On Monday, I headed out to Brookline to meet Christine and Steph for lunch. Steph is still relatively new to the Boston area and eager to try all the good food to be found. Since her office is in Brookline, I suggested The Regal Beagle in Coolidge Corner. I had a wonderful meal at The Regal Beagle close to a year ago and have been itching to go back ever since. I went for dinner that first time, when the restaurant was bustling and dimly lit, accentuating the dark, maroon color scheme of the space. It is quite different in the daytime. The room has a more relaxed feel with fewer people, unsurprisingly, and the natural light gives the space more of a cafe feel than the bistro appearance it takes on when the sun goes down.
The three of us were equally enticed by the quesadilla with butternut squash, black beans, cheddar and poblano peppers and decided to split it as an appetizer. The black beans and tender squash were melded together with a thick layer of cheddar. The tortilla was fried and nicely crisp against the soft fillings. A lemony mix of greens on top helped to counter the heft of the quesadilla.
Our server surprised us with a complimentary plate of dates stuffed with gorgonzola cheese and wrapped in bacon. I am always amazed by roasted dates. The dates alone are fairly meaty, with a tender sticky flesh and a skin that crisps and caramelizes when cooked.
Steph got the fish tacos with panko crusted cod, romaine, pickled red onion, chili-lime slaw and salsa roja. The plate was enormous with each taco taunting your willingness to pick it up and eat it with your hands.
Christine ordered one of the specials that day, a BLT with roast pork belly, a decadent pork lover’s dream.
Sometime in the last few months, I read a review that raved about Regal Beagle’s Persian lentil soup with sumac spiced yogurt and cilantro. I cannot for the life of me remember where it was, but that soup was certainly calling to me on a chilly afternoon. The soup was made with black beluga lentils, the kind that are very tiny and plump. They were tender without falling apart. The broth was very lemony thanks to the sumac, with just a little added tang from the yogurt. The flavor combination of the sumac, cilantro and the yogurt was complex and artfully balanced. I am immensely fond of all aspects of Regal Beagle. The restaurant itself is pleasant, the staff are exceedingly kind, and the food is magnificent. The dishes are creative yet completely approachable. The daily specials that Chef Laura Henry-Zoubir develops build off of an already inventive menu. You can find read them every evening on Twitter. And for any Food Network fanatics, Laura Henry-Zoubir, Regal Beagle’s chef, just won the most recent episode of Chopped. But we didn’t need Food Network to tell us she was talented; we already knew that.