Friday, November 20, 2009

Bobby's Grille: Initial Impressions

Grilled Long Island Duck Breast with Smoked Gouda Risotto and Balsamic Reduction. Tender, meaty slices of duck atop a creamy, smoky risotto with a concentrated, sweet reduction. It is a superb dish, a signature item of the talented Chef Stephen Bell.

Back in September, I mentioned the upcoming opening of Bobby's Grille, a new restaurant in Wellesley. The restaurant opened this week and I stopped by last night for dinner with several friends. Based on my positive experience, I believe the future of Bobby's Grille is going to be very bright. I will certainly return there soon and highly recommend that my readers check it out too.

The restaurant is medium-sized with a large walnut bar and an elegant yet casual atmosphere. I liked the dark red walls, like a rich burgundy, and the artwork was intriguing, including a large American flag and what looked like a giant owl. The restaurant is open for both lunch and dinner.

There is a full bar and they have a menu of special cocktails. Their wine list was interesting with a number of compelling wines. The list has about 35 wines by the bottles, and about half of them are available by the glass. Wines by the glass range from $7.25-$12, and bottles average in the $30s, making the list reasonably priced.

We started with the 2008 Bodegas Montesierra Rosé ($7.50/glass, $30/bottle) from the Somontano region of Spain. This small region is not well known yet but they are producing some very good wines, and this Rosé is a fine example. It is very Old World in style, dry, restrained red fruit and some herbal notes. A very food friendly wine I would recommend. We would also ordered the 2005 Podere la Brancaia “Tre” Super Tuscan ($12/glass, $44/bottle). This was also a very good wine, some black cherry and plum flavors with moderate tannins, good complexity and a nice finish.

The food menu is has plenty of choices, though the choices are not overwhelming. There are Starters ($8-$14), Soups ($7-$8), Salads ($7-$9), Sandwiches ($9-$14) and Entrees ($10-$29). I think the menu is reasonably priced, especially after considering the portion size of many of the dishes. There are some traditional offerings, such as Shrimp Cocktail and Caesar Salad, as well as more creative dishes such as Lolly Pop Lamb Chops with Tzatziki Sauce and Sliders with Portabello Mushroom, Spinach and Asiago Cheese.

I have known Chef Stephen Bell from back when he owned Savory Tastes Cafe in Reading. You can search my blog for multiple, postive reviews of that restaurant. Chef Bell is a very talented and passionate chef. I was saddened when he had to close Savory Tastes but was elated when I learned he would be the Executive Chef at Bobby's Grille. So I had high expectations for the food at Bobby's Grille, and I was not disappointed.

Prior to our food starting to arrive, we received baskets of slightly warm, fresh rolls with soft, whipped butter. This is certainly a very good way to start any meal and appeals to my heart. Plus, once our rolls were gone, we were even brought more.

I began my dinner with the Duck Breast dish ($9) that is pictured and described at the top of this post. Others at the table had the French Onion Gratinee ($7), Classic Caesar ($9) and Buffalo Chicken Sliders ($9). They enjoyed all of those dishes. The Sliders included three sandwiches, each filled with a good-sized piece of chicken, and accompanied by Cape Cod potato chips.

I was the only one who ordered a second course, the White Cheddar and Fontina Mac & Cheese with Lobster ($15). This dish had a light breading atop it, likely panko, and the pasta seemed like it might be fusilli. It was quite delicious, with a strong white cheddar taste, and the pasta was a nice choice. The sweet lobster meat included two claws and some additional pieces. It is a dish I would order again. I should also note you can get the Mac & Cheese without the lobster for only $10 or have it with ham & peas for $11.

For my entree, I had the Filet Mignon Sliders ($10) with Sharp Cheddar and Spicy Ketchup. Like the Buffalo Chicken sliders, I received three sandwiches, on soft, fresh rolls with a good-sized piece of filet inside. The meat was very tender and the sliders were quite delicious. A couple of my friends chose the 12oz Filet ($29), which comes with a baked potato and a choice of Bernaise or Madeira sauce. The filets were quite thick, tender and tasty. Both very much enjoyed their steaks. A couple other friends had the BBQ Pork Tenderloin ($21), with a house dry rub, 81 BBQ sauce, sweet corn succotash, red bliss potato hash and cole slaw dollop. Though the pork was very flavorful, both felt the BBQ sauce was a bit overwhelming. They also raved about the hash.

Service was generally very good. There were a couple minor service issues, but all easily attributable to the fact that the restaurant just opened. As I have said repeatedly before, all new restaurants need a couple months to iron out all the kinks. I am confident Bobby's Grille will rectify any minor issues in the near future.

Overall, I was very pleased with this restaurant. Good wines, nice menu, pleasant ambiance, delicious food, and more. The restaurant was packed last night and the crowds have been growing all week. If you are going, you definitely should try to make reservations. And as word spreads, I am sure it will be even busier.

I recommend you check out Bobbys Grille and tell them the Passionate Foodie sent you. I will be returning soon and will keep you all updated. There are plenty of other dishes that I want to try. Please come back and tell me your own thoughts about the restaurant.

Bobby's Grille
11 Washington Street
Wellesley Hills, MA
Phone: (781) 235-2345

Bobby's Grille on Urbanspoon

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