The Ham Biscuits at B3: Benton's Ham, Buttermilk Biscuits, Pimento Cheese and Tobasco Honey.
Is location everything? For years many have said it is but I disagree. If a talented Chef is putting out great fare with a refreshing concept in a comfortable space people will find their way. Even in spots where multiple other ventures have failed some Chefs and their teams have totally turned it around into a resounding success. Think Pizzeria Posto in Davis Square or Boston Chops in the South End.
So, when we recently visited Back Bay Beats on Mass Avenue near the Symphony we wondered. It is traditionally a restaurant dead zone and has been since it was my old stomping grounds with Northeastern University friends many years ago. Yet I don't think that location is going to hold this one back.
Pork Belly Rillette: Cognac Marinated Pork Belly, Orange Zest and Fruit Mostarda.
Chef Nicolas Swogger (formerly of Hungry Mother) brings a Southern influence to the menu. It shows in the pimento cheese and collard greens and, yes, the food is excellent. Everything we were served that night was right on the money. Start off with the Ham Biscuits pictured above.
Fried Oysters: Buttermilk and Cornmeal Battered Oysters with Comeback Sauce. What is Comeback Sauce? A New Orleans staple it is a mix of ketchup, mayo and chili sauce. I am not a raw oyster eater. I loved this.
Red Snapper Crudo: Raw Sliced Red Snapper, Beet Chips, Sriracha, Baby Arugala, Clementine Segments, Olive Oil and Maldon Salt. Very nice and beautiful on the plate.
Pork Loin: Pork Loin with Bacon and Collard Green Stuffing, Cornmeal Spaetzle, Pecans and Pot Licker Gastrique. This was our favorite taste of the night. I just loved the idea of spaetzle, typically a German dish made with a dough ball grated into boiling water for a noodle type starch, gone Southern. Here the dough is made of corn meal and grated right into a vat of oil for a golden fry. I could go back just to eat a plate of these.
We also sampled an Apple and White Chocolate Bread Pudding (not pictured) that was every bit deserving of a fine, home style Southern dessert.
The space is simple and modern, without pretension and part of the Berklee College Of Music campus. It follows that students and music will be part of the mix with a state-of-the-art performance area and lots of musical talent waiting in the wings to perform.
Live music sessions will happen Monday - Saturday at 7:00 and 9:00 PM, for Sunday Brunch at 11:30AM and 1:00 PM and then again for Sunday Supper at 5:30 and 7:00 PM. As much as I am not a Southern boy the Sunday Supper event is a nostalgic touch for me and, I think, a great idea. Instead of the typical Friday dinner out spend the weekend relaxing and end it with a great meal, a cocktail and live music. The juxtaposition of all the elements seems to be a feature we think will result in a hit.
B3: Back Bay Beats
160 Massachusetts Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
This dinner was part of a media night event with no promise for any editorial consideration.