It was such a pleasant surprise dining at Tempo on a casual Tuesday night; I had never heard of this restaurant and they were absolutely terrific. Located on Moody Street - the always popular and bustling section of Waltham, Tempo offers new American fare in a revamped (after 10 years!) space featuring a gorgeous elongated bar, new acoustics, swanky decor points and comfortable seating. The restaurant is enveloped in warm chocolate brown tones with pops of color from the beautiful under the sea themed artwork.
The menu items we were treated to this evening thanks to owner Erin Barnacle and chef/owner Nathan Sigel were in collaboration with DRINKmaple - water made from the raw maple sap tapped from trees in Vermont. Chef Sigel commented that it was challenging to incorporate what is typically a fall ingredient with the summer season produce, however, he managed to flawlessly integrate DRINKmaple into these dishes and more!
We started the feast with a cup of Watermelon Gazpacho ($7). This chilled, velvety soup was a lovely prelude of sweet summer fruits, Amaretto and DRINKmaple foam. Beholding a tower of fresh greens, shaved red and yellow beets, radishes, waffle carrots, and whisps of manchego cheese over a swipe of roasted beet puree with a DRINKmaple dressing - the Local Farm Salad was a work of art, and one of the most beautiful summer salads I've had this season. The dressing was light and allowed the natural flavors of the vegetables to shine. Following the soup and salad we were presented with Grilled Shrimp and Corn Bruschetta over ricotta cheese. The toasts were easy to bite into with just a hint of crisp, and the ripe summer tomatoes and corn were bursting with freshness.
A very special signature cocktail Tap the Maple ($10) was inspired by the owner Erin's love of Blueberry pancakes with real maple syrup. Made with bourbon, muddled blueberries, lemon, DRINKmaple infused simple syrup, a dash of blueberry bitters and DRINKmaple ice cubes - this was, believe it or not, a very balanced and refreshing warm weather beverage. They also concocted a Summer Sap ($10) which combines the DRINKmaple with tequila, pomegranate juice, fresh lemon and lime.
Tempo offers an excellent wine program as well. Worth noting: You won't find any overpriced bottles of wine here! All of their wine pricing represents just ten dollars over normal retail (that said, some prices mixed in are even below the standard liquor store price.) What you will find is an enomatic wine dispenser - which allows guests a chance to taste some of their finer wines at a perfect temperature and reasonable price. Intrigued, we each chose a glass from the dispenser. The Wild Horse 'Cheval Sauvage' Pinot Noir (half $11 / full $20) 2008 vintage was just the right amount of chilled. You can read some spot on tasting notes here.
At this point we were stuffed, so we took most of the Grilled Hanger Steak ($27) and Grilled Salmon ($26) home with us. Both were a welcome leftovers dinner the next evening! The steak is all natural angus beef in a coffee and mesquite dry rub with au gratin potatoes, asparagus and a bourbon DRINKmaple cream.
The Wester Ross Organic Salmon was brined in DRINKmaple, served over a ricotta-walnut agnolotti with a smoked corn and maple cream.
But what we were not too stuffed for was dessert! Erin assured us they were small - which they indeed were. Not too small, but not overwhelming either.
After our DRINKmaple inspired feast the Passion Fruit Rice Pudding and the Nutella S'mores hit.the.spot.
I was so impressed with everything Tempo brought to the table. The seasonal menu plus the chefs DRINKmaple dishes were creative and inspired. With a lively, welcoming atmosphere, Tempo proves itself to be a Waltham neighborhood gem!
474 Moody St
Waltham, MA 02453