For folks who live in Belmont or Watertown, I just wanted to put in another little plug for Kitchen on Common (http://www.kitchenoncommon.com/). Disclaimer: I went to high school with the chef/owner. Really, though, we didn't ever really hang out.
I wonder whether the Boston Globe review last year might have generated too much of a good thing for a while, but things seemed to have settled down by the time we went last night. For those who don't know, Kitchen on Common is a small, modest restaurant in what appears to have been a former store or sandwich shop. The emphasis is on seasonal, fresh, local ingredients. There is no liquor license, so customers can bring wines or even purchase them nearby at the Spirited Gourmet. The chef's adorable mother anchors the front of house, and the restaurant appears to have added another waitress and another cook since the last time we were there in December.
We were provided with a bottle opener and stemless glasses for the Portuguese rose that I purchased two doors down. Bread seemed to come from Iggy's (several slices each of a sourdough and a whole wheat, if I recall correctly...it seems like you can almost never go wrong with Iggy's!). I had a special smoked salmon appetizer with toast points and a bit of arugula salad with vinaigrette dressing, and my wife had the roasted beet salad with Vermont goat cheese and candied pecans, which also came with a little arugula. Despite my wife's usual aversion to horseradish, she managed to eat 90% of it (my mother had the remaining 10%). My wife and my mother both had the curry-roasted pollock (and the kitchen accomodated my mother's request for half as much curry as usual) with roasted parsnips and DuPuy lentils. I had the grilled lamb steak, which was well-seasoned and nicely cooked to medium-rare as per my request and sliced, served with parslied butter, sliced Yukon Gold potatoes, and garlic-creamed spinach.
Honestly, I think this place is a great value. They serve local fresh ingredients according to the season, prepared relatively simply but with good flavor, served in portions that are healthy and not excessive (and believe me, I can eat a lot...as much as five plates of Indian buffet or even 27 pieces of nigiri and 60 maki at a Japanese all-you-can-eat-sushi once upon a time), priced affordably and extremely reasonably--and you can bring your own wine! If I lived a little closer, I think we would eat here quite often. I really wish there were a place like this in Central Square. Don't get me wrong--we have some good places nearby, but they seem to end up costing 50-150% more at the end of the night.
Anyway, thanks for reading.