Tonight I had dinner at Sycamore in Newton Centre. I noticed it a few months ago while driving to one of my old high school spots and I was immediately intrigued. I did a little research and found out the chefs are formerly of Ten Tables and Craigie on Main - very impressive!
We arrived tonight at 7:15pm and the hostess let us know it would be just a five minute wait. I was expecting longer, so was thrilled to hear we'd soon be seated.
I took those five minutes to poke around the space.
It's impossible not to notice Sycamore's exposed brick walls. I have a love affair with exposed brick.
The industrial light fixtures and flickering tea lights give the whole dining room a warm glow.
Every single seat at the bar was taken. The bar seats are an even hotter commodity than the dining room tables.
We were seated in what is, in my opinion, the best part of the restaurant. There are three high top tables next to the bar that are perched right in the floor to ceiling windows that look out onto Beacon Street. This is the prime people watching spot.
Our waitress came over with menus which are clipped to a board with black binder clips.
Sycamore has the kind of napkins that have become increasing popular - white with the red farm house trim. I can't tell you how many restaurants have these now.
We flipped to page two of the menu to decide on drinks. My dinner date chose a glass of rose. Our waitress was kind enough to recommend another variety that she felt was superior. It's always nice when the wait staff are expertly trained and offer researched suggestions.
The rose was crisp, fruity and perfect for a warm summer night.
I went with a cocktail called the ghost of Mary. This is like a bloody Mary, but they strain the bloody Mary mix through a cheese cloth first, so you get all of the flavor without any of the clumps. The cocktail is garnished with a house pickled dilly bean (fancy word for green bean).
This cocktail was amazing! Everything you love about a bloody Mary, but far more sophisticated.
Sycamore has their wait staff bring around a giant basket of bread and then they individually lift one piece out of the basket and onto your bread plate. While I appreciate the formality of that, I'd rather have the bread basket on our table where we're free to attack it with reckless abandon.
The bread at Sycamore is the best kind - doughy center with a chewy, flavorful crust.
It took us a while to select our appetizers and entrees because their were so many outstanding choices. We started with the pickled garden vegetables. This bowl included cauliflower, onions and a very spiky green veggie called romanesco.
We also shared the marinated olives which were out of this world. The older I get, the more I can tell cheap olive oil from the real deal.
Once we finished the olives I sent my bread for a swim in the olive oil.
For her next course, my dinner date ordered the peach salad which came with smoked coppa and burrata cheese. If I ate meat, I would be all over this dish. My friend shared, "This was hands down my favorite. It was so light, yet had such a depth of flavor. I couldn't get over those freshly cut peaches!"
I dove into the grilled zucchini with greek yogurt and spiced pine nuts. I absolutely loved the presentation of the dish. The strategic placement of each piece of the zucchini was beautiful.
Lastly, my friend enjoyed the chilled basil and zucchini soup with crab. She said, "The crab was amazing - great and served raw. The soup didn't have as much taste as my salad, but that might just be because I had so much salt with the previous dish."
I rounded out my meal with the Equinox Farm greens salad which was sprinkled with shaved manchego cheese, almonds and crispy shallots. This is one of the best salad dishes I've ever had. It was packed with delicious goodies and the flavors were so harmonious. I will come back again and again just to order this.
Sycamore does have a dessert menu, but I already had my heart set on frozen yogurt at Sweet Tart which is two doors down. Despite that, I asked to see the menu so I'd know for next time. They have a disproportionate amount of fruits desserts - blueberry shortcake, stone fruit crisp and raspberry semifreddo - and only one that stood out to me: the warm sugared beignets served with chocolate sauce. I'll be back to taste test those.
When we left Sycamore and started to walk to our cars I was struck by how pretty the restaurant looks at night from the sidewalk. The warmth of the dining room radiates out onto the street and draws you in.
Thank you to the team at Sycamore for a lovely and delicious evening. I can't wait to come back!
Have you been to Sycamore? What was your favorite dish?