It’s one of Boston’s most anticipated restaurant openings from one of the area’s most well-loved chefs: The Kirkland Tap & Trotter from Tony Maws.
Maws is the chef and proprietor of Craigie on Main, a refined rustic bistro serving local, seasonal and organic ingredients, famous for the exquisite tasting menus, creative cocktails, an elusive burger, and cuisine that shines for both vegetarian meals and nose-to-tail eating. It’s one of my favorite restaurants in the city and I’ve written about it many times before: bar bites, dinner, and the infamous burger. So like many of the city’s food aficionados, I couldn’t wait to try this new restaurant.
And last week I did. My friends and I headed over to Somerville to check out The Kirkland Tap & Trotter.
We’re all big meat eaters so the first thing we agreed on was to share the beer-braised veal ribs. The dish that arrived on our plate was a heaping unctuous cut of meat, aromatic and tender, served with simple roasted potatoes:
I sipped on a pink cocktail, the Santa Rosa, made with Tequila Cabeza, Combier Peche, Cocchi Rosa, and citrus. I all honesty I don’t know what any of those ingredients are (except tequila and citrus) but they combined into a sweet and slightly fruity concoction.
It’s been only a few days since the restaurant opened, and the menu was still small, but there were also a few daily specials:
From the regular menu, we got the housemade spaghetti with chicken liver, pumpkin, and brown butter. It was good, but I prefer the last spaghetti with chicken liver dish I had from Domenica in New Orleans. In Tap & Trotter’s version, the liver was pureed with the brown butter sauce, and I would’ve preferred it in bigger pieces. But this doesn’t mean that I won’t be ordering this again. (I really like liver.)
For me the best dish of the night was the grilled squid. Big pieces with just the right chew, served with some sort of eggplant mash, sliced radishes and greens, and dressed with spices and herbs, it tasted like something you would eat by the ocean during an exotic Mediterranean vacation.
We couldn’t pass on dessert, so we tried a deeply rich Taza chocolate tart with bourbon cream, and a creamy panna cotta with a blueberry reduction. Both desserts were luscious treats, and after having been enamored with the desserts at Craigie on Main, these were exactly the type of plates I expected from Tony Maws and his team.
The restaurant itself is casual and cozy, a neighborhood gastropub. Eater has beautiful photos of the interiors. I really enjoyed our first visit, and I know there’ll be plenty more. The food wasn’t fancy or too extreme, instead it was comforting and simple. Braised ribs, brussels sprouts, a good pork chop, grilled seafood, homemade spaghetti, and indulgent little desserts to end the meal. It seems that all the anticipation for this new restaurant is well worth it.
In other news, I am very saddened to hear about the passing of a great cook and Italian cookbook legend Marcella Hazan. I read lots of tributes since this weekend, and Ruth Reichl’s was particularly touching. I only came to discover Marcella Hazan’s recipes a couple of years ago, without realizing that my own mother is also a big fan. Last year, I wrote a Mother’s Day tribute for my mom, named Marcelia, and Mrs. Hazan somehow picked it up and posted it on her personal Facebook page with the note:
“Yes, I may have eaten alone, but I see that I am not alone. Thank you, Bianca”
I was thrilled that she shared my story, and more so that she said, “thank you, Bianca.” It felt like my first brush with greatness. Later that day, my mom also wrote to Mrs. Hazan, saying how she has always been a fan and that she never thought they would ever connect, and yet somehow, through my blog, they did.
Thank you, Marcella Hazan, for the sardine stories, your tomato sauce recipe, and for that little connection between you, and me, and my Marcelia.