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By Maxwell Tucker
About 5 minutes off of Rte. 2 in Leominster, a good friend and I headed down Rte. 13 in Lunenburg to check out the re-invented Sean Patrick’s, right across from the former location of Whalom Park.
Stepping into the warm, Mediterranean interior, we met with a few surprises. Sean Patrick’s has evolved into a comfortable, edgy eatery with two personalities: The bar area now stands as an intimate, ebony wood tavern complete with coupling booths, a friendly barkeep, and an awesome tapas menu prepared right at the bar ~ and I think I even spied a popcorn machine.
The dining room was in another style altogether. The hostess showed us to our table in the earth-toned seating area and we were welcomed by a gracious waiter whose smooth greeting and wine recommendations got us off to great start. After ordering a glass of house Shiraz and one of Merlot, we took a look at the menu. Vast and varied, it’s a bit of a challenge to summarize, but what a great excuse to sample a host of different dishes!
We decided to start with the apps and, since we can never resist a venture into a new fried calamari territory, we asked the waiter for his honest opinion. He advised that yes, it’s fried first, but then it’s also sautéed in olive oil and garnished with cherry pepper rings (my favorite preparation ~ don’t you just love when the calamari is sitting in a bit of olive oil with a hot pepper?). Well, it didn’t disappoint, a good portion was lightly prepared and gave us a bit of time to spend on trying to get a grasp of the menu.
Before I move onto the rest of the menu, I should note that the calamari is only one of 17 appetizers listed ~ and that’s not counting the long list of salads, which include entrée-sized specialties like the Scallop Fennel Salad and the Asian Salmon Salad.
The entrees, as you’re probably guessed by this point, are numerous and diverse, ranging from seafood (which seems to be a specialty) to an impressive list of pastas, steak, and even pizzas. The nine different pasta choices include Pasta Pescatore and Lobster and Scallops ala Rosa, sautéed with cherry tomatoes and fresh basil and caressed by a cream marinara ~ oh yeah!
The night’s dinner specials (all only $9.50) included Pasta Primavera, Fried Sea Scallops, Fried Clams and London Broil. My guest opted for the Chicken Amore while I went for one of the house’s specialties, the Pork Tenderloin, despite being tempted by an array of seasonal specials like herb roasted turkey and Brunswick stew. The Chicken Amore was a hearty helping of chicken breast with pesto and with asparagus spears sprinkled with Gorgonzola…very nice. My light tournedos of pork were stacked aside a pile of mashed potatoes and an amazing apple ginger chutney ~ all perfect for a winter night in north Central MA.
The menu ~ in both size and execution ~ is terrific and mere words can’t do it justice. The only way to truly experience dishes like “Mom’s Favorite,” pan-fried pork chops topped with lobster, sautéed with plum tomatoes in a cream sauce, and then served over penne (this is on the South Beach Diet, right?) is to try them for yourself. And then you just must linger over a cup of coffee and a slice of something sweet and decadent while you take in the (ladies) the handsome waiters, the great atmosphere, the tasseled custom drapes and the Euro artwork.
Guaranteed you’ll have to get back there to just try more of the menu. I did mention
The wide spectrum of patrons was clearly enjoying the atmosphere, service and food ~ so get yourself up to Lunenburg and check out Sean Patrick’s. I guarantee that you’ll go back again and again to try everything on the menu!