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Apr 2, 2013 11:15 PM

3/2/13 Sycamore : 'Scuse Me While I Kiss the Sky

My Love asked me a question. I looked at him. He asked it again.I looked at him, but this time i LOOKED at him, made a "shooing" motion and pointed at my mouth. Translation:
< Don't ask me to talk! I'm EATing here!>

This was the situation I found myself in earlier tonight, as we took our first few tastes of our first dinner at Sycamore in Newton Centre. WOW. Just Wow.

I'm tempted to leave it at that, because it does sum up the dinner with accuracy. But then again, i wouldn't be passing along the details to my sister CHs. We arrived at 5PM and we were the second table seated in the long room lined on each side with a continuous banquette and a number of tables for larger parties. It was pretty quiet.And when we left at 7:30 it was full,the bar as well, with 2+ parties waiting, and alot of noise.

I get the feeling that this very new Sycamore was hopping right out of the gate.And why not? These Newtonians have been waiting for a place this good for a very long time.
I cannot remember Newton Centre having a destination dining spot since Madeleine Kamman's day. Our experience with something like that was Susan Regis' brief turn at that clothing store adjunct.....
We have not tried Famstead yet, but Sycamore is the place to beat.

I just cannot remember the last time I had seven dishes (really ten; see description) and had a smile on my face through every one. What we sampled tonight:
Little Bites:
- Chorizo Croquettas w/ romesco sauce. Utter perfection- both parts.
- Salt cured Foie gras w/ blood orange marmalade on toast

- Cobia with Chermoula and Black Olive puree
- Braised Kale

Main for 2:
- The Lamb Board

- Creme Fraiche Sorbet w/ candied kumquat
This foie dish is a true contender for a last meal request. Unfortunately, like David Chang's Strip T's-interpreted Whey- cured Foie( frozen and grated in a sawdust-looking pile over toast cubes) this gets the award for Lowest Eye Appeal. When it arrived, we thought it was an open faced white tuna crostini (it's the curing that drains it of color. ) But what it is is Big Creamy salty flakes of foie over Iggy's toasted sourdough w/ orange marmalade.

The cobia was a neat surprise- a very flavorful white fish with meaty texture. I hope alot more places start serving this.

They do a Daily Board, meant to be shared by 2. It does come on a wooden board/ carving board and I would describe it as 4 protein near-entree portions with an accompanying starch or veg or sauce/compote. Ours was:
- Lamb Bacon Roulades , fried in a crisp bread crumb coating, on a bed of summer-canned Tomato Jam.
- Herb marinated Lamb chops(3, good size) cooked medium rare ,on a bed of creamy Red Camargue Rice
- Merguez sausage (is that redundant?) amazingly moist and soft and not over-spiced, on a cucumber mint feta salad. Only merguez i've ever liked.
- Lamb Confit (long braised lamb, saute/fried crispy) over unctuous ragout of baby artichoke bottoms and green chickpeas. I can't stop; hands down the most heavenly chickpeas (and side dish) i may ever eat.

The creme fraiche sorbet w/ kumquat was a light clean luscious ending.

My only complaint is that it's just not fair that the head chef who had this much talent (Lydia, last from Bergamot) is also beautiful, a young lithe Meryl Streep, eagerly asking how we liked her creation- The Lamb Board. David Punch , Sycamore's owner/chef, was off tonight but boy has he hired well here, both in the kitchen and out front. All three of our servers were authentically friendly, welcoming and professional. Both my cosmo and our reds by the glass were excellent.
I think we kind of floated home. What a great night.

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  1. I'm a big fan, too. One of several new restaurants in the suburbs that I think would compete nicely in town. Easily now the best bar program in Newton, though that is faint praise.

    4 Replies
    1. re: MC Slim JB

      slim, can any of those several places compete with Sycamore, in the world of innovative non-trad food?Not, right?

      1. re: opinionatedchef

        I'd put Steel and Rye up against Sycamore, certainly. I'm not sure what's non-traditional about it. It's pretty much what Punch has been doing at Ten Tables: New American with a strong French accent, perhaps a bit more meat-centric, less vegetarian friendly than in JP, plus a better drinks program. S+R has that, too.

        1. re: MC Slim JB

          There may not be lots of vegetarian options, but the potato gratin entrée I ordered was more than satisfying. Rich, but not cheesy - served with a mushroom ragout, ramps and green garlic sauce. It was pure heaven. I added a side of cauliflower with pine nuts and raisins. This was also tasty, but what is it with the wimpy baby cauliflower flowerets the size of raisins? I prefer meaty roasted pieces.

          Customer service is top-notch. I ordered a glass of red Cote du Rhone (they offer a very small list by the glass). Our waiter brought an unlisted option he suggested I try - a wonderfully full-bodied Sandocino by Coturri. Wow.

          DC had the asparagus, shrimp and soft-boiled egg appetizer which was creamy and delicious, followed by monk-fish and clams. Both dishes mopped up with good bread (which I agree is served too cold.). Wish we had room for dessert. Maybe next time.

          1. re: jpcat

            I'd call desserts a strength at Sycamore, even though the nightly list is short. I also quite enjoyed the one vegetarian option I tried, choux farci, a mushroom stuffed cabbage roll with soft polenta and mushroom jus.


    2. thanks for the review...this sounds so delicious I may have to run off and try to make a reservation. The lamb board just sounds scrumptious.

      6 Replies
      1. re: ChinaCat

        Note that the board changes frequently. It was a duck board for a while, for instance.

        1. re: MC Slim JB

          Someone let me know when it is a pork board! I tried a few offerings off of the duck board ordered by the couple we were dining with and they were all amazing. Too bad my wife wouldn't split that with me. I'd be lying if I said I didn't think about ordering the board for two for myself next time I eat there.

          1. re: Gordough

            That's exactly what went through my mind, Gordough.....

            1. re: Gordough

              gord, yes, that has been done (per our servers.) I will tell you that I have a very large capacity but i couldn't finish it by myself in one sitting. I would be exceedingly happy, however, to have it for lunch the next day!

              1. re: Gordough

                They actually had the pig board last night. The table next to us had It and it looked so good. Sadly, I could not pull the trigger ordering it for myself since my wife doesn't eat pork. Great meal again.

          2. That foie gras does look like cat food on toast but it was so astounding my dining companions and I had to order another.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Scruffy The Cat

              yeeeeah,i had a continuous thought during that out of body experience: <hmmm, $7; x2 is $14; i think that might make for a pretty euphoric lunch> (if they served lunch, that is!)

            2. My girlfriends and I had a wonderful meal there tonight. They couldn't take reservations when I called earlier in the week, but said that if I came early, I could snag the high tops they have near the bar or eat at the bar. Very pleasant to deal with Sycamore folks over the phone. Very polite, though they could not take the reservation, they said to please try.

              Got there 10 minutes before 6pm and managed to snag 2 high tops for 3 of us. Service was impeccable from beginning to end. Nice recommendations for both wine/cocktails and food. We were checked on regularly, with water drinks always filled, and were never neglected though they were hopping by 7pm.

              My friends had a lovely, crisp chenin blac from an organic wine producer. I had aviation variation and it was delightfully flowery in a beautiful light violet color. Usualy a violet color would scare me off a drink, but this was lovely to drink AND to look at. I ended with a persephone, which knocked my socks off. Nice citrusy tartness. My words cannot do it justice.

              For food we had:

              -Chorizo Croquettes: These little bite sized balls of perfection was quickly demolished and seconds were ordered. The crispy exterior was such a lovely foil that when you break into the moist, soft flavorful center, we all just sighed.

              -Marinated Olives: Normally, I am not a big olive fan. This was nice. Not as acidic as I would have thought, which is what I associate with olives. I liked it, but could take it or leave it.

              -Equinox Farm Greens: The goat cheese was rich, creamy and the perfect counter-balance for the slightly acidic (in a very nice way) vinaigrette. Loved the hazelnuts and the dried pears for added contrast of flavor and texture.

              -Potato Leek Gratin: To me this dish was the unexpected star. Thin (3mm) slices of potato stacked with sauteed mushrooms and ramps (?) on the side. Creamy and fulfilling. Though I was told no cheese was used. Just perfectly seasoned potatoes and some cream.

              -Atlantic Swordfish: Nice char on the outside and fish done right. I only had 2 bites of this because I couldn't get enough of the potato gratin.

              -Warn beignets for dessert were bite-sized treats with a 'milk jam'. Just a perfect way to end the evening.

              We all had walked from Newton Corner and took a walk back on this lovely night. Could not stop talking about how wonderful the staff were and how amazing the food was. We will be back with many more friends and family.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Crazy Egg

                Thx for the details and great that you loved it. Sycamore Euphoria is a nice condition to have!

                1. re: Crazy Egg

                  When my neighbor's plate passed by, I knew I had to order the tagliolini special with trout and peas. Pronounced pea flavor, yet did not overwhelm the trout. And the warm beignets are indeed a perfect way to end the evening.