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Review: A hobbit hole offers up a magic meal in Lynn

Eggplant Rollatine

Eggplant Rollatine. Photo by Sasha Patkin.

With Kelley McLaughlin.

Antique Table Lynn
2 Essex St.

If you have ever read or watched a fantasy adventure, you are no stranger to the wonderful world of magical dining spaces. Whether it was a dark tavern or a school great hall lit up with millions of candles, you wanted more than anything to eat there. Or at least, we wanted to!

Enter Antique Table Lynn, which offers from-scratch Italian cuisine and an atmosphere worthy of any reader’s imagination. The menu features pan-Italian dishes and innovative daily specials. (Example: Pork Belly and Watermelon.)

We arrived there on a cool rainy day, when hearty fare felt particularly necessary. We ordered Ricotta Gnocchi ($24.95) and Eggplant Rollatine ($15.95). A friend who joined us ordered the Chicken, Ziti & Broccoli ($24.95).

While we waited, the staff brought fresh and fluffy garlic focaccia and herbed oil for dipping. We enjoyed the tasty nibbles while taking in the atmosphere: quiet music and merry conversation, low light (but not dark), a myriad of framed portraits on the wall in a range of styles, stained glass stickers on the windows, old clocks, exposed wooden beams, elaborate chandeliers, and (best of all) indoor trees, wrapped with twinkling fairy lights. It may sound like a hodge podge but it all comes together to form a coherent and cozy space that would make a creditable hobbit hole.

These meal here are made from scratch, which can translates to a longer cook time. Our food came out in about 15 minutes, but we were there after the lunch rush. If you do choose to dine at Antique Table Lynn), remember to factor in a little extra time for the magic to happen.

The Ricotta Gnocchi:

Riotta gnocchi

The Ricotta Gnocchi comes in the sauce of your choice (alfredo sauce with mushrooms, or marinara with mozzarella). We ordered it baked with marinara and fresh mozzarella. Every once in a while, someone makes you a dish that causes you to rethink your entire understanding of a certain food, as well as how you feel about it; this was one of those dishes. Store-bought gnocchi is dense and gluey. - quite often, solidly meh. Antique Table’s gnocchi was a pillowy and creamy revelation. The marina was both sweet and tangy, in a very natural way, and the mozzarella on top added just the right amount of substance. Bites of fresh garlic added crunch, but did not overwhelm.

The Eggplant Rollatine, while technically an appetizer, would have made a great meal as well. The rolled up slices of eggplant were filled with a decadent mix of ricotta, provolone, and basil, and baked tender in the same tangy sweet marinara sauce as the gnocchi. It came with a slice of crusty bread, for dipping or smearing. (If you have leftover focaccia, it also makes a great vessel for this dish!) This hearty food felt just right for a rainy day.

Chicken, ziti and broccoli:

Chicken, ziti and broccoli

And finally, the Chicken, Ziti and Broccoli, which our friend ordered with alfredo sauce. This was beautiful fresh pasta, lightly coated in sauce (not swimming!) with bite-sized chunks of moist chicken and vibrant green broccoli spears. The star of this dish was the pasta, which was firm but pliant, giving a great chew. The alfredo itself was light, buttery and cheesy but not overwhelming. While both the gnocchi and the eggplant dishes we ordered were just the right amount of food for one meal each, this ziti came in a substantive portion best suited to sharing.

And while we didn’t have any desserts, one of us vouches for those as well. (If you miraculously have room, go for the bread pudding.)

Antique Table Lynn sets a magical scene. The food is homey but not heavy, the decorations homely but aesthetic. When you open that front door, you are entering a fantastical world for all of your senses.

The inside of Antique Table Lynn:

Restaurant interior

Review from the Independent Review Crew.

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Magoo luvs luvs luvs po-ta-toes. Boil ‘em, mash ‘em, stick ‘em in a stew. Magoo.

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A fantastical review.

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The location in Salem was overpriced, the food was just okay (and the website is confused...it thinks there's Argentinean steaks but there isn't) and the drinks were horrible.

But they didn't need a reservation on a Saturday night when the weather was nice outside...so there's that.

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My marina is more wet and briny than sweet and tangy.

Lynn is the place of my berth.

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The Chart House on Long Wharf comes to mind. What are they trying to hide?

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The Yellow Deli in Plymouth has a very similar feel. The employees hand crafted the building and it has that archaic feel. Plus they're open 24 hours. I recommend the lentil soup, very tasty.

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Just watch out you don't get sucked into a cult


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