Several friends and I got together last night in Dedham for dinner at Isabella's. It was a central location for the Providence/Woburn/Winchester locations of the 3 of us.
Decent crowd for a Tuesday night, but not too noisy, which was good because the 3 of us wanted to chat and I certainly didn't want to have to shout to be heard.
We shared a bottle of Sonoma Cutrer Chardonnay, a decent white. Two of us got the roasted pear, walnut, gorgonzola & mixed green salad with pistachio vinaigrette (although my friend asked for balsamic vinaigrette). Not bad; the pear seemed more poached than roasted.
For entrees, one of us got the special - a center-cut piece of grilled swordfish set on top of garlic-mashed potatoes drizzled with a soy-wasabi oil of some sort. They had done the swordfish perfectly - not overdone and dry but wonderful moist and grilled to perfection -a very good choice. Oh yes, she also had a side of sauteed bok choy, I believe.
Another got a seafood risotto - monkfish, lobster and shrimp risotto with prosciutto, snap peas, artichoke hearts, roast peppers and saffron cream. While it looked and tasted wonderful (at least the little smidge I tried) with large pieces of shrimp and fish, I think we all were a bit disappointed that it wasn't a creamy, "saucy" risotto, like we were all expecting after hearing the description. (Kenny, our waiter, tried to explain dishes prior to our ordering them, but unfortunately didn't do a very good job...but he was a nice kid and was careful he didn't bug us when he saw us gabbing away....which was pretty often.)
I got sliced medium-rare duck breast served over a green lentil & chanterelle mushroom ragout. The duck was done perfectly...the ragu was a bit much, IMO. I'm not big on lentils (although I love chanterelles), so it wasn't the perfect side dish for me.
Dessert - well, we shared a creme brulee and a piece of chocolate orbit cake. The brulee was good - at least the custard part was excellent. They had warmed it nicely, so it wasn't a cold custard, which I dislike in a creme brulee.
But the amount of sugar on top that had caramelized was a bit much. It was at least 1/4" thick. I tried to "crack" the crust with my spoon - no good. Finally had to pry the brittle off the top and break off pieces to go with the creme brulee custard...we informed Kenny at the end of the dessert, and he let the chef know. Don't know if this is the way they always make them, but it's unlike any creme brulee I've ever had where you can't break through the thin, broiled sugary crust.
The chocolate orbit cake was very good - not too dense, but not a light moussy fluffy cake either. For chocoholics, I think it was just right. :-)
So while it was a decent place, it wasn't a top-notch place. I would try it again, should I be in the area.