July 7, 2010

BEST Stuffed Mushrooms

These stuffed mushrooms will change your life.

I almost want to just leave it at that, because no words can fully describe the culinary phenomena of an experience it is to eat these stuffed mushrooms. You simply have to go. Try them. And wonder how billions of people have lived their lives without ever having experienced the incredibly elegant, sophisticated, and passionate explosion of flavor and joy you just consumed. If I had to choose one thing to eat for the rest of my life...these very well may be it.

The mushrooms themselves are indeed very fine - large, plump, and fresh, they would burst with flavor even without all of the extra mushroom, breading, butter, and fresh spices (red pepper? garlic? parsley?) in their stuffing. There's something light about their flavor, but the richness and breading and size of each mushroom beg to counter that point - it would be difficult to eat many more than the six mushrooms in this appetizer on your own. The smooth texture of the outer mushroom shell combined with the savory, coarse texture of the stuffing cannot be argued as anything but divine.

One of my favorite parts of this appetizer is the lemon on the side. I often overlook garnishes as having little value beyond aesthetics (though there's nothing wrong with aesthetics), but adding a squeeze from the lemon truly makes these mushrooms pop. There's no other way to describe it: adding a little fresh lemon juice just makes them come alive with flavor. Definitely do not disregard the garnish on this one!! It's an absolute necessity to the overall experience.

Where you can enjoy these yourself:

Lombardi's on the Sound
44 Fairway Drive
Port Jefferson, New York

It should also be made known that this very well could be the best restaurant I've ever experienced. We came upon it by pure chance one day driving around and, despite its exclusive country club exterior, the restaurant is quite open and welcoming to the public. I've been there three times over the past two years and verifiably would drive all the way out there just for their food. Every single time we've gone, everyone's meal has been incredible - not just good, but really, excellent. They price accordingly - I couldn't make a habit of dining there five nights a week, or even one night every week - but I cannot stress enough that it is worth every penny. If you go during the summer, there is a beautiful view out over the Long Island sound; the staff is pleasant and attentive, with a host regularly making the rounds to assure your overall satisfaction; the atmosphere is relaxed and calming. Throw in truly excellent food, and you have nothing short of a five-star winner.

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