After many decades of dedicating much of my time to pumping out sexy blog posts here I decided to take the summer off for once. I hope you all can forgive me and note that I am back, fully
refreshed, with tons of stuff to cover from this summer and I am phatter than ever! You all may recall that last summer I headed out to Boston and Ukie Hexed the living daylights out of the loathesome Bruins. You also may recall that the team is now in shambles thanks pretty much to me and me alone. You’re welcome NHL fans. My good and great cousin the Ex-Pat, despite moving down to Boston years ago, has remained loyal to the one and true hockey team up here in Montreal. He thought it would be a good idea for me to head down again this summer to bask in all our hexing glory, and bask we did!
My aunt, uncle and cousin gave me free reign to find a place to eat and after a few minutes of research it was pretty clear to me that T.W. Food was a spot that I needed to check out. Casual and low key? Yep. Hidden neighborhood gem? Yep. Sexy looking food? Yep. Ratings through the roof on every single Boston food site I checked? Yep. So I book us a table there for late Sunday night and off we go. We decide to head in a bit early and find a place to have a cocktail cause that’s how we roll in this family. When people say this is a hidden gem they are not kidding. There is pretty much this restaurant and then houses for blocks. We ended up popping our heads into the restaurant and asking if they knew of a spot where we could grab a drink. The host kind of cringed and mentioned there may be an Irish pub down the street but it would be better to head to Harvard Square. We passed by the Irish place and yikes, that place looked pretty sketchy. So finally, after all these years, I was going to Harvard to do some damage. Hopefully the drinks are cheaper than the tuition. Take that burn, Ivy League!
Alright now that we’ve taken the edge off it’s time to cram some food down my face. I immediately like the vibe of this place when we walk in. To call it small would make it sound cramped but it wasn’t so let’s go with cozy and intimate, like me. It seats about 30 people and has an open kitchen at the back, like me. It’s got simple decor, an exposed brick wall running the length of it that adds a nice homey warmth, and great laid back, mellow jazz playing. We got seated right near the kitchen so that was an extra bonus point right off the bat. The menu is very much farm to table and from what I’ve read it changes regularly as different ingredients are available throughout the seasons. Works for me since summer is one of my 4 favorite seasons to pig out at a restaurant. We’re looking at a 3 course prix fixe menu for 55$. Pardon my French but if this food turns out to be good that is a remarkably reasonable price.
Three of us started off with the Thai coconut curry mussels and my uncle went with an always amazing panzanella salad. So you know, sexy bread, some tuna, heirloom tomatoes all brought together nicely with preserved lemon and a nice salty, dry sheep’s milk feta. I tend to get that salad whenever I see it but I love fresh mussels and my garden also spewed out about a ton of tomatoes this summer so I’m a bit tomatoed out at the moment. Owners and husband and wife team, Tim and Bronwyn Wiechmann, have built a nice balance between comfort and elegance here. The dishes are beautifully constructed with fantastic flavour profiles, the service is friendly and allows for a nice, mellow evening to roll along at its own pace. There is no shi shi pu pu la di da stuffiness here and that suits me just fine. I am no slouch in the mussel department and I’ve actually made a dish remarkably similar to this one. As when I made it I did my best to subtly (ok at home I just drank out of the bowl) lap up the delicious broth once I got the mussels out of the way. We’re off to a promising start.
THE mains are coming! The MAINS are coming! The mains ARE coming! This is the part of the night where things get serious. My aunt went with duck leg confit cause she’s wisdomy like that. My uncle and cousin both ordered a drool inducing bluefish dish that looked delish. Did I get it? I wish! I’ll give you a second to recover from that sick rhyme drop…..those dishes all looked, smelled and seemed to taste great (when I asked my uncle if he liked it he replied “Don’t talk to me now!”) but my heart belonged to a succulently seared hunk of bavette steak with a charred eggplant puree, pickled eggplant, smashed potatoes with a sauce Robert. For those not proficient in French a sauce Robert is French for Robert’s sauce. I always love me a good steak but as I may have said before I’ve become bored of the standard steakhouse to a degree. There’s only so much I’m willing to pay for a steak I can just as easily grill to my liking at home. But when you pair it with a sauce this tasty and something like pickled eggplants, which I never would have thought to pair it with, things get interesting. Throw on some of that charred eggplant puree to give the whole plate a rich smokiness and, well, now we’re talking. Actually, no, none of us are talking. We are all stuffing food into our faces quite happily. The portions here are perfect. I am not having sweaty meat visions or anything but I’m quite full. Alright, I think there’s a tiny spot left for dessert.
My uncle and cousin went all civilized on me and got cheese plates rather than dessert. They were brought a nice, sharp Spanish cheese, a creamy Vermont blue and anothe zingy Vermont offering. I’ll give them credit; the hippies in Vermont know their cheese, and beer, and ice cream, and ok fine I like Vermonters a lot. My aunt is hooked on panna cotta so she got the corn, saffron and peach version with basil syrup here and, aside from being just mad about the saffron, she seemed totes happy with the dessert. As soon as I saw budino on the menu I knew it would be mine. Valhrona dark chocolate custard with candied almond, sea salt and olive oil. Oh yes, it would be mine. So simple and so sexy, like me.
TW Food is clearly a very personal labor of love and it succeeds and making the customer feel like a part that. Maybe it’s the several beers I downed watching baseball this afternoon along with the pre-dinner drinks, and the bottle of wine at dinner talking but dinners like this make me thankful to discover new places and flavors and thankful to spend a night with family that I don’t get to see enough. Most of all it makes me thankful that not all four of us got the cheese platter just before the 45 minute drive home.