Four of us finally had the pleasure of sampling this favorite of many CHs.
After having our table changed from one from near the obnoxiously loud kitchen entry/bussing area, we sat for a relaxed multicourse repast in the handsome, comfortable, and very busy room at 6:30 this Saturday in February. After being ignored for the first 5 minutes, the service finally kicked in and was commendable , mostly, for the rest of the evening.It was particularly enjoyable that the room was NOT hugely loud , so conversation was not a challenge.
To begin with, the breads…… They have been frequntly commended on CH and this is as it should be. A large variety of on-site-produced breads, all moist and flavorful. FINALLY, a bread baker who understands the importance of salt content in bread. Favorites were the fig anise, multigrain and seeded rye. The eggplant chevre spread was sublime, in a light pool of unusually excellent olive oil,and studded with chopped walnuts.
Appetizer highlights were the Goat confit and chevre tart, the Truffled mushroom soup, the Chopped romaine salad with cashews, beets, grapes and curry dressing. In a typical restaurant world of same-old-yawn-yawn salads, this was unusual , truly distinct and a real winner. Portion was too small in my opinion, but the flavors and textures made it one of the best salads I have ever had.
The entrees were all excellent though I wish the chef had done more with sauces-
Lamb rack with roasted jerusalem artichokes (what a great glorious vegetable, and native to Massachusetts!); Braised Beef Short Ribs with celeriac/potato puree; Salmon on a bed of black couscous with roasted fennel, and a special of the sweet Red Snapper-like Dorrade (almost never seen here in the U.S.)
A side of sauteed spinach w/ parmesan was unctuous and perfect. The frites are very simply the best I have ever had (except for one unbelievable serving of them at Aquitaine.) Crisp and amazingly light, dusted w/ sea salt and rosemary, and accompanied, upon my request, by a simple perfect aioli. My doggybag of them will make for a great breakfast tomorrow.
Ice creams, sorbets, and Steamed Gingerbread, accompanied by lovely Banyuls, capped off a very memorable evening. Timing on the courses was spot-on; no great lag between app and entrée or entrée and dessert. Service was smooth, efficient, helpful, friendly w/o being cloying. The sommelier was MOST helpful and we loved the french red to which he steered us.
They have an unusual pricing structure- all the apps are $11 and all the entrees are $26 (though a few do have a supplementary charge, as with the lamb rack.)Desserts are $9.
The red wine list is quite large and has many unusual offerings, mostly French.
Except for the ridiculous and annoying lack of street parking (the garage was $28 so we opted for valet- $16.) , the evening’s experience was most accomodating, smooth and delightful. We look forward to returning to this cozy gem. And thanks to all the CHs who have touted it and , in so doing, streered us there.
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