|(WIQAN ANG FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE)|
As fine cuisine and martini culture slowly spreads from the city into the suburbs, restaurants like Fifty Three South serve as missionary outposts staffed by steadfast epicureans steeled against the brutal indifference of strip mall dystopia. On a recent bitter February night our intrepid crew of cocktail adventurers forged into the heretofore uncharted territory of the South Shore, fortified only on drinks like the Spicy Pear martini (Sailor Jerry's spice rum, Mathilde pear liqueur, and organic white grape juice, $10). The warmth of its honey and vanilla spice stiffened our reserve against the cold, and the peach flavor and hint of lemon from an elegantly carved twist, not to mention its translucent golden hue, evoked a welcome taste of summer.
The Bellini Tini (Absolut peach, Hypnotiq, champagne float, $11) with its tropical nose and blend of vodka, cognac, and fresh fruit juices had a similar effect. The contrast of its Caribbean blue and an edible orchid garnish made this one of the more interesting drinks visually. A shame we had to make it disappear. But the Green "tea" ni (Citron vodka, squeezed lemon, Hojicha green tea, and agave nectar, $10) was the hands-down favorite. It's hard to get tea to stand up to alcohol, but it worked here, particularly with the honey of the agave bolstering it.
An easy-to-follow wine list broken up into helpful categories like "juicy fruit," "beefy," "tickle your tongue," and "bubbilicious" would have to wait for another expedition. With half-glasses available, it seems ideal for trying new wines and mixing them with the small plates menu of delicacies like boneless beef short ribs ($8), slow-roasted roma tomato ($5), and maple glazed pork tenderloin bruschetta ($6).
Stacking martini glasses on the bar was made easier by a round of Asian-style chicken and lo mein noodle martinis ($7), and a warm brownie and ice cream martini with caramel, chocolate ganache, and whipped cream ($8) that proved one of our sneaking suspicions: everything, it turns out, does taste better in a martini glass.
Fifty Three South, 42 Washington St., Norwell. 781-792-0001. 53south.com
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