By Ron Rossi
We visited Westford in Massachusetts last week. When you come in from out of town you need to go out for dinner with friends who live here. We have been visiting for over 20 years and we know the area well. But sometimes you find something different. It is a place you normally pass by. But sometimes it is different. Word of mouth is that it is a place that is different and unique. And, since a friend is recommending that you go for dinner, you decide it is a place to try.
Plus, they are known for a martini. Or two.
It is not a large place as you pull into the parking area. You can see it is small. But the lot is full. So there must be a crowd inside. And with the name above the door how wrong can it be? it is STIR. And if you know the phrase from an old James Bond movie (Dr. No) then you know it is the way that Bond likes his martini: “Stirred. Not shaken.”
So, we went through the door and met the hostess. We were lucky. There was one table available at that moment. We agreed and sat down there. We were handed our menus by our waitress, Sophie. She reviewed the specialties for the evening. She told us what was available. We also had the list of specialties for the evening. This looked appealing. She also handed us the cocktail menu with beverages, martinis, and other items. Where to begin?
Stir Martini Bar & Kitchen: COCKTAILS ANYONE?
Naturally, in a place known for a Martini, it is the way to start. Especially as you are going through a menu with many entrees to consider. What we know is that everything is freshly made. Nothing is from a freezer or a store. This was all made that day int he kitchen by the chefs. This is what you expect.
Of course, we started with the cocktails. The wine was selected. Rose. And a special Velvet Throne cocktail that is a mix of Makers Mark, vanilla, cherries and red wine float. I selected a Martini but not as it appears on the list. I wanted a traditional martini the way I always have it. I discussed it with Shopie and she agreed.
While she went to get the selection we looked through the menu. This was extensive. It offered items we had not seen before There was a selection we could turn the appetizers into for the meal itself. Looking around we could see what other patrons were ordering. It took us several minutes but we finally selected what we would have for the evening.
It was just then that Sophie arrived with our drinks. Everything was fresh from the bartender. The martini itself was filled to the top. You couldn’t even hold it in your hand for the first sip. It was that large. We made our toast and then took a sip. The martini was as I expected and what I recalled. It was dry. Fresh. The vodka I wanted. It was stirred. Not shaken. It had three olives that were filled with Blue Cheese. The first taste told me I had a real martini as I expected. It is rare to have one like this.
A TIME TO ENJOY
We placed our orders and it was time to wait. While we did this we enjoyed our cocktails. It was perfect timing since, as we talked, our appetizers arrived. We kept this simple enough. We had a RED BEET AND RICOTTA SALAD. It was made with fresh red beets that were cooked and marinated that day. It was crisp and had a flavor to compliment it. It was also mixed with Ricotta that was sliced and mixed in. This was topped on a combination of lettuce and some spices to give it an accent This also had a vinaigrette on it for an accent. The salad itself was large enough for two individuals.
Our other salad was a nice mix of BERRY AND GOAT CHEESE. The berries were fresh. A good combination. This was then placed with fresh goat cheese on top of a mix lettuce with walnuts and apple cider vinaigrette. It was also large enough for two. It could be a perfect lunch to have.
Next were the main courses. First we had LOBSTER AND LEMON MASCARPONE RISOTTO. This was an excellent combination of lobster tail and claws mixed with the risotto that has lemon, thyme and mushrooms. We also had an order of LOBSTER MAC & CHEESE. It is a level above traditional mac & cheese. This was freshly made pasta that morning. Once more it was topped with lobster claws and tail. The cheese was excellent and made the flavor nice and melted to have an excellent taste.
Next we had to try SHORT RIB RAVIOLI. Once more this ravioli was made that day. It was light and fresh. It was then stuffed with short ribs and some spice to give it a flavor. It was topped with a homemade mushroom demi-glace. This is not a red sauce. It is a compliment to the ravioli and short rib.
Naturally you had to have a LASAGNA. How can you not when in a restaurant with a touch of Italian. Only this time once more it is fresh pasta that morning. The sauce was definitely homemade and not out of a can. It was light, gentle and plentiful. The cheese was nice and melty. It had a touch of bolognese in the meat that filled the dish along with some spinach. This was a good dish to have and to remember when cooking at home.
Along with our cocktails and conversations, this was an excellent meal before we headed into the holiday season. It was our time alone to enjoy our company, and our dinner, together.
A HIDDEN GEM TO DISCOVER AND ENJOY.
You would drive by a small restaurant and never know that inside was a place that is special. The staff is excellent. We thank Sophie, and the team for their help. Thanks to the bartender for those cocktails, especially that wonderful martini.
Chef Thomas is an expert, and the team is perfect in creating these meals. These meals are not what you would find in any other Italian restaurant. This was a s[special place where they take a traditional concept and convert it into something new. Something you might imagine but never had. It was a delicious meal. Rightly made and seasoned to bring it a taste you would truly want to have. The portions were right. The prices were fine for what you have to select from. It is your choice. You can also make a reservation if you want to have the right place to sit when you get there.
And then you to Randy. He is an expert as the Owner / Operator. He has a great idea, and an excellent team who make this happen. STIR is not a large place. It is the right size for people who want to try something new and different.
It did stir things up.
Stir Martini Bar & Kitchen
2 Powers Road
Westford, Massachusetts 01886
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