Dining on Duck at The Fireplace in Brookline (MA)

On a wintry day, a roaring fire from within the kitchen’s brick oven greeted us at The Fireplace in Brookline’s Washington Square.  The Fireplace’s sophisticated fare perfectly matched with impeccable service and an upscale atmosphere, reminiscent of an old New England lodge, satisfies the desire for fine farm-to-table dining in the Boston area.

Instead of whiskey, tempting on a frigid wintry evening to warm the inwards, I tried a house cocktail of Hurricane Rum, consisting of rum from Nantucket’s Triple Eight Distillery, fresh limes, and house made ginger beer.  Exquisitely sour and strong, the flavors were nonetheless delicious and balanced.

We started with a tart of honey braised beets, brandy spiked apples, and herbed goat cheese.  Right off the bat, I knew we were in for a good night.  Warm and sweet, creamy and salty, I never knew a tart to be this good.  There was simply so much flavor, and yet it was neither overbearing on the palette nor too little a portion as a starter.

Duck tempted us for dinner, and we couldn’t resist ordering the duck confit salad as well as the crispy duck plate.  A generous helping of seared confit duck rose atop a bed of arugula tossed with dried apricots, pickled heirloom radish, Bayley Hazen blue cheese (from Vermont’s Jasper Hill Farm), pickled red onions and lemon vinaigrette.  Every magnificent bite was better than the last.  The crispy duck proved just as amazing, although the name of the dish was a bit misleading.  Due to the gorgeous piece of fat upon the breast and medium-rare temperature, it was more chewy than crispy.  Still, there’s no complaint here.  Juicy duck soaked in a port cherry sauce complimented by bites of roasted vegetables? Yes, please.  And, as if that weren’t enough, the duck plate included a cornmeal wrap of duck confit which proved very helpful in sopping up the last puddles of the sweet sauce.

After all that food, the desserts couldn’t tempt us, not even the Stone Ground Organic Taza Chocolate Fudge Cake with Creamy Peanut Butter Sauce and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.  The Fireplace won the chocolate pastry prize at the 2012 Chocolate Madness fundraiser held by NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts for its Taza chocolate bread pudding with salted caramel and coffee cream.

Our friendly waitress fielded query after query and after asking after the farms they used, she sent over the manager who printed out an extensive list of all their local purveyors.  This generous gesture was not lost on someone familiar with the closely guarded secrets of a kitchen (perhaps why I never heard back about where their duck was from!).  The Fireplace also earns kudos for its commitment to the Green Restaurant Association’s Environmental Guidelines and its status as a Certified Green Restaurant.  [The Fireplace, 1634 Beacon Street, 617.975.1900, Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:00AM-2:30PM, Dinner: Sun-Wed 5:00PM-10:00PM, Thurs-Sat 5:00PM-11:00PM, Brunch: Sat-Sun 11:00AM-2:30PM www.fireplacerest.com/ ]
(Lucas Knapp, GoodEatsGuru)


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