As we walked into Cafe Beautiful, my son and I were immediately captivated by the serene tableau that lay before us. Two tables were carefully set, scented candles filled the air, the lighting was low, and Frank Sinatra crooned in the background. The living room of the chef/owner’s apartment, on the second floor of a non-descript building on Massachusetts Ave in Lawrence, was the unlikely setting for a memorable and relaxing evening.
Chef Ken Suken is a delight. He is committed to ensuring his guests are happy–he’s the host of a very intimate party and we were the only guests. One table at a time allows him to focus all of his attention on cooking, serving…and washing dishes. And, while the other table in the room was booked with a later reservation, Chef Suken assured us that we should feel free to linger as our table was reserved for us the entire evening.
We settled in with the wine we had brought, leaned back in our comfortable chairs, and prepared to be dazzled. Which we were, right from the get-go. From the first course to the eighth and last, the production was unlike anything either of us had ever experienced. This is one talented man.
Each course was well-timed and came with a complete and poetic description of what was on the plate. I expected the food to be good, but I was unprepared for the depth and texture of flavors, and picture-perfect presentation. Though I took a picture of all the courses, they simply did not adequately depict the care and pride that Chef Suken showered us with throughout the evening.
The pictures below have captions that describe each dish. (For some reason, I am missing the 5th course, which was king salmon with an asian pear reduction sauce, paired with king crab salad and mustard sauce.) We finished with a sweet pomegranate tea.
This is an ideal place to go with a close friend or family member with whom you enjoy spending time. There are no distractions–it’s just you and your companion(s) for more than two hours, so pick wisely! You will leave happy, relaxed and satisfied.
Be sure to call ahead. Since Cafe Beautiful only seats eight, it’s reservations only, no walk-ins.