WellesleyWeston Magazine

SPRING 2014

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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owner/chef used the reputation created at another restaurant to fuel attention for a new dining concept, just like Paul Turano did when he leveraged Tryst's visibility to open Cook. In the case of Waban Kitchen the chef/owner is Jeffrey Fournier, a veteran of some of Boston's most innovative kitchens, including Pignoli, Locke-Ober, and The Met Club, and now owner of the very popular Newton Highlands eatery, 51 Lincoln, which he opened in 2006. Like 51 Lincoln, Waban Kitchen is typical of the new style of local bistros: very unfussy décor, modern, wood-topped tables, attentive but not solicitous wait staff. Waban Kitchen, like Sycamore, uses exposed brick and a smallish space to create a cozy setting, with the bar lining the whole left side of the restaurant. A large blackboard lists daily specials. As is also the current trend in bistro-style spots, the menu selections here are divided into three categories: "small plates," medium plates," and "large plates," allowing guests to graze, share, or enjoy their own meal. After a little bucket of superlative rosemary focaccia with a vivid green, freshly-made pesto for dipping arrives at the table, diners can sample one or more of the small plate selections, which include wan- tons stuffed with yam and pork, served with a Bourbon-maple glaze ($8); a single select portion of artisanal cheese from Wasick's Cheese Shop in Wellesley ($6); oregano-marinated olives with grilled breads ($5); or curried florets of cauliflower infused with garlic, shallot, golden raisins, and anchovies ($7). Fournier likes to give a nod to Asian influences in designing his dishes, evidence of which can be found in several menu items and one of the medium plates, including the crispy Rhode Island calamari served with Thai chili paste, a drizzle of mirin, soy, and honey-based Kabayaki sauce, and honey-roasted peanuts ($12). Another medium plate, sautéed shrimp, is bathed in a sauce spiked with Tequila and oranges and served with a shrimp-buttered focaccia ($12). The kitchen's self-acclaimed signature dish here is five-spice roasted half chicken ($24), which comes to the table with the distinct aroma of the dry rub of Asian spices — star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Sichuan pepper, and fennel seeds — and the juices from the chicken spilling over the black garlic-infused mashed potatoes and French green beans. Bucatini Amatriciana (half order $13, full order $25) is a classic take on a standard, the fat, hollow cousin to spaghetti tossed with shards of smoky pancetta, tomato, crushed red pepper, and parmesan. The Crescent Farms duck breast is brined in maple syrup, and served with a sweet potato pancake, wine-poached pear, and grilled radicchio ($29). In another nod to the Far East, local hake is used in the Cambodian amok, a steaming process which produces a fragrant and intense coconut-shrimp broth to soak into the jasmine rice ($25). Fournier and his young team clearly enjoy preparing their own takes on re-invented classics, and diners can watch them through the open kitchen from the comfortable neighborhood dining room, sip- ping a wine selected from the house's extensive list, and forgetting for a moment that they are not in Boston at a trendy, high-priced eatery but instead in a quiet neighborhood spot in Newton, where quality dining is close by, wholly reliable, and satisfying. 182 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | s p r i n g 2 0 1 4 local cuisine "a cozy setting" Waban Kitchen H E A T H R O B B I N S 176-181_WWMa14_local cuisine_trio_v2_local cuisine 2/2/14 1:28 PM Page 182

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