With summer hitting its stride over the past few weeks (though I’ll take 75 and sunny any day), the more nimble restaurant are coming around. Fresh, green and veggie-centered is the way to go right now. Here are a few restaurants changing with the weather:
Wine Cellar and Bistro – The chicken and pancetta ravioli and pommes frites are as pleasing as ever but Chef Craig Cyr has debuted a number of items that showcase the bright flavors of the season in his typically creative ways. A pitch-perfect example recently was a delicately pan-seared piece of halibut served with a lemon balm tartar sauce. A side of grilled, then wine-braised celery was far more interesting than it sounds, and roasted potatoes offered a crunchy, salty contrast. A small plate of beef cheek with spicy kimchi could’ve used a little actual kick but was otherwise delicious. The cornmeal-crusted potato and kale cakes are something we’re going to have to recreate at home. I have heard great things as well about the walnut and sage-crusted duck with grilled red onion and swiss chard. The Wine Cellar isn’t the cheapest spot in town, that’s true. So if budget’s an issue, go for lunch or happy hour. Same food, smaller bill.
Broadway Brewery – The ever-changing, up-and-down brewery/restaurant appears to be in an “up” phase at the moment, at least based on our visit one night last week. Crawfish-stuffed pattypan squash was playful, tender and a breath of fresh air in general (more interesting foods, please!). One gripe is that several of the small plates come served on a bed of arugula. Now I love arugula like a fat kid loves cake, but encountering it on plate after plate is wearying. Maize griddle cakes deliver a peppery punch and are topped with a fried egg and syrup. It’s the kind of sweet and savory pairing that drives some people crazy, but I dug it. Cream of artichoke soup was rich, and thick with fresh artichoke hearts and tender leaves. Mrs. SMEs ordered the salmon, that night’s special, and was only able to finish half of the plate-sized entree, which was served with avocados and pine nuts (one note: if you prefer your salmon on the more done side, order it that way…hers bordered on send-it-back-for-another-minute-under-the-broiler territory). A small plate of meatballs set into a halved, carved-out and roasted zucchini and served with a bbq-esque sauce was a playful and summery take on an otherwise wintery dish. The APA and Wee Heavy beers were tasty in their own right and properly-carbonated (always a crapshoot at BB for some reason).
Trey Bistro – I haven’t stopped by Trey Bistro in a while, but have no good excuse. The menu constantly changes and Trey’s an inventive chef – his food is always fun. And look, a snazzy website (with the phone number RIGHT THERE…and HOURS…and the MENU. Take heed, sucky resto websites of the CoMo, take heed.). I’m overdue for a visit – my guess is you are as well.
I’m sure to have missed a few notable menu change-ups. Care to enlighten?