I’ve been wanting to go to dBar for 6 years. The first day I moved to Boston, I went to lunch at the Parish Cafe, whose menu used to feature a sandwich from dBar. Created by executive chef Chris Coombs, the sandwich is as follows: a pan fried and breaded veal cutlet sandwich on a toasted baguette, topped with applewood smoked bacon and melted gruyere cheese, tomato-caper relish and tarragon-mustard aioli. Umm, yea…if that’s not an indicator of a great restaurant I don’t know what is. I’ve had the sandwich (many times) but for whatever reason I never made it out to dBar.
Then last night at a Red White Boston event, I asked Meghan about it. I knew from her blog that she had been there and she lives in the same ‘hood. She confirmed what I suspected by saying she absolutely loved it and never had a bad experience. After the event my friends and I drove straight to Dorchester to finally try it out.
The second I walked in I wanted it to be my neighborhood bar. We immediately felt at home in the dimly-lit comfortable setting, which is perfect for a night you don’t feel like cooking. It wasn’t too packed, the staff was casual and friendly, and almost everyone there was enjoying some very colorful mid-week cocktails. We got colorful cocktail FOMO and decided to indulge a little big ourselves… I tried the Salt & Pepper Margarita: Peppercorn-infused tequila with salt & pepper rim. I loved how simple the concept of this drink was, add pepper to margarita to pair it with the salt. Genius! It tasted like a perfectly prepared classic marg with a twist. Erika tried the Belle Di Brillet Sidecar: French Pear Cognac, fresh sours & sugar rim. This was great. It’s the kind of cocktail that really wakes you up when you take a sip. It had an immediate bite from the cognac with a sweet finish. Katie tried The Latest Fashion: (best description ever) Because We’re new and trendy but can appreciate a good old fashioned bourbon cocktail. This cocktail had the distinct taste of allspice added to it, making it warm and easy to drink. Bottom line: dBar has great cocktails.
The appetizer menu stumped us. Everything looked great — each dish was a modern and creative take on a classic, and it was definitely not limited one specific cuisine. We decided on the Herb Crusted Beef Carpaccio with Shaved rare beef Entrecôte with shaved Manchego, toasted walnuts Roasted Cipollini Onions, cornichons, tabbouleh, Arugula, & rosemary mustard aioli. Not a classic beef carpaccio, but well prepared and delicious nonetheless. I thought the toppings were kind of random, but it worked! The tabbouleh was an unsuspecting standout addition to the dish. We also started with the Crab and Fourme D’ambert Rangoons Lump crab, Avocado, blood Orange Supremes Tarragon-Mustard Aioli, & Pickled Red Cabbage. I’ve never had crab rangoons with so many fruits and vegetables. They really lightened up the heaviness of the filling (which was creamy and chock-full of crab), plus the cabbage was addicting. And I’ll take tarragon-mustard aioli over duck sauce any day.
And because Bolognese was on the menu, we obviously had to order it. The dish: Penne à la Bolognaise: Veal, beef, & pancetta, creamy tomato sauce, parmigiano reggiano & fresh herbs. I mean look at it, it’s perfect! Everything from the ratio of meat and tomatoes in the sauce, to the al dente penne, to the sheer amount of carrots, to the pasta / sauce ratio (which is a big one for me) was well executed. The cream in the sauce differentiated it from other bolognese’s I’ve had. It was just enough to make a difference in taste, but not too much to make the sauce heavy. This plate was cleaned in no time.
And finally, Seared Diver’s Scallops: lemon glazed day boat scallops, cumin-carrot risotto, & asparagus two ways. The asparagus puree was garlicky and paired nicely with the creamy risotto, the scallops were seared to perfection, and the huge chunks of carrot were a really nice touch as well. And it looks like a yin-yang and that has to count for something!
Then at the end of meal the manager came to see how we liked it. Which we did! He was so nice and ended up bringing us some complimentary desserts. That’s the kind of restaurant dBar is.
And I should mention the service because it was great. Our waiter, Scott, patiently answered our 20 questions about the menu and made great suggestions. He was always there when we needed him.
All in all, if dBar was around the corner from my apt I would be there every night! With casual atmosphere, service and prices, you would expect casual food — but the food is well prepared, creative and thoughtful.