Boston Globe: Dining Out: SKY
There’s a bright new spot along the otherwise dreary stretch of strip malls, car dealerships and fast food joints that is Route 1. SKY restaurant should be a must on your dining list. Enter the restaurant, and leave the Route 1 world far behind. The 175-seat dining room is cavernous, but doesn’t feel so because of warm red walls, the sound of granite-tiled waterfall (9 feet high, in the back of the room) and plush leather banquettes and booths.
Clearly, a designer’s hand was at work here, in the large mirror and pretty wire sculptures, lamps and chandeliers. The place has an upscale yet casual feel.
Like the dining room, the menu blends traditional and contemporary elements. We started with the exploding shrimp ($9.95), Large gulf shrimp rolled in narrow strips of phyllo and deep fried. It “explodes” not in your mouth, but in the pan, when it hits the hot oil. Served with a sweet and sour sauce, this was a delicious dish, crispy on the outside, chewy inside. The lobster bisque ($6.50) contained lots of nice hunks of lobster, but was a tad bit salty for us.
In our never-ending search for creative pizzas, we ordered a Hawaiian teriyaki pizza and a barbecue chicken pizza (both $10.95) and shared them as appetizers. They were excellent: thin crusts loaded with their respective toppings (fresh pineapple, teriyaki chicken, sweet and sour sauce, wonton strips and cheeses for the Hawaiian, and sweet barbecue sauce, grilled chicken, roasted corn, grilled onions and mozzarella for the barbecue).
The menu includes several salads, pastas, and sandwiches and house specialties (the lunch menu is nearly identical, though less expensive). The baked stuffed shrimp ($18.95) were filled with a mixture of spinach, goat cheese, herb crumbs and lobster and were topped with a lemon buerre blanc sauce. There was a side of brown rice and a medley of summer vegetables (including zucchini, cauliflower and broccoli).
It was obvious that chef Michael Landry takes a known dish and puts his own spin on it: large, tender scallops ($17.95) were pan-seared in a cognac butter sauce and served with a creamy gorgonzola risotto cake, accompanied by spinach and chard. I especially liked the baby back pork ribs ($16.95), a long, meaty rack, tender to the bone. The dish uses both a spicy rub for grilling and a sweet sauce for drizzling. A thick, sweet slab of cornbread, homemade coleslaw and baked beans made for a tasty, down-home summer meal.
Since risotto ranked high at our tables, we ordered the lemon garlic chicken ($14.95) mostly to sample the wild mushroom risotto. It was rich and creamy and studded with mushrooms, and the chicken was tender, served with grilled asparagus.
SKY has a pastry chef, and it shows in the quality of the offerings ($5.95 each). Crème brules, so overworked in most restaurants, appears here in three flavors: vanilla bean, chocolate and banana, each as tasty as the last. It’s served with homemade oatmeal cookies and garnished with grapes. Try the lemon white chocolate mousse, an ethereal concoction swirled with raspberry coulis and topped with whipped cream, with butter cookies on the side. I’m going back for the chocolate pecan caramel tart and the homemade ice cream sandwich (eat your heart out).
There’s a spacious bar at the front of the house, the only place where smoking is allowed. On a recent night, both the air conditioning and the fireplace were going at full speed. There are many tables in the bar area for those who want to dine. The mahogany wainscoting and stainless steel lighting are again a mix of the old and the new. It’s a sports lover’s bar, with numerous TV’s, and eight beers on tap. SKY also has a large function room and a private dining room that seats 30.
Starting Sept. 8, a Sunday jazz brunch will be added to the repertoire. Clearly, the folks here know what they’re doing from owner Steve Corcoran – who has another SKY in Sudbury – to the efficient and helpful wait staff to the creative chefs. It’s as if the restaurant, which just opened in July, has been there a long time.
– Bella English