Decided to check out this place this past Saturday night. It sounded like just the sort of place I love: casual, unpretentious, with a sort of comfort-food meets the classics vibe.
I am happy to say it delivered --wow. A really great place. First off, the space is beautiful. It was gutted and completely renovated and it just exudes a really warm, welcoming feeling. The staff seem genuinely excited and happy to be there. Chris Douglass was ever-present, walking around, chatting with patrons, busing tables, doing whatever he needed to to keep things running on track. And they did.
Instead of just getting a couple of entrees, we decided to order lots of smaller courses (all the more to sample, and enjoy). We ordered:
-Grilled chicken wings (lime and cilantro)
-1/2 order baby back ribs
-side order of mac and cheese.
Everything was GREAT. I am a huge fan of grilled calamari, and when it's fresh and done well, even better. It was. The 1/2 order of ribs were flavorful and falling off the bone, done in sort of a dry rub (so not wet), but served with a side of BBQ sauce on the waitresses recommendation.
Chicken wings, very good, not earth shattering but just a nice order.
Side of mac and cheese--served in a small ramekin, obviously baked in the oven with just the right amount of cheese. Good stuff.
We sat at the bar (there are some long, sort of communal tables set up in the bar area) because when we arrived at close to 7, the place was already jamming and there was a 45 min wait for a table. This was just fine, in fact these tables are just as much "a table" as the ones in the dining area, as far as I'm concerned.
Our waitress was friendly, very knowledgable. Gave me recs when I asked, told me some of her favorites. I think she was part of the management team, and it showed.
There was so much about this place that I liked, but I think what struck me most of all was the vibe. Lots of energy from the staff (and the patrons) but it was just so easy to relax here. It's exactly the sort of place I was hoping for --a local neighborhood spot you can go to grab consistently good food in a really simple, casual environment.
As a South-Ender, I wish we had a place like this in my 'hood. But making the trek to Dorchester (which really would not have been a trek at all if we hadn't gotten lost) is really no big deal. And definitely worth the trip.
It's apparent this place is a hit, and after being open just a couple of weeks they have apparently been slammed every night. As a result, they cut down on their original hours (which I believe were everyday, from early am to late pm, serving breakfast,lunch and dinner) Smart move while they transition into this new groove and make sure to work out the kinks before they go 100% full force. Everything about this place is smart. Overall just a great little gem. I'm not sure I've gushed about a restaurant like this in a long time. And that's really refreshing.