I headed home to the ‘burbs to vote this past Tuesday and do my civic duty (p.s. Go Obama!), and after all that do-gooding found myself quite hungry. I decided to make the most of my suburban location and try a local “hot spot.”
I had the great pleasure of dining with one of my foodie idols—my mom—to whom I owe my love of food and my Italian heritage (which, now that I think about it, are probably interrelated…).
So Mom and I decided to try award-winning Sintra in Braintree. If Sintra was a cocktail, I would describe it as one part contemporary American cuisine, two parts Portuguese/Mediterranean influence, and a splash of Buena Vista Social Club soundtrack. But I’m getting ahead of myself… let me start from the beginning.
It was very quiet when we walked in (of course it was a rainy Tuesday in February after all), but that didn’t detract from the warmth of the interior (but I don’t mean warmth literally; I actually was cold enough to put on my jacket). The muted colors, chic décor, and inviting bar were much more Central Square than South Braintree Square—a pleasant surprise.
After we ordered, our waitress brought us some bread to start off with. Most of the time bread is such an after-thought at restaurants, but clearly this was not the case here, as it was warm and salty and tasted amazing dipped in the olive oil provided. So far, we were definitely members of the “clean plate club,” as my Mom put it.
We ordered a mixed green salad with radish, orange, ricotta salata and a sherry-mustard vinaigrette ($7) to split as an appetizer. It was pretty small, but they were kind enough to split it on two plates which is always a nice touch. It was a nice, slightly bitter salad that was simple yet delicious. The oranges were definitely a nice touch.
I selected baked haddock with potatoes au gratin and a butternut squash puree ($21) as my entree. The haddock, which had the potential to be bland and unappetizing, was light and flaky, and packed a pleasant crunch from lemon breadcrumbs. The puree was exquisite, every morsel melting in my mouth, leaving behind a hint of brown sugar. And the potatoes au gratin were sliced thin and were not overwhelmed by cheese.
My mom ordered the grilled Atlantic salmon with roasted beets and horseradish whipped potatoes ($22). The horseradish whipped potatoes are definitely not for the faint of heart—they packed a kick! But they were a huge hit with us, as we are huge fans of horseradish and love when chefs aren’t afraid to use it (love it in the roast beef lyonnaise sandwich at Charley’s on Newbury St. – but I digress).
Owners Brian Jenkins (also the Chef) and Scott McGoldrick did the impossible: they made me wish for a second I lived in South Braintree Square. Just for a split second though…. Shh, don’t tell anyone.