Are you seeking an inexpensive four-course dinner with wine? At many restaurants, such a meal would cost you at least $50, and likely more. But there is one local restaurant where you can get such a deal for only $30, which I consider an excellent value.
The Ashmont Grill in Dorchester has a Monday Night Wine Club where you can get a four-course meal with wine pairings for only $30. The restaurant is owned and operated by Chef Chris Douglass, who used to own Icarus in the South End. Chef Douglass also owns Tavolo, an Italian restaurant in Dorchester, not far from the Ashmont Grill.
Ashmont Grill is a homey, neighborhood bistro with a dining area, lounge and large bar. It appears to cater to many locals, lots of regulars well-known by the employees. They have a full bar with specialty cocktails, wine and beer. I tried the Dixieland Tea ($9) which is made with Maker's Mark, lemonade, ice tea and orange bitters. It was very good, not overly alcoholic or sweet. A well-balanced and tasty drink. The wine list has about 10 wines available by the glass ($7-10) and bottles generally range from $26-$45. It seems that nearly all of the wines are organic or sustainable.
The food menu has ten Starters ($6-$12), ten Mains ($15-$24, only 1 which is over $20), five Sandwiches ($5-$12) and five Sides ($3.50-$5). There is plenty of comfort food and hearty dishes on the menu. Each Monday night, the Wine Club showcases a different type of wine. On the night I went, Malbec wines were highlighted and upcoming on March 29, the dinner will offer German wines.
Our first course of the evening was Argentine Mussel Soup, served in a mug. This flavorful broth contained mussels, rice and herbs. The tender mussels went well with the rest of the tastes, and it was a good choice for the raw, rainy night that evening. Unfortunately, I did not think the soup went well with the Malbec. Our first wine was the Los Cardos Malbec, which was a simple, fruity wine. It was an ok wine, just not a good pairing for the mussel soup.
The second course was Grilled Portobello Chimichurri, with moist, meaty mushrooms and a tasty sauce which was not too spicy. This earthy dish went well with the Trapiche Oak Cask Malbec, which had rich, dark berry flavors, vanilla and some smokiness. This pairing worked much better than the first one.
For the third course, we had BBQ Beef Brisket, plenty of succulent meat with a slightly sweet and spicy BBQ sauce. Another hearty dish which was perfect for the ill weather of the evening. The Michael Torino "Don David" Malbec was another good pairing, bringing flavors of ripe plum, plenty of spice and even a touch of chocolate. A very good BBQ wine which would be nice this summer with the grill.
For dessert, we had the exceptional Torta de las Tres Leches, a moist and delicious cake which really impressed me. This certainly was a great way to end the dinner, and I would return for this cake alone. The wine for this course was Alma Negra Sparkling Malbec, an interesting wine and maybe the first sparkling Malbec I have tasted. It had some good red fruit flavors, and reminded me a bit of prosecco.
For $30, this is a great deal, especially in these touch economic times. The food is excellent, and the wines are generally good. Service was excellent, and there is a fun ambiance in the place. Sometimes, they have communal seating for wine club nights, and you get to mingle with other wine lovers. After dinner, they also run a Monday trivia night, so you can stay afterwards, have a drink and some fun.
555 Talbot Ave
Dorchester Center, MA