Monday, February 14, 2011

The Abbey, Brookline

Brookline may be my favorite suburb of Boston.  Basically enveloped in the middle of it, Brookline contains within its borders a wide array of culinary adventures- all different cuisines and price points included.  These are evidenced Here, Here, Here, Here...I could go on.  Oddly enough, the genre of food that I feel is almost uncommon in the town limits, is American Comfort Food.  Almost beaten to death at this point by culinary greats, comfort food has been a fad over the past few years.  However, as chic has it had been, it still holds a place for offering warming, comfortable food, that is easily enjoyed.  The Abbey, located in the Washington Square area of Brookline is serving just that- well executed comfort food, at reasonable prices, perfect for a chilly evening.

I have dined at The Abbey a couple of times now, and know that they do not take reservations, and if you arrive on the later side, the wait can be long, and a bit uncomfortable as there isn't a good area to wait without being in the way of busy servers.  We arrived on the early side Saturday evening (around 6:15 or so) and nicely just beat the rush, securing one of the last empty tables.  As it was pretty early in the evening, our stomachs hadn't begun to rumble too much, and therefore we decided to skip an appetizer and head straight to the main event.  This was even easier to do after our server placed a lovely basket of fresh bread on the table with both hummus and olive oil accompaniments.  It isn't often that I really take note of the bread basket, however, the hummus that The Abbey serves is truly delicious.  I'm not sure if they use an excess of Tahini, or if they use toasted Sesame Seed oil in it, but the strong, nutty flavor of sesame seeds comes to the forefront, and creates an incredibly interesting dip. 

It didn't take me long to choose my entree.  Still shivering from some chilly air outside, I went for the most comforting dish I could find- Bison Bolognese with fresh linguine, and Romano cheese.  Is there anything better to warm you up than a steaming plate of pasta?  My dining companion chose the cod dish, served over a scallion pancake with a shallot cream sauce.  I really enjoy bison as a substitute for cow beef.  It is substantially lower in cholesterol and fats, making it a healthier option.  It also, when served in its pure form has a sweeter taste to it. The Bolognese served at The Abbey was perfection.  The ground bison meat mixed with tomatoes, herbs and spices so that the flavors, between acidity, richness and spice were perfectly layered and each bite presented an array of flavor.  It was matched with fresh pasta that had a wonderful texture, obviously cooked to an exact al dente state.  The unique twist here? Around the outside of the plate lay a beautiful drizzle of balsamic vinegar.  At first discovery, I wondered if it was an appropriate accompaniment- balsamic being so sweet and definitive in its flavor.  However a quick dab of a forkful of pasta into the stream proved me ever so wrong.  The balsamic added yet another contrast of flavor, enhancing the sweet notes of the bison- I was quickly wishing that the stream of vinegar had actually been a river.

The cod, though for the first time in ages I didn't sneak a bite, was said to be fantastic.  The cod, light by nature, was a perfect canvas for the creamy sauce.  The real high point however was that scallion pancake.  It was touted as a perfect flavor accompaniment, and somehow defied all odds and remained crispy, even doused in the sauce, until the very last bite.  This was a dish worth returning to The Abbey for.

The Abbey, still in its infancy to Washington Square, is a more than welcome addition.  The staff is friendly and efficient, their food is fantastic, the selection is small but diverse, and their portions are well sized.  The Abbey is quickly gaining in my eyes as one of greats in Brookline!

The Abbey on Urbanspoon


Jen said...

We love the Abbey too. Just ate there the other night in fact. I had the steak frites and Hubby had the pork special. Both were delicious. Their drinks are always great as well.

MichellePC said...

GREAT review! I love Brookline, but rarely dine out there - that needs to change!

Anonymous said...

I have been meaning to try this place out for a while!

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