The ancient people believed that a person could read their own future if they put a moonstone gem in their mouths while the moon was full. We didn’t go to Moonstones in Chelmsford, MA for that reason, but let’s call it ‘serendipity’. With the full Harvest moon about to crescendo, we got our mouths full of the fare at this unique restaurant. We have seen our future and it looks pretty delicious. And we are proud to introduce a new honorary Gertz Girl by the name of Caroline McKinnon, who joined in our lunar gastronomic experience!
I am a faithful reader of Gertz Girlz and patiently await the new review each month to get my taste buds dancing. I also quite frequently enjoy the benefits of Lisa’s home kitchen so know first-hand what a good cook she is. I hear Dee is even better and has an amazing kitchen to go along with the territory. As I read the blog each month and see the beautiful pictures of what looks to be scrumptious food, my mouth waters. So…I was absolutely delighted when the Girlz invited me to be a guest.
Allow me to interrupt and say I’ll cop to the amazing kitchen, thank you! But Lisa is the true gourmet talent of the Gertz Girlz!
Along with my fellow sistah Lisa, I have become the “Goldilocks” of restaurants. Every place I go it seems to be too loud, too rough a crowd, too hot or too cold (I like it hot, Lisa likes it sub-zero). As I headed out to Moonstones, I was hoping it would be “just right”!
I couldn’t be more excited as I perused the Moonstones menu. I was most excited about the Poké. Ever since I read about Poké Bowls in the California Girlz write up, I’ve been dying to try one. I was also excited about peppadew peppers (with goat cheese and Chelmsford honey) and Korma Meatballs (golden raisins, cashews, basmati rice and mint yogurt) and of course, Poké!!! I often have order envy so thought I might end up trying everyone’s dish and really channel my inner Goldilocks. However, I was very satisfied and completely content with my own order and did not have room to try everyone else’s!
We ordered and shared the peppadews. They were small, adorable, and bursting with flavor. I found them to be absolutely delicious.
You could stuff a pinecone with goat cheese and I’d gnaw on it! Just sayin’ 🙂 They were a surprising wonder!
For my main dish, I ordered the Szechuan Eggplant Poké Bowl. It was beautifully plated and I couldn’t wait to dig in. In addition to the eggplant, rice, cucumber, avocado and pickled mango, it also included tofu and red peppers (I opted out of the red peppers). I was happy they were able to oblige. Often times, I ask for even the slightest variations and restaurants can’t (or won’t) accommodate. This dish was listed as “medium spicy”, which was an accurate description. I do not like things too hot, and it was just the right amount of spice.
The sweet-spicy, perfectly balanced, sauce soaked into the fried tofu and was outstanding. I guess I’ll have to wait for my next visit to Moonstones to try the Korma Meatballs.
I was thrilled to have my dear friend Goldilocks (I mean Caroline) along with us! We have a regular weekly dinner together but have had palate fatigue lately, and so I was looking for a restaurant that would be a bit different. I checked out the Moonstone menu online and was intrigued. We had planned for a 2pm meal on a Saturday and so we were restricted to their lunch menu, but it was far from average. From the infused non-alcoholic “Refresh” beverages which can be ordered by half carafe or pitcher (Basil Cucumber Spritzer, Ginger Mint Iced Tea to name a couple), the gorgeous raw bar, the lunch bowls, a selection of special cheeses, and very nice dessert offerings, we were in for an interesting late lunch.
We were seated close to the bar and next to a group of women who were already having fun, from a look at their martini-laden table. Hmm…how could we be healthful and have fun too? Well, let’s take that Basil-Cucumber idea and make it into a martini? Our friendly server Hannah agreed that was a splendid idea!
Dee and I concurred after several sips that it was a delicious combination. And speaking of friendly – Moonstones is oozing it. From Jeff the menu-knowledgable bartender, to Keith who was manning the oyster bar, to the general manager herself, it’s apparent that friendly, great service is a priority here. That vibe is infectious and we had a truly great time, with me basking in the company of two of my favorite girlz!
OK, let’s talk cocktails! I am in love with any place that has more than one sangria. And Moonstones did not disappoint. There were a few different choices of their ’stones sangria…a sexy Spanish infusion of fresh fruit, wine and spirits. I chose the rosé sangria (pomegranate, raspberry, grapefruit, topped with Prosecco). I do not like too sweet of a sangria and this was crisp, refreshing, and delicious.
I felt the need to order one lonely Wellfleet oyster to start my meal off. It was fresh and briny, and it came well-appointed (on ice with the typical sauces and toppings).
The Poké Bowl I ordered (Vietnamese-style crispy shrimp, namasu with miso-sriracha aioli) was both pretty and plentiful with the shrimp having just the right sweet, firm bite to them.
But I must say it was our Goat Cheese Stuffed Peppadews appetizer that most ‘wowed’ me. I had never had these scarlet beauties before, and all I can say is you MUST order these when you go. They come five to the order and are startlingly good! The other standout for me was the Warm Chocolate Paté from the dessert sampler we had at end of meal – it made me moan involuntarily.
Sometimes, and at its best, going out for a meal is about meeting new people. That’s certainly the case here. I was thrilled to enjoy a fabulous meal with a lovely new friend and Lisa’s BFF, Caroline. What a pleasure to peruse the eclectic menu at Moonstones over getting-to-know-you conversation!
Despite the eclectic offerings, sometimes you just gotta have a burger. And Moonstones obviously understands that, by offering two great choices. This almost inspired an ‘eeny meeny miny moe’ since both the Joe and the Fat Moon sounded so good. I opted for the Fat Moon because I love the onion/mushroom combo (especially on pizza) and don’t get me started on the wonders of bleu cheese.
I ordered the burger medium rare, and it was cooked just right. The caramelized onions were sweet and complimented the earthy mushrooms, and there was just the right amount of tartness from the cheese to balance it out. The shoestring fries were crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. Totally addictive.
At the end of our meal, we simply couldn’t say no to dessert. There were so many “must haves” that we decided on the sampler. It included the vanilla crème brûlée, Brazilian coconut pudding, chocolate pâté, and a surprise from the Chef. The surprise was a chocolate chip cookie bar. Of the four deserts, it was my favorite. It was warm, soft, sweet and delicious. I wish I could have ordered a whole pan of it to take home!
The Brownie Bar was fantastic, but my favorite was the Crème Brûlée, and it was the first time I ever tried it. DeeLish! Since I have the ramekins and the torch, I will definitely be making this at home to hold me over until I can get back to Moonstones. Hopefully soon!
I really loved Moonstones. I loved the ambiance, the food, the service and the overall experience. I hope to go back at some point for dinner or to have cocktails and appetizers at the bar. We were told the dinner menu offers several tapas choices. I’m so happy the Gertz Girlz invited me to the is lovely afternoon.
I’m in absentia as usual lately due to senior year commitments – but it sounded like a fun time and I’m sorry I missed dining with my two wonderful Auntz!! I promise to be at the next one!
Gertz Girlz Final Dish:
Also unique is the architecture of Moonstones. Situated in a free-standing building on Route 110 in Chelmsford, it’s hard not to notice its contemporary exterior.
Once inside, that look continues with big splashes of citrusy colors, intimate and multilevel dining areas, and strategic patches of daylight offered from atrium ceiling windows. The lighting was just right and the music a soft rock whose volume we didn’t need to fight with to have conversation. Goldilocks was satisfied and you will be too!