Under the direction of chef-owner Matthew Trottier, Tek-Nique has earned a reputation for creative cuisine at affordable prices. The menu is peppered with unusual items like a Brussels sprouts salad, lobster and salmon succotash, and seafood lasagna, as well as more traditional dishes such as grilled pizza, frogs’ legs, and ribeye steak.
We started with shrimp and escargots ($9), about a half-dozen snails and as many shrimp in Chartreuse cream with garlic-herb croustades. The snails were tender and tasty, cooked just right, and the same can be said of the shrimp, which still held a bit of crunch. The sauce was delicious, but a little sweet.
We also sampled the juniper berry fried frogs legs ($9), two fat, tender legs that were perfectly cooked and practically fell off the bone. They were served with a watermelon and feta salsa fresca that we found a fresh complement to the rich meat.
The crispy calamari salad ($9) was a disappointment, tough and greasy. We sent it back and it was graciously removed from our bill.
But there were no hard feelings, especially when we dipped into the roasted red pepper soup with Sambuca cream ($8). It was a revelation, a tomato-like soup with a peppery bite and a pool of sweetened cream floating on the surface.
The sprout salad ($10) was magic, a mélange of chopped Brussels sprouts, vanilla goji berries, candied almonds, sunflower seed, and blue cheese. It was light and fresh and perfect for a spring meal.
On to the entrées. We had to go for the free-form seafood lasagna ($21), one of Trottier’s signature creations. The dish consisted of several sheets of homemade pasta layered with scallops, lobster, and shrimp and bathed in a lobster cream, which in truth tasted like a Newburg sauce. It arrived with a bed of micro greens and was tasty but not as spectacular as we thought it might be.
On the other hand, the house-cured duck two ways ($28), another signature dish, was a huge hit and deemed one of the favorites at our table.
The seared breast and confit leg of duck was served with a savory veal jus and was tender, not greasy as duck can be. We also loved the sautéed broccolini and edamame risotto.
Another hit was the salmon and lobster succotash ($24), a great chunk of perfectly cooked salmon and a couple of lobster claws served on a bed of corn, haricots verts, lima beans, and peppers. A gauzy nest of crispy scallions on the top added a little crunch.
Pan-roasted jumbo sea scallops ($26) consisted of a half-dozen large scallops served with ratatouille and beurre blanc. The scallops were perfectly cooked, crisp on the outside, creamy on the inside.
Our choice of pecan-crusted boneless short ribs ($25) with barbecue sauce was a surprise. The tender yet lean short ribs were really good, but the nut crust was laid on a little too thick and there wasn’t quite enough sauce, which lent the dish a strange, dusty consistency.
More sauce would have definitely helped, but there were no complaints about the accompanying Manchego whipped potatoes with roasted vegetables.
For dessert, we shared a rustic spiced apple galette ($7), a flaky apple tart with a hint of ginger dusted with cinnamon and nutmeg. It arrived with a spoonful of cinnamon cream and quickly disappeared.
Tek-Nique has an interesting wine list with more than 50 selections (at $20 to $200 per bottle) that is strong on the reds. It often has dinners for oenophiles, and on Tuesday it will host a meal featuring Austrian wines.
The restaurant is contemporary, with subdued lighting a tad on the dark side. The world music, rock-jazz fusion, and Indian sitar on the sound system was a little confusing but interesting.