Monday, May 2, 2011

Deep Ellum, Allston

Deep Ellum sits off the main drag of Allston's busy restaurant scene.  It sits far away from craziness that often overcomes the intersection of Harvard and Brighton Ave's.  Quietly, without any pretense, Deep Ellum sits proudly offering a unique beer list, some of the best cocktails in town, and a solid food offering.  Saturday evening I had the opportunity to relax in their hospitality, enjoy their staff, and indulge in some of their food.

We started, in rather perfect fashion for a relaxed meal, by sharing the Charcuterie plate, and the Crab Stuffed Avocado.  The Charcuterie was a pretty incredible blend of house made pates, mortadella, coppa, pickles, pickled onions, mustard and whipped lardo.  It may go without saying, but fresh foods and ingredients are infinitely better than their processed counterparts.  Mortadella, which can be found in deli counter, and often has a very flat, overly salty flavor, on this Charcuterie plate it stood out with clean flavors, delicate spice, and terrific mouth feel.  The other stand out from this plate was the whipped lardo.  If you haven't experienced lardo before, it is an incredible indulgent pleasure, quite literally fat from the back of a pig who, very often, has been fed a "healthy" diet composed of walnuts and apples among other decadent treats to ensure that the pig is "robust" in the correct areas, and that flavor is sweet and well flavored.  Deep Ellum whips this treat and adds salt and crushed red pepper flakes which creates a beautiful harmony between the pure fatty nature of the lardo.  This was pure pleasure. 

The crab stuffed avocado was a perfect contrast.  Though the avocado was rich and creamy, it was piled high with the crab salad that felt light with its citrus and cilantro notes.  Texturally this salad was perfect.  The large lumps of crab meat blended well with the ripe, but still firm avocado, forming many "perfect bites".  Paired with a frisee salad that was dotted with cherry tomatoes and a beautiful slice of a yellow heirloom tomato-it felt like a perfect entry to summer dining.

Finally we split the Saffron Israeli Cous Cous which combined large pearl cous cous with eggplant, chick peas, olives, tomatoes and zucchini.  While the saffron was undetectable in the dish, the rest of it was well contrived.  Israeli Cous Cous has the incredible ability of tasting buttery and rich without losing it's healthful qualities.  The eggplant and the zucchini were perfectly cooked, keeping their toothsome qualities and lending their earthy flavors to the dish in contrast with the buttery cous cous.  The chick peas, mealy in nature and therefore containing an entirely different mouth feel, gave a wonderful relief in texture, and the salty olives served on top provided a wonderful burst of salt.  

Deep Ellum is the perfect example of the age old saying "don't judge a book by it's cover".  From the exterior it appears to be a stereotypical pub-lack luster beer, the occasional shot of whiskey, bad nachos and worse burgers.  Step inside however and you'll find creative and well executed dishes, fantastic cocktails and a great selection of micro brews.  Deep Ellum is definitely worth the trip.  


Megan said...

These dishes sound wonderful. I wish there were pictures!

Michelle Collins said...

I was just at Deep Ellum Friday night! I love their beer menu, and the Deviled Eggs are by far the best I've ever had.

aimee said...

LOVE the big pretzels with the beer cheese. Deep Ellum is like a classy, cozy, brick oasis in Allston. I love it.

Emily @ A Cambridge Story said...

Love Deep Ellum. I only wish it had been there in 2004 when i lived in Allston!

kitchenmisfit said...

I've been to Deep Ellum for Brunch before and it was fabulous! Need to go back!

Jen said...

I love Deep Ellum. We should go this summer. I like to walk there on a nice Saturday afternoon and eat outside.

Deep Ellum said...

Wow that looks awesome!

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