Port Bistro, Kingston, MA

Port Bistro, on Rte 3a in Kingston, MA - photo by Richmond Talbot

I was excited about the opening of Port Bistro when I learned it is the sister restaurant to Sintra in Braintree. The hospitality and the food were worth the trip, but now I have only to drive to Kingston where Jenkins has taken over the space that housed La Paloma at 14 Main Street near KFC and the Purple Building.

I was first impressed by the wine list, and when I remarked upon it, I was introduced to Melani St. Pierre, who put in great deal of work selecting wines for the restaurant and is proud of the result. Her title is Wine Director; she says sommelier is a masculine term. No matter your wine expertise or lack of same, your experience at Port Bistro will be enhanced if you place wine selection in her hands.

Duck with Orange Glaze - photo by Richmond Talbot

Served with a square of polenta, the long island duckling was tender, juicy, and unctuous without being greasy. The spiced orange glaze was a little sweet for my taste, but not so much as to spoil the total experience. To go with it, Ms St. Pierre recommended Bedell Merlot from North Fork, Long Island, NY.

That‘s certainly a terroir I'm not familiar with, and the wine reached heights to which I didn't think the variety capable. I decided then and there this Wine Director has a great deal to teach. I see the bar at Port Bistro is convivial with winebibbers, and I suspect that the place is becoming a destination for those who appreciate wine.

When visiting Port Bistro on a weeknight, I often choose a half portion of pasta. I like the baked rigatoni served with chorizo sauce, roasted peppers, melted fresh mozzarella and topped with crisp basil-scented crumbs. It’s a treat for $11, and I spend the savings on wine.

On a recent visit I selected a half order of braised beef short rib cannelloni. The meat was removed from the bone and served with a béchamel sauce enhanced with porcini mushrooms, tomato confit, and a demi-glace with truffles. With it I enjoyed a 2012 Castello Di Nieve pino nero. This is a Spanish pinot noir and an outstanding example of the variety, which can sometimes be a little thin. It was graced with velvety tannin that elegantly balanced the sprightliness of the grape.

Baked Haddock - photo by Richmond Talbot

Annette had baked haddock, which was perfectly fresh and moist from vigilant cooking. “This is good fish,” she exclaimed, “This is as good as I would make!” (Having learned the art from her mother, Annette is famous in our family for her baked haddock.)

On that evening she and I split a salad of arugula elegantly dressed with lemon and extra-virgin olive oil and garnished with shavings of parmesan cheese. The greens were fresh with the characteristic hint of bitterness. I get so many bad salads in restaurants, it was a delight to have one so thoughtfully conceived and carefully made.

Creme Brulee - photo by Richmond Talbot

We finished up with crème brulee, and I had a piece of chocolate cake with a rich molten center and a scoop of coffee ice cream. It was more food then we require on a Wednesday night, and next time we hope to manage a little restraint.

Port Bistro is a rising star upon the area’s restaurant scene. I look forward to further exploration of the menu, and just contemplating the wine list makes my future seem bright.