I grew up in Newton, MA in a neighborhood called Newtonville (we are best known for the Star Market over the Mass Pike). Though we had a few restaurants in walking distance to our house (Cabots, a.k.a. ice cream mecca) we often ventured just a neighborhood away to Newton Centre for more options. Newton Centre is home to Johnny's Luncheonette, Union Street, Jumbo Seafood and of course, JP Licks.
About 15 months ago Newton Centre got a new addition. On the corner just before Union Street and Cafe Sol Azteca there now resides a Chilean restaurant called Comedor.
Comedor was opened by husband and wife team Jakob and Fernanda White. The couple met while studying Culinary Arts at Boston University. Post-school they both worked in the kitchen at Newton's 51 Lincoln. Jakob moved on to Waban Kitchen and Fernanda moved on to Sarma (same owners as Oleana and Sofra). Read more about their culinary journey here.
You can spot Comedor by its strands of lights illuminating the outdoor patio. The night we went it was absolutely freezing, but I am sure the patio is lovely when the sun is out.
Inside the restaurant is very spacious. In fact, it was about triple the size I thought it would be based on what you can see from the street.
The restaurant is split into three areas - the main dining room, the bar overlooking the open kitchen and then a second bar that is set back a bit.
We were seated at a table for two right by the front door. We had an amazing waiter who explained each section of the menu and happily recommended his favorite dishes when we asked.
We started by perusing the cocktail menu. The very first drink at the top of the list is named for the neighborhood, which I thought was a cute touch.
I went for the pomegranate and basil margarita and my dinner date got something called the fukunda grey which was earl grey infused vodka, elderflower, lemon, rosemary and honey.
The margarita was fantastic. Dangerously so. I could have had two or three more! My friend let me take a sip of her vodka drink and it was really nice. I was worried the elderflower would be overpowering (as it often is) but it was perfectly balanced.
With drinks in hand, we took a look at the full dinner menu. It was two sided, with meat and seafood on one side and vegetarian dishes and dessert on the other. My dinner date said, "Veggies and dessert together? It's like a Molly-specific menu!"
After we placed our order, our waiter delivered us a basket of poppy seed challah rolls, which were served warm.
For dinner, we were so excited by all the offerings that rather than just select one or two each, we decided to go for broke and share six dishes.
The first to arrive was the charred veggie salad which came with broccoli, carrots, quinoa and tangerine vinaigrette. The dish had bright, beautiful colors and the carrots and broccoli gave every single bite an awesome crunch. I am not normally a citrus person, but I really enjoyed this dressing.
Dish number two was the Brussels sprouts which were topped with what I can only describe as a salsa. We both wished the sprouts had been crispier or had a bit more seasoning to them.
Next up were the short rib tostadas which are served on sopaipillas with pumpkin queso and green papaya. My friend said, "The sopaipilla is a great vehicle for the short rib. They are the ideal size and have just the right amount of dough." She continued, "The short rib falls apart and melts in your mouth. The green papaya adds an excellent crunch."
After that we tried a dish our waiter suggested, the crispy piparras, which are like pepperoncinis. They come fried in tempura batter, drizzled with bourbon molasses and stacked on top of a bed of farm greens. These were super delicious! You get a subtle heat from the peppers and a great crisp from the batter. You can pop these like candy!
I have always said the best restaurant dishes are the ones you are craving again before you've even left and the piparras are one of those dishes!
We then moved on to the roasted cauliflower, served with garlic, chili flakes and a lentil salsa. I normally think of lentils as being mushy, but these were really delicious and a surprisingly great compliment to the cauliflower.
Our last savory dish was the spicy pistachio chicken wings. After a few bites my friend commented, "The wings are definitely spicy. Instead of ranch or blue cheese for dipping, it comes with whipped avocado, which helps cut through some of the heat."
With two cocktails and six dishes totally devoured you would think we would stop. Nope! Right when we first sat down we saw there was a dessert called the tempura fried brownie, so naturally we had to have it.
The dish comes with three brownie bites coated in tempura batter, beached against a sea of dulce de leche.
These were heavenly. They tasted like brownie batter (a little undercooked, in the best way) inside of a sweet tempura shell. They were extra amazing when you dunked them into the dulce de leche which is nice and thick and actually sticks to the brownie. This was a home run.
I have spent most of my life dining out in Newton Centre and it takes a lot for me to cheat on one of my usual spots. Comedor was 100 percent worth straying! Jakob and Fernanda have created a warm and welcoming space and a menu packed with creative dishes. I was extra thrilled by the wide variety of vegetarian options. Lastly, how could I not support a place that fries brownies? I mean, come on.