Chiara Bistro, my new favorite place
Well, maybe that's an exaggeration but we had a really nice time last nite. I'd been wanting to go for a while and finally took a friend for his b-day dinner there. It's not too far from JP at all, right on Rt. 109 in Westwood but lots of traffic at 6:30 on a Wed. We sat at the bar but the space is really nice with different sections including a loungey table in front of a fireplace. Bartender was fun, made one of the "innocent" drinks (an "orangini") into a non innocent with orange vodka, muddled basil, very good. Friend had a couple big bottles of Blue Moon (I think) IPA. Mon-Thurs they have a 3 course dinner for $33 which I got. Started with a delicious spinach salad w/ lardon and a poached egg on top, it's only $7 or 8 on its own. Split that and the lobster arancini which were fried well and had good lobster flavor. 3 of them for $6 or 8 I think. I went with a basic Statler chicken w/ figs (halibut I think was the other choice) mostly cuz the sides sounded so good. Creamy polenta w/ mascarpone and sauteed green beans w/ a nice glass of Riesling, it was all great. My taste of the duck was good, the scallion pancake that came with it won't make you forget the good stuff in Chinatown tho. Two dessert choices, I went with the wonderful butterscotch pot de creme and gingersnap cookies. So good and the bartender poured me a little glass of dessert wine which was really nice. Entrees are about $22-30, cocktails $9, they have a good selection of apps and small plates plus a few casual dishes like a burger and lobster roll. Lots of businessmen seemed to be there, lots of people who knew each other (choices are limited in Westwood), I definitely want to go back soon.