The Fireplace, Brookline
I just read about the opening of The Fireplace in Brookline (Ben Nathan) and was wondering if anyone has eaten there and would share their views.
Having heard excellent reports from numerous sources, I ate there several weekends ago. My perspective: It's a place that really makes you want to like it. Or, at least, it really made me want to like it. A wonderful atmosphere for the winter. Sleek, yet cozy, with a fireplace as the figurative centerpiece. Friendly service. Decent drink list. New American cuisine. Gussied up comfort food.
Unfortunately, everything was a bit underwhelming. Nothing was bad. It was just nothing managed to reach the level such that I could say what I wanted to say: I loves this place!" Instead, I had a passable onion-and-goat-cheese-tart over greens and a mediocre crab casserole dip which was surprisingly short on flavor. Bland. The strongest dish was the roast chicken ("under a birck" I think??), but even that didn't compare to the great versions at the Blue Room, Hammersley's., Perdix etc.. In short, a decent spot that didn't live up to the hype on my first visit. Room for improvement, perhaps!
Note: They only reserve a portion of the tables. Walk-ins have been averaging a wait of 1-2 hours!
Had dinner there last night.
Scallop casserole was bland and the 4 small scallops were so smoky as to hardly resemble scallops.
Beef short ribs were also very smoky, but pretty good. The onion rings with them were bland.
Flounder poached in chowder with rock shimp and leeks was undistinguished and I wouldn't recommend it.
The wines by the glass were very over priced (ie. $9 for a glass of 1999 Neibaum Coppola "Claret") The Viognier was $7 and was just ok. We ordered by the glass because the bottles were very overpriced and the selection was very poor.
Brookline clearly has a place for a restaurant like this and the place is reputed to be quite busy. I wonder if people will tire of the so-so food.