Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Tel Veh

We live in a condo building that has been searching for a retail tenant for over six years.  During that time, we've chatted with our neighbors about what kind of place we'd like to have take over that space.  I think we found our answer in Tel Veh.  Tel Veh is a cafe and wine bar in the ground level of the 400 Mass condo building.  It's noisy as heck inside during happy hour, but quieted down nicely as the evening wore on.

They have a menu of small plates, charcuterie, cheese and wine that we were expecting to be just average.  We ended up very impressed by all of the food and jealous of the 400 Mass folks who have this downstairs.  Here's a quick play-by-play of our meal:

Rocket Salad:  grilled haloumi cheese, sundried tomatoes, sunflower seeds and honey balsamic.  How can you go wrong with grilled cheese?

Octopus with roasted red peppers, capers and an onion vinaigrette.  Perfectly cooked octopus.  We even liked it better than Mike Isabella's octopus at Graffiato.

Truffled seafood risotto.  Your standard risotto with the addition of a giant prawn and some well-cooked mussels and clams.

Herb-crusted rack of lamb.  B will love any lamb dish.  The true test is whether I loved it . . . and I did!

Selection of three cheeses.  I thought they were too skimpy on the accompaniments but they were nice and gave us more of the awesome fig jam when we licked the first serving dry.

We had a great Friday night dinner at Tel Veh and would probably be regulars if we lived upstairs.  The prices are a bit steep during the regular dinner hour, but check out their happy hour specials to save a few bucks.

Second Thoughts from B

It takes a lot to compose the perfect evening.  Food, atmosphere, service, company, occasion, state of mind.  But when they do come along, you remember.  Tel Veh was not perfect, but it reminded me of another night that was.

We have some good friends that live in the Bay Area.  On one particular visit they took us to a typical California wine bar that was not unlike Tel Veh.  Though it was several years ago, I can still taste the cheese, nuts, honey, and fruit that seems so typical of that region.  I remember the relaxed atmosphere and the comfort of old friends.  It was a perfect night and one I've longed to recreate.

When I come home from work, I'm often greeted with the question, "What do you want to do tonight?"  My answer of "whatever" is my inarticulate way of saying I am happy to go along with whatever my foodie wife has in mind.  On this particular night, J had two options in mind and when one was described as a California wine bar with tapas, charcuterie and cheese, I was sold.  Why?  Because of memories of that perfect night in the Bay Area.

With those kinds of expectations, Tel Veh was set up to fail.  Sure they weren't perfect, but they more than held their own and reinforced the fact that I look forward to my next California meal... regardless of which coast it is on.
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