Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Lineage - Hot New Spot in Coolidge Corner

Click image to get a closer look. Yum.

Coolidge Corner in Brookline has a lot of restaurants. But let’s face it. There aren’t many that stand out. Most are mediocre establishments that may leave you feeling full but not necessarily satisfied. Enter Lineage. A wonderful new addition to the neighborhood that competes with some of Boston’s finest restaurants.

Lineage is owned by former Great Bay chef, Jeremy Sewall, so it’s no surprise the food is amazing. Also on the team is Jeremy’s wife, Lisa, who is a former pastry chef at L’Espalier (what delicious dinners they must have at home). Add some of the friendliest staff I’ve ever met, minimalist but cozy décor and a warm bar (literally, due to the “cool” wood stove behind it), and you’ve got a winning combination.

It’s hard to believe that Lineage has only been open since the end of February. Already the restaurant is running like a well-oiled machine. The staff is on top of their game — they’re attentive and knowledgeable, ready to make recommendations and answer any questions you may have. Our food was delivered in a timely manner and the presentation of each dish was impeccable.

The chef seems to have his wood burning stove routine down pat. He goes back and forth from the kitchen, carrying his cast iron pans and adorable individual serving casseroles to either cook or finish the dishes in the oven. Those pans must get heavy after awhile but all that hard work pays off. The smells coming out of that oven are incredible – is that truffle oil?

The cuisine can be classified as upscale American with both French and Italian influence. You’ll find an array of choices as well as price tags on the menu so you can go the budget route ($9.00 for a wood-grilled pizza) or splurge a bit ($28 for the Grilled New York Steak with gruyère potatoes and French green beans).

My sister, Donna, and I had a tough time ordering because with a menu like this, we wanted to be sure we ordered different items so we could sample a bit of everything.

I finally settled on the Duck Confit Canneloni for an appetizer and the Idaho Golden Trout for my entrée. I noticed that they had Organic White Grits on the menu. How many places in Boston have grits on the menu? I figured if they were going to attempt to make them, they must be good. When I found out they were from a farm in South Carolina, I was sold. My friend, Jen who lives down there steered me towards grits when I visited and I remember they were heavenly.

In terms of the Duck Confit Canneloni I have to say I’ve never met a duck confit I didn’t like. And this was no exception. The duck was pulled (like pulled pork) and wrapped in a large sheet of pasta, cooked in a cast iron casserole with leeks and melted piave which I discovered was an Italian sheep’s milk cheese (just when I thought I knew every cheese…). This was an appetizer believe it or not. In the future, I would be happy to order this as my entrée. It’s a generous serving and quite filling.

You don’t see trout often on menus. I thought the combination of the fish with pearl pasta, bacon, almonds and French green beans sounded appealing. This dish exceeded my expectations. First of all, it was gorgeous to look at. And once I took a bite of the fish I knew this was no ordinary fish dish. It was moist, flaky and the skin was nice and crisp. The sides were all cooked to perfection and I believe the bacon was Italian pancetta, cut in cubes with loads of flavor.

The grits were, let’s just admit it, sinful. Penance is a 5-mile run on the Charles for this one. But so worth it. Creamy, fluffy, buttery and cheesy (they use the same piave cheese that is in the Duck Confit Canneloni). The grits are an alterative to mashed potatoes you should definitely try.

My sister was not complaining about her order either. She was one happy camper and loved her Braised Cod Cheeks appetizer (yes, it’s actually the meat from the cheeks of the cod fish – go figure). The cod is cooked in tomatoes with chorizo (Portuguese sausage) with oregano and golden raisins. Raisins? Yes. It’s a nice sweet/savory pairing that works very well. Kudos.

The entrée that spoke her name was the Hand Rolled Gnocchi, which was served with baby spinach, shitake mushrooms and topped with parmesan cheese and a little butter. The gnocchi were like little pillows – light, airy and nap inducing. It may be the best gnocchi we’ve ever had. Although Donna couldn’t quite finish the dish, she was not leaving it behind. A doggy bag was definitely in order.

We had some terrific drinks to sip along with dinner. I ordered the delicious Pear Sidecar which was made with a pear liqueur called Pear de Brillet along with sour mix, vodka and a blood orange garnish (which I recommend squeezing into the drink). My sister had the Pomegranate Punch which actually packed a serious punch. Wow.

For dessert, we decided to split the Butterscotch Pudding. While we obviously didn’t have much room left, we made room for this creamy, delicious dessert. It’s so much more than a pudding, more of a parfait. Delightful.

In case you’re wondering where the name Lineage comes from, it’s a local family affair. Jeremy is a descendent of Judge Samuel Sewall, a prominent Brookline resident in the 17th century. Just around the corner from the restaurant lies Sewall Avenue, named for the Judge. How very Boston.

If (when!) you go to Lineage, try and sit at the bar and enjoy the warmth of the wood burning stove as well as Nathan, your friendly neighborhood bartender and multi-tasker. Tell him I sent you.

242 Harvard Street, Brookline, MA 02445, 617.232.0065
Open for dinner, Tuesday thru Sunday at 5pm
Sunday brunch, 10:30 – 2:30


Anonymous Donna said...

I worked in this area for many years and always lamented the fact that there just wasn't a really a great place to eat. There is now! I have tried many incarnations of cod, and the Cod Cheeks were incredible. Happy birthday, Lynne. You're still the baby.

2:29 PM  
Anonymous madeira mama said...

Sounds like such a wonderful evening. Your descriptions of the meal makes one want to fly to Lineage's.

11:06 AM  
Blogger sheri said...

OK, gotta jump in and comment on the comment about Coolidge Corner restaurants. Agreed, there are some "eh" places (including Lucy's which was there b4 lineage), BUT there are some fabulous places there too. It is an asian-food-lovers mecca to start. Here are my favorite highlights:

1.) Fugakyu -- best spicy tuna in the country. I really believe this. You have not lived until you have tried their spicy tuna. I won't even order it anywhere else anymore. And best overall sushi in Boston. Head and shoulders above Ginza. Plus you can sit in these little bamboo booths where they slide the doors closed so you have your own little room.

2.) Pho Lemongrass -- amazing vietnamese food. Killer spring rolls (best I've had in Boston). Try the Pork Bun if you haven't had it. They also have the roll-your-own rice noodle dishes, and a fun cook-the-meat-at-your-table dish (in this savory broth) - yum. It has gotten Best of Boston a Bunch of times. Simply delightful.

3.) Khao Sarn -- one of the best Thai places in Boston. Highlights are the Sweet Pork Appetizer, another one with little leaves that have coconut and other stuff (a traditiaonl thai dish), a wrapped shrimp appetizer, and Pad See Ew. They have a delicious mango-infused vodka martini (and some herbaceous-infused thing that doesn't taste good, but is supposed to be good for you!). But the most outstanding thing there is the Thai Custard, served wtih sticky rice. It's my favorite dessert in Boston. There is a good mango coconut rice dessert also that is good. Feels more authentic than your average Thai food. It's a neat place.

4. Zaftigs Deli. Great breakfast spot, and they have the best brekfast dish going (well, maybe second to Great Bay's Duck Confit Benedict!!). It's called San Francisco Joe's eggs: scrambled eggs mixed with homemade turkey sausage, mushrooms, spinach, and asiago cheese.

Just outside of Coolidge Corner are Matt Murphys in Brookline Village and the Publick House in Washington Square - two very cozy pubs (kind of place you want to be during a snowstorm) serving way-better-than-your-average-pub food. And very affordable prices. You won't be disappointed at either. The Publick House also has hundreds of beer selections, and they do beer & cheese tasting on Wednesdays (I think).

Everything else in that area is just so-so. But I'll tell you, if I moved to California tomorrow -- the restaurant in all of Boston I would miss most, would be Fugakyu. There are great restaurants everywhere, but that spicy tuna is something special.

3:41 PM  
Blogger Lynne said...

thx sheri. you are definitely more of an expert in that 'hood. personally, i think fugakyu is way overrated and Khao Sarn is eh to me. i've been to zaptigs once and liked it a lot - like you said, good for breakfast. i think i've been to a different location of pho lemongrass and liked it as well.

10:10 PM  
Blogger denise said...

denise r said, we loved Linegage. Went with 8 people and everyone loved what they had. The osso bucco, the scallops and the steak were the big hits as main dishes with the crab cake the star of the appetizers. The service was awesome. The desserts were all amazing. We tried almost all of them. The highlights were the butterscoth pudding, choc cake and profiteroles. We would all go back

4:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We live in Coolidge Corner and when we first moved we were excited about all the restaraunt in the area - but after 6 months I have to say that most are quite ordinary. Fugakyu is not 'real' sushi - rather it is for sushi for non sashimi eaters. Pho Lemongrass is mediocre at best and Khao Sarn is quite nice - decent food with good service but none of this food is really authentic. It has been watered down for non-Asian taste buds. Love Coolidge Corner otherwise though!!! ZJAN

12:21 PM  

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