In early September of 2010, 26 year old chef Christopher Coombs opened Deuxave, named creatively for the two avenues (Commonwealth and Massachusetts) that intersect the location, hoping to fill a niche for less expensive high end dining in the Back Bay.We began our evening at the polished marble bar lined with flameless candles, the space was dimly lit and exuded a romantic elegance. From an admirable craft cocktail menu I chose the Red Charlotte ($11) a blend of vodka, red wine reduction, allspice, double citrus and champagne. The red wine and allspice were doubly fitting for the holiday and the wintry weather, balanced by bright citrus flavors and bubbles. I adored this drink.
Shortly after ordering drinks, we were lead down a narrow hallway bordered by plush booths, into the sophisticated gray toned dining room past a crackling fire set in an exposed stone fireplace. Sharp nooks lined with dark wood tables were offset by creamy gauze curtains. Bulbs glowed from behind white rectangular panels of a funky oversized chandelier. Through large arched windows offset with brick we gazed at the fancy residences on Mass Ave. With three fantastic sounding options for each course, we had some tough decisions on our hands. We never felt rushed though and took our time deciding while mingling with the friendly couple next to us. They were fishing up dessert and eager to offer recommendations. (And quick to comment the second I whipped out my camera, they seemed excited about the fact that I was photographing the meal.) I started with the Coeur a la Foie Gras Torchon (Coeur means heart in French! loving this) which came with equally adorable crispy toast hearts. The smooth buttery foie was nicely accented by a persimmon and pistachio chutney, perfect swirls of pomegranate pepper syrup as well the juicy airils and tangy hearts of fire. This course was so pretty and creative, not to mention the perfect portion. (Not too filling, but not too measly, either.) The meal was off to a great start. The "Night Moves" Scituate Lobster Gnocchi is both quizzical and typical on paper; whats with the night moves?! / lobster gnocchi - been there, done that. Our nice neighbors recommended this first and without hesitation, so I had to go for it. Turns out, "Night Moves" is the name of the ship that brings in the catch and you'd be hard pressed to find it used in such extraordinary fashion, so been there done that this dish is certainly not. Unexpected ingredients like green grapes and pearl onions, along with curried walnuts and foraged mushrooms mingle with plenty of lobster chunks and a whole claw. The potato gnocchi is browned just so to offer a wisp of crispiness with every bite. The citrus fricasse is complex as it mingles with the flavors of the six components. I loved creating different bites with each of them. I loved this dish. For my main course I feasted on the Lamb Trio including a Colorado Rack Persillade, Merguez Sausage and a Pave of Milk Braised Shoulder. The rack was served rare, bright pink and tender, encrusted by a crispy persillade which added a nice garlicky flavor. This was my first time ever having Merguez, (a fresh lamb sausage) it was soft in texture and heavily spiced, complimented by green flageolets (a type of kidney beans). Finally, the shoulder was a small rectangular cube which was braised until crispy on the outside, with strands of shredded meat on the inside. Everything was served over the natural jus, a bright fennel-parsley puree and crispy escarole. This was another dynamic plate of food, and once again I truly enjoyed everything about it. I was also impressed at how swiftly and evenly paced this meal was. The wait time in between each course was spot on, never rushed but never too long.
Ending the evening on another high note A Chocolate Love Affair was a whimsical plate of what I crave most on Valentines day. A brushstroke of sticky sweet raspberry was a necessary contrast to the rich dark chocolate torte, a dense chocolate cake and white chocolate bombes.
The prix fix menu this evening was $99. Regardless of the high priced holiday, a meal here can certainly add up. If you were to indulge in four courses of a similar nature here on any other day, your food would be about $90. (But then, you wouldn't get foie gras shaped hearts!) Adam realistically (and generously) spent more simply because it was Valentine's day. However, assuming your average meal is not going to be four courses to yourself, the good news is it can only get more affordable from there.
Deuxave is at once an establishment that caters to its wealthy neighbors and a destination worthy of a splurge. At the forefront are charismatic plates of exemplary food and cocktails. Add this Back Bay restaurant to your Boston must visit list for sure!