Friday, December 16, 2011

The Biltmore, New Upper Falls, Newton

Indulgent, decadent...downright sinful.  All of these are words I'd use to describe my dining experience at The Biltmore located in the Upper Falls area of Newton.  I headed over with a group of three other girls, and we were dead set on trying as much of their menu as possible.  

The Biltmore is billed as being a pub with American comfort food as their foremost offering- it has to be said-they take "comfort" to a whole different level.  We began our meal with two appetizers (as I said- indulgent) and settled on the Wrapped Scallops and the Crazy Delicious Pub Fries.  The scallops, wrapped in salty Prosciutto, resting in a pool of cider glaze and topped with apple butter and fried sage leaves were lovely.  The salt from the cured meat was well complimented by the sweetness from the glaze, and the flavorful apple butter worked really well with the large plump sea scallops.  The pub fries are where that word indulgent really comes into place.  Large, crisp waffle fries were mounded on to a plate topped with a mix of three cheeses (ricotta included), slivers of bacon and a fried egg.  The menu stated that gravy would also be present- but I didn't find any on our serving.  However, even without that added punch of gravy, these fries were basically insane.  The potatoes themselves were perfectly crisp and meaty, the cheese was a perfectly blend of salty, melty and creamy, the bacon smokey, and that egg...runny yolk, greasy whites, it was an egg to make breakfast jealous.  The combination was awesome-a perfect dish to sop up any beers you might be imbibing.

We decided to split our entrees, so we settled on their Chicken and Waffles, the Burger special which, for the evening hailed from Ireland with Irish Bacon and Irish cheese, the Smoked Duck Grilled Cheese, and the half rack of their Memphis Ribs.  What was I saying about decadent?  My favorite of the evening, hands down, was the Chicken and Waffles.  Crispy fried chicken, a golden brown Belgian Waffle, and a variety of sauces and spreads made every bite delicious.  Stacking together a warm piece of waffle, topped with apple flavored butter, a bit of hot sauce, chicken and then a drizzle of apple flavored maple syrup hit every taste bud. Sweet and savory, breakfast and dinner- it was every bit as delicious as I had hoped.  

I am pained to say I cannot give a great review of the burger, I was in charge of divvying that one out and somehow cut the quarters oddly and ended up with only a small piece of burger between my section of buns.  However, what I did have looked well cooked, and tasted fine.  Ill have to return (twist my arm).

The Smoked Duck Grilled Cheese was the down fall of the evening for me.  It was billed as Duck Confit with Fontina cheese, and a blue cheese mustard, served with apple butter, and apple slaw.  The sandwich was jam packed with well flavored duck, however the cheeses and mustard were barely present making it much more a duck sandwich rather than a grilled cheese.  Adding the apple butter mixed up the flavors a bit, but I was sad to be missing out on the tang of blue cheese, the heat of mustard and the creaminess of the Fontina. 

The Memphis Ribs, however, were fantastic.  Meaty and well flavored with a tasty barbecue sauce, the meat itself contained that wonderful sting of smoke from a good fire, and the barbecue sauce coated well without being overly messy.  These were served with the same apple slaw, baked beans and fries.  

Over all the fries that accompanied the meals were limp and greasy, not their best showing.  However, as we had polished off the plate of Pub Fries earlier- they were not missed.  

We finally, decided to end the evening on a sweet note.  To be honest- we were set to leave after our entrees, but then we remembered- the sinful dessert that we had read on the menu.  That item that couldn't be missed- a fried fluffer nutter.  When we saw it on the menu it was as though it was illuminated in light from heaven with angels flying around and harps playing...well and a little devil sitting in the corner with his little horns on and his pitchfork spouting fire.  It seemed too good, too exciting, too "bad" to miss.  And so it arrived, wedges of a fluffer nutter, stuffed with banana slices, battered and deep fried and then drizzled with raspberry sauce.  It appeared just as I imagine, fluff oozing out of the crisp exterior, but the result was lacking.  The crispy exterior had an odd flavor to it, as though this sweet dessert had been fried with the french fries, or had been dunked in oil that was a bit too old.  The peanut butter was delicious, but used too sparingly, and the fluff got a bit lost in the mix.   My piece didn't contain any bananas, so it felt as though I was simply eating fried bread.  Sinful yes, but the treat I was going for it was not.

The Biltmore is definitely creating some showstopping menu items.  Their fare is rich, it's comforting, and it's definitely warming.  Their menu does concentrate on the hearty meals, and offers little diversity for one seeking a lighter alternative. This can be ignored however, especially as we are in the season to "bulk up" for the winter months.      


Kristen said...

your descriptions make me want to try every successful dish, and even the not so great ones, with hope they would achieve the success as you imagined. really awesome review.

Jen said...

I agree - the chicken and waffles were the hit of the night. I really enjoyed the burger as well. I thought it was seasoned well.

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