I finally made it out to my neighbor’s restaurant, The Fireplace. Ambivalent and apprehensive from hearing mixed reviews, I also figured “you can’t knock it till you’ve tried it.” We started off on the right foot with warm, fluffy bread:
I’m no boulanger but this bread was especially tasty–not too buttery and just the right degree of warmth.
My beautiful dining buddy and model, Shelly.
Surprisingly, I was not disappointed by their sangrias. The white was a bit sweet. I think I’ve been away from Spain too long…
Red & White Sangrias
We opted for the mussels appetizer in hopes that it would be as fresh and delectable as the ones from Mare. I was unimpressed with the subpar freshness. The flavors were tasty but they didn’t dance in my mouth. The wow factor was lacking. However if you enjoy a hearty dish which includes dipping your bread in the tasty almond broth afterwards, do order the mussels.
Cape Cod Mussels Steamed in a Lemon, Garlic & Toasted Almond Broth
Shelly got lamb:
The lamb was gamey, which I’m not a fan of in general. So if you like the gamey taste, get the lamb. I figured I’d try some to reconfirm that the way white people cook lamb doesn’t eliminate the game taste, whereas in Xinjiang (China), where I’m headed on monday, they roast whole lambs and when eating, they dip the pieces in spices and herbs that eliminate the game taste. Woohoo! Xinjiang, here I come!
Mustard & Fresh Herb Crusted Lamb in a Tart Cherry Glaze
with Potato Gratin and Baby Carrots
Pan Roasted Duck and Cranberry Molasses Sauce, Sweet Potato Purée, with Sautéed Duck Confit & “Buttery” Ramps wrapped in a RI Johnnycake
I love duck and this dish did not disappoint. The cranberry pairing was just what I wanted–tartness to go with the succulent duck breast, accompanied by the tender confit. The juxtoposition of duck prepared in two different ways added nice contrast in texture and flavor. The sweet potato mash and johnnycakes weren’t necessary. I would’ve liked some heat or more acid on the plate, but I think what they prepared appeals more to the masses that enjoy a well-executed, comforting, wholesome dish. The portions were huge so Eric had a nice lunch to enjoy the next day. All in all, you definitely get your money’s worth at The Fireplace. If you like comfort fair and heavier dishes, I’d recommend it.
As for me, I prefer lighter fare and places that challenges my palate and inspire me to create–places that have me saying ‘umami.’