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Excellent oxtail soup at Murphy's

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If there's anything that beats a good oxtail/barley/root vegetable soup on a cold night I don't know what it is. Yesterday was the first day that could truly be called "cold" so my husband and I nipped into Matt Murphy's in Brookline Village for some liquid warmth, saw the soup on the menu and ordered it. We thought it would make a nice prelude to our dinner waiting at home. HAH! It was so substantial it WAS dinner and the eggplant parmesan went back into the refrigerator ffor tonight!

The soup --more like a stew-- was first class: two enormous beefy knuckles surrounded by a deeply flavored beef, tomato and herb broth, with plenty of onions, turnips potatoes , barley and carrots, all garnished with a little watercress. It came with a breadboard full of their homemade oatmeal bread plus baguette and a good slab of sweet butter. All for $10,

ESK used to do a refined version that was marginally better since it was skimmed of all fat and the meat had been removed from the bones. But that was two chefs ago and it no longer appears on the menu. Murphy's country-style version is a fine substitute, especially when washed down with a Jameson on the rocks. Though I find some of their food hit or miss, Murphy's soups are always stellar, this one in particular. And you can't beat the price.

Sitting next to us at a table by herself was a woman savoring the rabbit pot pie with every evidence of enjoyment. Has anyone ever tried this item here?

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