1634 Beacon Street
Brookline, MA 02446.
I dined at the Fireplace Restaurant in Brookline and found it to be a good spot for a nice meal. The restaurant is located at the corner of Beacon and Washington street and has an interesting and inviting exterior facade. Fireplace is certified as a "Green Restaurant" which means that it has committed to be environmentally friendly and make at least four environmental changes a year. I'm no expert on the green movement in general, but it all sounds good. Green certification aside, Fireplace gives the impression that it focuses on locally sourced produce and meats.
Calling itself a "New England Grill," the Fireplace has a menu that you would expect to see at a mid-to-upscale American restaurant, but with some interesting twists. The menu has the usual calamari and Caesar, but also offers a "Vegetarian Steak Frites" which is a portabella "steak " prepared with garlic puree and blue cheese. I wasn't in the mood to be teased by a fake steak, so I didn't try it. What I did sample was quite good. Our cheerful waitress offered us a list of specials. One such special, a salad with apples, caramelized pecans and blue cheese, which we ordered, was both refreshing and fulfilling. I also tried the "Rhode Island Style" fried calamari that was served with lemon aioli and a marinara sauce. I found the calamari to be quite boring, though I had a sufficient enough quantity of the fried products to suggest otherwise. My major contention with the calamari was that it wasn't what had been advertised. Rhode Island style calamari, generally speaking, is spicy and sauteed with peppers of some sort (often Calabrese or spicy cherry peppers). The calamari served by the Fireplace had no peppers and didn't contain any hint of spice. Disappointing.
The miss on the calamari was quickly forgotten as the the entrees were quite good. I sampled from two entrees, which had both been recommended by our waitress. The first was the pan seared duck breast which came coated with a blackberry glaze and was served alongside duck confit and green beans. I asked that the carrot mashed potatoes that were advertised be replaced with crispy french fries. The waitress and chef cheerfully complied. The second entree, the "Samuel Adams Marinated Pork Porterhouse" came served over a corn polenta with garlic spinach. The pork was fantastic -- well flavored, and with excellent accompaniments. I found it to be the signature dish.
The cocktails we ordered were pricey -- $10 for martinis and $9 for assorted other cocktails. The blueberry martini, which had been recommended, wasn't a very palatable drinks -- it came served with tiny bits of ice, much like a slushie -- not my favorite. The blueberry mojita was better, but not spectacular. After trying two of the signature cocktails, I finally settled on a Grey Goose and soda and found satisfaction in simplicity.
If you're in the neighborhood, and in the mood for pleasant service and good food, the Fireplace is a good option. Check times, because the kitchen closes at varying hours during the week -- from an early 10pm to 11pm on some nights.