The neighborhood of Allston is known for its two very colorful populations - Boston University students and rowdy, recent college grads. Over the past few years, several killer restaurants have moved in to help feed this hungry 'hood - Lone Star Taco Bar, Roxy's Grilled Cheese, LuLu's, Whole Heart Provisions and more. The newest addition is Hopewell Bar and Kitchen, on the corner of Commonwealth Avenue and Spofford Road.
The restaurant is on the ground floor of a beautiful, gray building. I love the ornate details on the bay windows above the front door.
We arrived at 7:15pm and were seated right away at a high top table, spitting distance from the Shuffleboard table.
When we first sat down, no one was playing so I barely noticed it. When a few guys stumbled in after the Bruins game (complete with hats and jerseys) and started rolling pucks and dropping F bombs, I couldn't help giving them a few old lady eye rolls.
Our waitress popped over with menus and we perused the drinks. They have rosé by the glass (bonus) and it comes in these very sophisticated stemless glasses.
For food, we started with two appetizers - the garlic knots and the house-made potato chips with warm blue cheese dip. The knots were the first to arrive and I was not one bit disappointed that they were covered in cheese.
Like civilized women, we cut the knots on our bread plates (into about four pieces each) and then dunked those in the marinara sauce.
One of my friends at this dinner is a pastry chef and makes bread and rolls frequently. She said, "I wish they had let the knots brown a bit more before taking them out." I didn't mind their texture, but I did mind how thin the marinara sauce was. It was a bit too runny for me.
The house-made chips came in a super generous portion. This is a great plate to share with friends.
The blue cheese dip wasn't overly pungent (as blue can be) and had a nice thickness to it. A friend commented, "This may be random, but this tastes like Welsh rarebit to me." I wasn't familiar (it's ok if you're not, read up here) so she had to explain that to me.
We all agreed the chips were quite greasy, but had we been a few beers deep, we probably wouldn't have even noticed.
About four minutes into enjoying our appetizers, our waitress reappeared with our entrees. This is one of my biggest pet peeves in restaurants - crappy pacing of courses. We didn't have a spare inch on the table, so she whisked away all of our bread plates and we had to do some serious Tetris-like maneuvers to fit all the dinner plates, along with the appetizers and drinks.
The friend sitting to my left ordered one of the evening's specials, a salad topped with a goat cheese croquette. Who could resist?
The salad was arugula, red onion and strawberries over an avocado mousse. When I asked how she was enjoying it, she replied, "It is definitely overdressed. I would order it again, but ask for the dressing on the side."
To my right, our friend ordered the harvest wedge salad which was iceberg lettuce, roasted butternut squash and apples, bacon, blue cheese crumbles and blue cheese dressing.
She commented, "My salad is overdressed too. That being said, this was a really generous portion of lettuce, as well as the toppings. Most wedge salads just have blue cheese and bacon. I wish the apples had been diced small instead of cut into slices, so I could have had more pieces with every bite."
I went with the grilled cheese and tomato bisque (surprise, surprise). My sister is always teasing me that I should have a second blog just to rate grilled cheeses, margherita pizzas and veggie burgers. The Hopewell version was excellent. The sandwich is made with three types of cheese, pressed between two slices of Iggy's focaccia bread.
The sandwich tasted even better when dunked into the roasted tomato and fennel bisque. It was wonderfully creamy.
This soup reminded me so much of the tomato soup at Not Your Average Joe's, which is one of my favorites. This is a hearty bowl of soup, giving you plenty to dunk into, with more than half left to enjoy with your spoon (after you've inhaled the sandwich).
We didn't stay for dessert because we already had a cake waiting at home (the perks of being friends with a pastry chef), but they had something on the menu called a triple chocolate bomb, which I will definitely be investigating on my next visit.
Hopewell Bar and Kitchen is the perfect place to grab a bite before a concert at Great Scott or to refuel after a power-shopping trip at TJ Maxx.