hot Chocolate gelato which came in cute little ice cream cones.
I had the spoons of creme brûlée and tiramisu. Emily had the nutella panna cotta spoons.
Just enough dessert to feel indulgent not enough to feel uncomfortably stuffed. A perfect ending. A great birthday dinner.
I will be going back to try some of the pub classics- like the roast pork sandwich that they have named the Pigs Ass. I want a taste of the steak tidbits and the tater tots and the white truffle and asiago potato chips and so on and so on . Thanks Chef Joseph Bonacore for many years of enlightened cooking.
And thanks for a wonderful dinner spent celebrating with my family. Love you guys!