Saturday, January 10, 2015
Menotomy Grill and Tavern
Lovers of local history will be intrigued and those enamored with a warm, modern tavern space and great comfort food will enjoy a visit to Menotomy Grill and Tavern in Arlington. Steeped in local colonial lore, the setting combines a new take on an accurate tavern experience with an excellent, inventive cocktail program and affordable eats featuring classic fare with a twist.
Our cocktails included the "Impeared" Ginger (left): Burnett's Pear Vodka, Domaine de Canton and Fresh Lemon for a bursting, light taste without being overly sweet. The Cooper's Flip (right): Privateer Rum, Cask Ale, Molasses, Egg and Pumpkin. This was truly like a taste of the Colonies with a generous dose of molasses that I loved. Very different and a great take on the Molasses/Rum trade that enriched the Colonial Era neighborhood where the place literally now stands. There is a great back story on the name of the drink provided on the menu but I won't ruin the tale of deception and intrigue for you.
It was a very snowy, cold night so after warming up by the fire and a sip of our drinks we started right in on these P. E. I. Mussels. Steamed in Spy Ponder Ale with garlic and herbs and served with a grilled sourdough, we felt more like Tories as we tucked into the elegant bowl. The broth was rich, the garlic light and the mussels were tender, without a trace of grit, a very pleasant start.
The room was full but not rowdy, a nice mix of young couples, families, hipsters treating the folks to a drink and appetizer, locals enjoying dinner out on a stormy night, the kind of place a democratic neighborhood tavern should be - the extension of one's home but more convivial and social. It was nice to see.
Julia Child always said that one can tell the mettle of a Cook by the roasted chicken. This Herb Roasted Chicken features a Giannone Farm, all-natural, free range chicken, muscular, meaty and tender. Served on a mound of Edna's Potato Sausage Stuffing (the co-owner's Mom's own recipe) with green beans and au jus, it was flavorful, rustic, homey and savory and an absolute favorite of the night.
The 18 oz. Porterhouse, that night's special, was also a meaty, rich plate of flavor, with horseradish mash and steamed asparagus, bone-in, for, again, a level of iconic rustic fare. Very good.
Dessert was the Mocha Creme Brulee with just the right amount of crunch and burn one would normally find in a great pastry shop and an unnecessary biscottii cookie placed on top. The classic dessert that covers all the senses of touch, taste, sight, sound and smell, otherwise perfect, seemed amateurish with a cookie, as good as it was, thrown on top. Pull it off and enjoy.
We also visited for brunch which showcased an excellent Eggs Benedict on a thin layer of hash (very nice touch) and a rotating, chalkboard menu.
Hearty New England fare with a nod toward the local and historic, simple pub food with modern tweaks, a great drinks and bar offering and a nice neighborhood feel is what you'll get here. Cocktails will run you $10, as will the appetizers, and entrees about $20, making this an affordable, easy alternative with plenty of free parking.
Menotomy Grill and Tavern
25 Massachusetts Avenue
Arlington, MA 02474
Do you know that almost every state in the USA has a town or city named Arlington? Tell us why. The first five people to correctly respond via email will be entered in a drawing to win free tickets to the Boston Wine Expo 2015, valued at $80 per person, where we will dine with some of Boston's most historic Chefs and probably take selfies with them.