Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Deuxave, Back Bay, Boston

I have had a bit of a countdown going since I heard the news that Chef Chris Coombs, famed chef of Dorchester's Dbar who reached celebrity status after his appearance on the Food Network's Chopped this past spring, would be opening a new restaurant in Boston's Back Bay.  I might have emitted a bit of yelp at the news, and ever since, whenever I walked past the location of the aptly named Deuxave (it sits on the corner of Mass Ave and Comm Ave), I would do a small happy dance.  My first interaction with the chef was at Taste of the Nation held here in Boston in April.  Out of all of the dishes that were offered that night, which were some of the most amazing creations, and delicious delicacies, my favorite dish that evening was from the hands of Chris Coombs.  He had made lamb, and it was perfect.  Even given the massive crowds, and difficult environment- his lamb was flawless.  Since then, I have been waiting for Deuxave to open.

As luck would have it- I received an invitation to attend their opening party held last night.  Though I knew that Chef Coombs would create an amazing spread for the party, I wanted to get in before the event to experience the full restaurant and a get a good vibe for the place.  So, poor John got dragged willingly accompanied me to dinner on Saturday evening.  

The physical updates completed on the space at Deuxave have transformed it from the simple cafe it was in its former life, to a trendy spot deserving of words like chic and modern, but with touches, such as a beautiful brick encased fireplace and comfortable booths, which make it cozy and inviting.  The staff are all incredibly welcoming, greeting each new patron with a warm smile, and Chef Coombs is visibly present in the restaurant, speaking to different tables, and even chatting with the hostesses.  Entering Deuxave, I felt the comfort of walking into a friends home, rather than the newest hot spot in town, though I felt right at home in my Saturday evening attire.  

After perusing the menu a bit, and having a lovely conversation with the Sommelier, we chose to begin our meal with their Duet of Prime Beef Tartare & Wagyu Carpaccio.  The Tartare, served in a gorgeous circular mound of rare beef and spices, adorned with a single yolk of a quail egg was absolutely delicious.  Salty and spicy flavor nicely complimenting the velvety softness of the beef, the yolk bring a final richness.  It was delicious.  The Carpaccio...well it was lovely.  Paper thin slices of just lightly seared beef, topped with cornichons, "waffle" type potato chips, and baby arugula.  Each ingredient played off the others so nicely, but still allowed the beef, the star of the plate to shine through in it's elegance.  Overall, this dish was wonderful, beautiful flavors combined to accentuate each other, and varied textures to provide contrast. If I had to pick at anything here, I did find a bit too much of the egg white was visible on the Tartare, however once the yolk was broken the white disappeared into the Tartare never to be heard from again. 

Remembering the amazing lamb dish Chef Coombs presented at Taste of the Nation, I felt compelled order the Moroccan Spiced Colorado Lamb Saddle as my main course.  John, ever looking to find "a closer than Portland" new  scallop favorite entree, went with their scallops as his main.  In perfect timing from the wrap of our first course, our entrees were served, and I was immediately excited.  The lamb, cut into thick slices and laid across a bed of tabbouleh, and mint raita, was perfectly pink.  It had been crusted in pistachios, and the plate was accented with baby carrots, turnips and beets and a natural jus.  The pink of the lamb rightly signified a perfectly cooked piece, and a bite reassured me that the heaven on Chris Coombs dish at Taste of the Nation hadn't been an anomaly.  The lamb was tender and moist, rich with flavor.  The tabbouleh below, grainy and nutty in texture mixed beautifully with the subtle mint flavor of the creamy raita.  The textural contrasts continued with the vegetables that were artfully strewn about the plate, the beets cooked to almost crisp were concentrated flavor explosions to the palate.  The carrots and turnips though were mellow in their own natural flavors, and tender to the fork.  I thoroughly enjoyed my entree.

I stole a few bites of John's entree as well (when don't I, really?), and though he hasn't found his replacement for Street and Co in Portland, these scallops were quite tasty.   The succulent medallions were served atop a fondue of leeks and parsley, with a carrot foam accenting the plate, and a potato hash brown in its center.  While foams may have been over done a few years ago- I was thrilled to see the carrot foam present on this plate.  It was perfectly executed, enhancing both the appearance of the plate, and the overall flavor. The leek and parsley fondue had wonderful slow cooked onion flavor, brightened with the parsley- a perfect ying, and yang appeal.  To me, this was a show stopper and might have even stolen the show from the scallops.  The scallops were beautifully cooked, a lovely golden brown on top, and still slightly rare inside, however they may have suffered a bit of a heavy hand with the salt.

We were sad to have to turn down dessert, though the menu listed some delicious sounding options.  

Returning last evening, I was able to try a few more bites of their offering, from crab cakes to an heirloom tomato salad with a balsamic foam, and each bite was delicious. I didn't experience any remnant of an over salting, so I can assume that the scallops were simply an aberration.  

Chef Coombs, as expected, is putting out not only delicious food at Deuxave, he is putting out incredibly inventive offerings, jazzing up the classics with new twists, while paying homage to their history and culture.  I look forward to visiting Deuxave many more times in the future to see what Chef Coombs does with each of the upcoming seasons.

Gossip Corner:

New little segment here- since there has been a bit of fun gossip I've had my ear on recently...I thought I'd share what I can!
First- Pinkberry is set to open on Newbury Street in late October.  First of all, YAY, and second- Um- has any one googled one of their owners recently?  Pedro Garcia?  Interesting stuff out there...

Second- it appears that one of Boston's best chefs (name withheld though I have spoken of him before) is opening a brand new place sometime this spring!!  Details to follow when available!

(Please excuse the lack of photos from last night's affair.  My camera decided against documenting the evening)         

Deuxave on Urbanspoon


Kristen said...

what a great review! I can't wait to visit this amazing new spot!

And a PINKBERRY on NEWBURY?! Now I'll get to experience what all the fuss is about?!

Boston Food Diary said...

Aww thanks!!!!! Actually- there are a couple others opening as well around the city :-) Pinkberry will soon be yours!

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