Enjoying the warmer weather we turn to a summer series visiting museums to partake in a summer journey of art and food, after all, #FoodIsArt. (Eat at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Peabody Essex Museum; Worcester Art Museum; Norman Rockwell Museum, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum… and more).
As a “visionary creator of what remains one of the most remarkable and intimate collections of art in the world today and a dynamic supporter of her time, encouraging music, literature, dance and creative thinking across artistic disciplines,” Isabella Stewart Gardner left an artistic imprint of the Renaissance in the heart of Boston.
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum collection is comprised of more than 2,500 objects – paintings, sculptures, furniture, textiles, drawings, silver, ceramics, illuminated manuscripts, rare books, photographs and letters from ancient Rome, Medieval Europe, Renaissance Italy, Asia, the Islamic world and 19th-century France and America. The museum exudes feelings of complexity and intimacy, birthing an atmosphere of simultaneous tranquility and amazement. The works of art flood the walls with permanency and richness, which slowly parlay into the creative culinary offerings of Café G.
Café G, once known as The Gardner Café, is a historical place of peace due to its embodiment of historical recipes prepared by Isabella Gardner herself. Meals here are characterized by the natural beauty of courtyard dining and deep connections to music and art. The menu is a seasonal interpretation of Gardner’s cultural appreciation and operates under the leadership of Chef and Owner, Peter Crowley. Café G has received praise for its award-winning desserts and inspirational lunch menu.
With a menu as eclectic as the museum’s collection, Café G serves up a commitment to sourcing ingredients of the highest quality from local, independent producers and creates an artistic spin to its seasonal offerings. From the crispy chickpea fries with sriracha aioli to the asparagus ‘wellington’ with morels and sauce gribiche, Café G explores the palates of its guest by emulating the diverse collection of art.
While the main plates are a seasonal staple on an ever-changing menu, Café G boasts a variety of well-versed dishes like the polenta Milanese – with creamy mushrooms and house made ricotta – and Eva’s greens and grilled steak salad – with blue cheese, red onion, toasted almond, and lemon. However, the daily specials are what truly embrace the grand personality of Gardner and her love of the arts.
The salmon – pan seared with pea green, roasted carrots, daikon radish, sugar snap peas, almonds, nasturtium pesto, pink peppercorn dressing, lemon vin on the greens and topped with feta – appeases all of the senses. With an aromatic freshness, the dish lives up to its claim of exclusivity. Ambiance is established by the natural beauty of the Courtyard, an ideal backdrop for the salmon dish paired with Café G’s rosé sangria – a rosé infused with peach, rosemary, and citrus. Elevating the concept of lunch, the Courtyard experience at Café G mimics the perfectly curated philosophies that dictated Gardner’s perpetual fascination.
Named as “Boston’s Best Indulgence” by The Improper Bostonian, the bread pudding is the dessert that fully immerses guests to acknowledge food as an art form. The banana bread pudding is served in a shareable portion with maple pecan butter; this dish deserves its rank at the top of the dessert menu. Accompanied with an espresso, the banana bread pudding is a full representation of Gardner’s larger than life personality.
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is a treasure in Boston’s history and a staple in today’s art culture. With its subtle exterior, the world inside is but a magical emporium – housing some of the greatest periods of art the world has seen – and Café G is an extension of its allure.