Last weekend I was invited to check out Opus Restaurant in Salem, MA. They have a ton of GF dishes (or dishes that can optionally be modified) that are absolutely delicious!
Opus is part of the Serenitee Restaurant Group, and the chefs at all their restaurants are all committed to creating a wide variety of gluten free options.
Opus is a “new restaurant experience”. The name Opus, according to the website, is short for Magnum Opus, meaning one’s finest work. “Opus is the culmination of everything we have learned in creating great restaurants,” the website reads.
The atmosphere is modern and eccentric. The restaurant looks dark on the outside but is quite bright on the inside. Liquor bottles are perches on a track that hangs above a glowing bar; yes the bar top glows, it’s very cool. The brick walls, also a feature I loved, are lined with artwork.
So now let’s get to the good stuff: the food!
Opus’ menu features a variety of small plates, salads, sushi, and more traditional entrees. The menu labels items that are gluten free ( ) vegetarian ( ) and vegan ( ). I was impressed with the number of gluten free and vegetarian options. My server also informed me that a number of the other dishes can be modified to be gluten free.
We started with the Octopus Fricassee small plate – braised octopus, smoked tomato, poblano peppers, frisee, capers, and crispy potato strings ($13). I was not expecting this to be served warm, but it came out in a small cauldron. I loved the flavors, it was so different from anything I’ve tried before.
Usually when I order octopus it is chilled with olive oil and paprika, or ceviche style. The plate was plenty big to share as an appetizer with two or three people.
So you are probably wondering about those crispy potato strings (I did too). Opus has a separate fryer for gluten free items; AWESOME! Opus also carries Udi’s gluten free bread for burgers and brunch.
We ordered a variety of sushi, made fresh at the sushi bar in the back of the restaurant.
Tuna and Avocado Roll ($10).
Seared Tuna and Salmon ($18) with salmon and cucumber, and topped with ogarashi seared tuna, preserved lemon & yuzu aioli. Delicious combination I’ve never had before, I highly recommend trying this roll.
Spicy Salmon Roll with scallions ($10). The spicy mayo on top was too much, I wish there had been less.
The sushi was fresh and on par with what you would expect to get at a sushi restaurant. The two inside out rolls were big, both in size and the amount. Each roll came with eight pieces, which is better than some places that only give six. But the prices are a bit higher than your average sushi restaurant.
Don’t forget to ask for the gluten free soy sauce!
The chef also threw some Fried Shishito Peppers ($7) for us to try. Shishito peppers are slightly sweet and usually mild. About one in every ten peppers is spicy and of course we got a spicy one!
Gluten Free entrees include Roasted Fortune Bay Salmon ($23), Crispy Tofu Coconut Curry ($18 and the managers favorite), Organic Springer Mountain Chicken ($25), Opus Burger ($15), and Steak Frites ($24).
We ordered the Steak Frites, a flat iron steak marinated in red wine, served with chimichurri sauce, house cut fries, and house salad. The steak was tender and juicy and we loved the fresh chimichurri sauce.
In addition to the food, Opus has a creative cocktail menu.
Fire Walk With Me— House infused jalapeño tequila, pineapple juice & agave ($10). Sweet & innocent on the surface & deep heat waiting below.
State of Grace— Sake, cucumber vodka, and domaine de canton.
More info on The Serenitee Restaurant Group restaurants:
Latitude 43, Minglewood Tavern in Gloucester, Opus in Salem, 15 Walnut in Hamilton, Cala’s in Manchester by the Sea, Maggie’s Farm in Middleton, and Hale St Tavern in Beverly Farms. Additionally, in 2014 they will be opening 525 in Magnolia, The Spot in Georgetown, a location in Winchester, the Ipswich Brew House in Ipswich, and reopening Alchemy in Gloucester.