Allston is filled with bars and pubs there for the college crowds, serving up suds in neglected environs that cater to quantity not quality. Yet there, tucked behind one of the busiest, loudest areas is a quiet hideaway called The Glenville Stops. This place is different.
Under the dexterous hands of owner Michael Chapman, son Fred and Chef Juan Pedrosa, formerly of Trade (and Future Chefs) the spot was gutted, then entirely built out in painstaking, loving detail by the trio as they labored over arduous months. The result is an oasis of a modern gastropub nestled into a residential side street.
Pedrosa's hand is also in every dish, taking a solid foundation of comfort food and then adding layers of international flavor that run the gamut: Asian, Mediterranean and Latin. The diner starts with fresh bread and the delightful Eggplant Puree laced with the slightest hint of sweetness from raisins. This is not a pub crawl.
Yet, it is a haven for true wine and beer aficionados. An impressive selection of wines by-the-glass and bottled (Greg Norman Cab-Merlot 2010, Yering Station Pinot Noir, and even Ports and Sherries) is to be found. Beer-lovers, we opted for the German drafts. This Weihenstephaner Hefeweiss, a German wheat beer with a hint of banana-clove, was a welcome summer refresher. As was the Vitus. There's a draft for everyone and bottled Abbey, Lager and Porter, too.
Mushroom Baguette: Seared Oyster Mushrooms, Lemon Aioli and Micro Basil. Rich, textured flavor.
Mexican Street Corn: Aioli, Poblano Pepper and Queso. A great way to start with the stronger tastes played off against the subtle corn, grilled to perfection.
Quick-Seared Shrimp With Sofrito and Chorizo Aioli. Again, the flavor influences dress what would normally be a very good shrimp plate up into an unexpected finish.
The Lamb Meatballs With Tzatziki And Harissa Oil. Smooth, dense bites of flavorful meat contrast the cooling sauce for a classic, unbeatable combination.
Roasted Beet Salad. With Pedrosa's choice of a whipped feta (as opposed to the more traditional pats of goat cheese), a light Dill Dressing and the tiniest bits of fried potato, the dish is transformed into a different, superior version. This was a standout and, as readers know, I am a huge fan of Beet Salads. I have enjoyed hundreds of these in restaurants all over the world always subconsciously knowing that something was missing in the texture until that first crunch hit my mouth. Why hasn't anyone thought of this before? As Pedrosa explains, the dish was first served with shoestring potatoes but it just wasn't right. As the dish evolved the potato bits became smaller and smaller until it was just a crunchy topping. And perfect.
It is the same with this Roasted Jumbo Asparagus. Romesco, Burnt Orange and Manchego Migas. It's the thoughtful addition of Manchego that turns it from ordinary into great.
The Stops Burger, Asian Style. Hoison, Crispy Onions and Asian Pickle add to the depth in a twist on the Stops Burger, featured on the menu with several others. Great burger. Great flavor. Great hand-cut fries.
The attention to detail. The light, airy, clean comfort of the place. The inventive menu. It all made us walk away, back into the noise and crowd, with a similar sentiment: we wished we had a place like this in our neighborhood.