October 29, 2021 By Marisa Olsen (courtesy photos)
Situated along the waterfront in the Hingham Shipyard, the elegant and upscale Alma Nove reigns with both traditional and creative Italian and Mediterranean dishes. Named after the matriarch of the Wahlberg family, Alma and her nine (nove) children, the restaurant is run by Executive Chef Paul Wahlberg with co-owners, celebrities Mark and Donnie Wahlberg. We had the pleasure of sitting down with Sous Chef Sean Fitzgerald as he shared some of Alma Nove’s new autumn dishes, which place a focus on seasonal vegetables and locally-sourced produce and epicurean ingredients.
To start, we sampled four cocktails, which are all inventive and pair well with the new menu items:
This cocktail screams fall and is composed of Crop pumpkin vodka, Wild Arbor liqueur, vanilla and brown sugar simple syrup, and topped with a cinnamon sugar rim. This cocktail is served in martini glass and is gluten-free.
Smoke on the Water
This may be our new favorite cocktail, or even party trick. Created by Donnie, who prides himself as being a bit of a rogue mixologist, this dynamic cocktail features Knob Creek smoked maple whiskey, Antica formula sweet vermouth, and a dash of maple angostura simple. Once the drink is poured into a martini glass, the bartender places a small bit of edible bubble serum in a cup, and then uses a special bubble gun, dipping the bubble gun into the solution, which is then aimed over the drink. When the trigger is pushed, it forms a large bubble over the surface of the drink. When ready, you can pop the bubble with a utensil or finger, and a coffee-flavored smoke disperses throughout. (We made a note to ourselves to ask for a fancy cocktail bubble gun for the holidays…)
Smokey the Pear
This cocktail is delicious, cheeky and cute. It arrives in a glass bear, and features Grey Goose vodka, Bozal mezcal (which adds the smokiness), and is finished with the elderflower liqueur, St. Germain, and a splash of lemonade.
Clear Pear Cosmopolitan
For those who prefer a simple and flavorful cocktail, the Clear Pear is made of pear flavored Grey Goose vodka, St Germain, orange liqueur, and finished with a splash of white cranberry juice.
Once a cocktail is savored, it’s time to indulge. Here are some not-to-be-missed autumnal dishes:
Roasted Beets Salad
This visually stunning salad is composed of roasted and candy striped beets, blood orange segments, Belgian endive, toasted hazelnuts, and sultanas, which are Turkish white grapes that are dried out and then re-hydrated with water to create a sweet plump gem. The dish is plated with a gorgonzola dolce crema, and the dressing is made of blood orange juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, and salt and pepper. The gorgonzola crema does contain a flour-based roux, and a gluten-free option can be made easily with simply adding fresh, crumbled gorgonzola cheese. We loved the texture of the sweet beets and sultanas paired with the smokey roasted hazelnuts, and finished with the acidity of the tangy blood orange.
Italian Beef and Pork Meatballs
These meatballs are made of fresh ricotta, bread soaked in milk, garlic, onion, basil, parsley, and served over a simple marinara with chili flakes and tomato paste. The dish sits upon a whipped burrata. Chef Sean shared that the restaurant sources some of the cheese from Mozzarella House in Peabody. A side of crostini made out of a sesame ficelle from Iggy’s Bread in Cambridge, which adds a nice savory crunch. The dish is finished with local basil from a microgreen farm in Norwell called Harvest of Joy Microgreens.
This dish is quite unique. The inspiration was Spanish octopus with pastrami flavors. Octopus is brined and then cooked in a sous vide bath for 5-6 hours, until very tender. It is then seared on a wooden grill and seasoned with brown sugar, salt, coriander, juniper, and pink and black peppercorns, which bring out some floral notes. The octopus is served on top of a whole grain mustard aioli and red cabbage puree, and finished with caraway crisps, pickled mustard seeds, and fingerling potatoes. If you love octopus, then this dish will be quite special and memorable. We loved the tender large octopus, roasted fingerlings, crunchy rye crisps, and the tang from the mustard and red cabbage puree.
Parts of this dish are traditional and other parts of this famous pasta dish include a fun twist. Instead of using basil, Chef uses broccoli rabe as the base. The rabe is blanched and then pureed with olive oil, pistachios, tarragon, basil, Romano cheese, and lemon juice, which softens the often bitter green. Slivered garlic is softly cooked in olive oil and Bianco & Sons Italian sausage is sauteed with fennel seed, and deglazed with wine and chicken stock. The dish is finished with toasted pistachios. We love the flavor and hint of the broccoli rabe that is rounded out with the savory sausage, and some crunchy pistachios.
This special dish is sort of like autumn on a plate. Wood grilled shrimp is nestled on plump pumpkin raviolis, and a carpaccio of cremini mushrooms that are dressed with oil, and brown buttered oyster mushrooms. Candied walnuts that have been roasted with cumin, coriander, cayenne and tossed with brown butter and sugar are roasted to become a caramelized delight. The dish is topped with apple brown butter, a touch of heavy cream, cider vinegar, and salt. This dish is sweet and full of autumnal warming spices.
Classic Banh Mi
This Vietnamese and French-influenced dish is a fun sandwich to try for lunch. A large flakey baguette is filled with pork liver pate, sliced crispy roasted chicken breast, spicy Tasso ham, and topped with jalapenos, cilantro, pickled carrots and daikon, kewpie mayo, and cucumbers. A side of fries is served alongside this tangy and rich sandwich.
If you’re craving more seafood, this pan-seared Faroe Island salmon is placed upon a vegetable ragout composed of acorn and honey nut squash. Crumbled sausage adds a bit of texture, and arugula and slivered pears cut through the richness.
With a large bar, high tops, and tables, Alma Nove is the perfect spot for a date night or special occasion. Fire pits and outdoor seating is available on the waterfront as well. With a seasonal, well-crafted, and thoughtful menu, Alma Nove is a gem in Hingham’s gastronomical crown.
Thanks for having us, Alma Nove - everything was delicious and we will absolutely be back this fall for more of this spectacular seasonal menu!
22 Shipyard Drive
Hingham, MA 02043