All the ingredients for a great restaurant at Short & Main right here in Gloucester

For the past few weeks, Vickie and I have been even more insanely busy than normal, which is pretty insane to begin with.  On Tuesday night when, at the last minute, our son went off to the movies with friends, we had a chance to dine alone — so we went where people have been urging us to go for nearly a year: Short & Main. What a perfect treat!

This place is an adventure.  Now, before you quiver with fear and say, “Ohhh, I don’t like adventure when I go out to eat — I just want comfort food,” check this out.  It IS comfort food.  Oysters, Pizza, Meatballs, Smoked Cod, Salads, Breads, Crème Brûlée, Ice Cream, Unique Cocktails, Excellent Wine & Beer.  It’s what they do with some of the foods you eat all the time that is so adventurous.  I’ll give you just one example: Pizza made with mozzarella, red onion, arugula, prosciutto and Parmesan.  But this is no ordinary pizza.

Anna (L) and Nora from Short & Main

Anna (L) and Nora from Short & Main

I asked Nora, who was nice enough to answer lots of questions, how hot the oven was and she said about 950.  This is NOT something you try at home.  Now, the arugula and prosciutto aren’t cooked, just warm, so you get a taste, texture and temperature sensation like nothing else you’ve ever experienced before.  And that’s just one dish.  EVERY dish is this much fun.

Plus they take sourcing their ingredients very seriously.  They get a pig every week — and they use the whole thing.  Ask about that next time you’re there.

But good food alone does not a great restaurant make.  For that you need what most of us refer to as “atmosphere”.  In my view, atmosphere is comprised of 10% decor and 90% personality.  Short & Main exudes the personality of people, who are 100% in love with food and have invited you into their warm, cozy, friendly and (most importantly) fun establishment.

Here’s an example: After Oysters, Pork Rillettes, Greens w/ Smoked Cod and a some excellent wines, our son calls just as our individual pizzas are ready.  We had over-estimated the running time of the film (that’s what we get for not checking).  So we ask our server, Anna, if we can get them to go.  Then we have an idea.  Get the kid and bring him back.  So, Vickie leaves and when Anna comes back with the pizzas, beautifully boxed, I ask if we can change our plans and add our son, who would like the meatballs.  “No problem,” she replies enthusiastically and moves me to a larger table.  Then she suggests I speak with Nora, who can answer some of my more specific questions about sourcing, etc., while I wait.  When Vickie and John return, we’re treated like long-lost friends weary from an arduous journey, which matches exactly how we feel (almost spooky isn’t it).

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