The Greenhouse is light and airy with one wall of expansive glass windows topped with skylights. The terracotta tiles, French posters and plenty of plants add to the breezy effect. Our party of four was seated in the small gallery between the Greenhouse and the bar at a cozy table in a dining room that was quite lovely.
The special three-course menu was surprisingly extensive, with plenty of delectable-sounding choices in each category. Our party of four tried 11 items, all excellent, so space will force me to cover just the highlights.
For appetizers, the steamed Nauset Mussels and shrimp taco were standouts. The mussels were in a subtle saffron broth that allowed the perfectly cooked and plentiful shellfish to shine. A homemade crouton with a slather of garlicky rouille was a lovely finishing touch.
The shrimp taco was beautiful to behold and tasty to eat. A warm crispy corn tortilla was centered on a plate artfully drizzled with red and green chile sauces. A mound of baby shrimp, diced tomatoes, diced green beans and scallions held together with a creamy sauce flavored with garlic and cilantro rested on top.
Entrees were equally impressive. The grilled bistro steak consisted of a hangar cut of incredibly flavorful beef, cooked perfectly to order. The flavor of the steak was enhanced by a rich veal jus and a medallion of herb butter. The accompanying house-cut french fries are the best I’ve ever tasted. The flavor was so fabulous it never occurred to me to ask for ketchup.
The pappardelle pasta with a traditional meat Bolognese was also otherworldly. Satiny sheets of homemade pasta were tossed with a rich sauce chock full of small chunks of slow-braised beef that melted in your mouth. Shavings of fresh parmesan-reggiano adorned the top.
For a lighter choice, the warm crab crepe with grilled shrimp offered pleasing contrasts in texture. The crepe was filled with a soft and scrumptious crab mixture and topped with a light tomato sauce. A pretty lineup of grilled shrimp rested along one side. The shrimp were a tad overcooked, but their flavor was great.
Dessert options all tantalized, but the flavor of the pistachio crme brulee made it a favorite. The creamy texture and satisfying crunch of melted sugar on top were sublime. It was a light and fulfilling end to the meal. Chocolate lovers can’t go wrong with the Chocolate Nemesis cake with coffee ice cream. The cake was so dark and dense it required small bites so the rich flavor didn’t overwhelm the taste buds.
An attentive server kept our water glasses constantly full, but food service was a bit slow. Since we were relaxing with friends in such a pleasant atmosphere, it didn’t detract from our experience. Owner Pat Rabin stopped by for a chat while we were eating dessert. In the course of the conversation, we learned that Chillingsworth Bistro serves a similar three-course special for $25 every evening from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. We don’t mind eating early so we will surely be back for more.