Monday, August 26, 2013

More honest food blogging: Lineage in Coolidge Corner

The wave-bar at Lineage.
My second Restaurant Week outing of the summer brought me to Lineage, just outside Coolidge Corner, which is best known for its subtle way with seafood.  But alas, the establishment's famous lobster tacos were not on the Restaurant Week menu - and somehow the partner unit and I both fell for the duck leg confit.  So I'm afraid I can't assess the house specialty!

Oh, well . . .

Despite some slight disappointment over that, we eagerly settled into the restaurant's front room (at left), which was elegantly - almost mutedly - appointed in tide-pool pastels; but frankly the resulting sense of calm felt like a balm after the assaultive clamor of so many other eateries. And there is one amusing quirk in the décor: oyster shells serve as the salt and pepper shakers (another nod to the sea).   

It didn't take us long to make our choices from the menu (we puzzled longer over the cocktails): in lieu of those lobster tacos, both my partner and I enjoyed small but luscious bowls of watermelon gazpacho. Now it's hard to go wrong with this particular dish in late summer, but Lineage did do it up right; sweet and palpably fresh, our dollops of citrusy stew were also suffused with hints of the sun-kissed tomatoes at their base. Delicious, but I'm afraid not much more than literal dollops - several spoonfuls more and these still could have counted as appetizer-sized.  I paired mine with one of the restaurant's signature cocktails - I thought I ordered the "Delapierre" (vodka, orange, mint lime), but I think I got the "Elevation" instead (gin, crème de violette, Cocchi, lemon).  Not that I minded - I'd been on the fence between the two anyway, and I decided the muted lemon of the "Elevation" threw the sweet edge of the gazpacho into a cleaner and more appealing relief.

The partner unit and I remained in sync for the entrée as well: duck leg confit, which was done pretty much to perfection (i.e., deliciously crisp crust encasing succulent flesh), and came with a tasty but conventional side of Yukon potatoes; the surprise of the dish turned out to be the vinaigrette dressing on its bed of frisée: heirloom tomatoes were again the base, and they gave the sauce a warm complexity.  Our server recommended a Pinot noir with the main course, but I've forgotten whose it was; at any rate, it was dry and elegantly balanced, with perhaps more notes of earth than fruit - but as the confit itself was somewhat restrained, they made a good match.

At last my date and I diverged in our choice of dessert - he went for the "fromage blanc" cheesecake, I bet on the chocolate mousse with espresso cream. And frankly, I think I won, although the cheesecake was memorably creamy, with a piquant edge.  But the mousse was divinely dark and rich, and for once there was plenty of it. The house decaf was likewise tasty - and I realized almost nothing had gone wrong all night. Well, I got the wrong cocktail - but it turned out I liked it. I suppose I could nit-pick over other aspects of the meal - the gazpacho was delicious, but the serving a tad stingy; the confit was likewise excellent, but only its accompanying vinaigrette had a spritz of surprise. At a price point approaching $80 apiece after cocktails and wine (and tip), some of these issues might count more to you than they did to me. My partner and I were more than happy to bask in a meal well-done, served in gently civilized surroundings.

("Honest food blogging" means we paid for everything.  Our previous Restaurant Week foray was to La Voile (see below).)

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