Saturday, March 5, 2011

Regal Beagle: Playful Menu Still Finds Room for Down-to-Earth Dishes

This review originally posted at the Brookline Patch on March 3, 2011
Dates stuffed with gorgonzola cheese and wrapped in bacon
The Regal Beagle, you think. Where have I heard that name before?

Think back― this is Jeopardy!-worthy trivia. Coolidge Corner’s newest restaurant, which moved in last summer and has already won Best of Boston 2010 for Best Brookline Restaurant, takes its name from the neighborhood pub in 70's sitcom Three's Company. But don't expect any 70's throwbacks here; sure, there's crushed red velvet wallpaper on one wall, but the floors are sleek hardwood instead of shag, and there's not a peace sign in the place― just good food and better drinks in a cozy space.

On the menu are an intriguing list of starters and bar bites, including pumpkin hummus ($6), tuna tartare ($10), and dates stuffed with gorgonzola cheese and wrapped in bacon ($5), which our waitress recommended as a popular signature dish. We weren't thrilled with the crab rangoon empanadas ($7)― your typical crab rangoon, but made with phyllo dough instead of won ton wrappers― which, crammed with vaguely sweet cream cheese and bits of crab, became cloying after a bite or two. If this all sounds too highbrow for your pub food cravings, don't worry; there's more relaxed fare, like fried beer pretzels ($6) and chile roasted pork sliders ($9).

The Beagle's entrée menu offers exactly what made the immortal trio of Janet, Chrissy, and Jack so popular: a mix of the down-to-earth (roasted half chicken with sweet potato stuffing, brussel sprouts, and bacon gravy, $17), the playful (scallops with a pistachio-brittle crust, butternut squash risotto, and a cherry glaze, $18), and the swinging bachelor (mac and cheese with a Ritz cracker crust, $12).

Regal Beagle's Mac and Cheese
The Regal Burger ($12), served with bread and butter pickles and cheddar on a brioche bun, was cooked to a perfect shade of medium-rare upon request, even if the accompanying French fries were mealy and mediocre. An entrée of fish and chips ($18) offered delicious, fall-apart tender filets inside a brown-ale batter― but there were those humdrum fries again. It may be worth mentioning that head chef Laura Henry-Zoubir, a former winner on the Food Network series Chopped, was on vacation during our visit.

For a little something sweet, choose from desserts like pumpkin crème brulee ($6), German chocolate cake ($7), or a citrus parfait ($7): blood-orange custard with berries and whipped cream, served with olive oil shortbread. We couldn't resist the dessert special, a spectacularly rich and eggy flan served with whipped cream.
The Regal Beagle's Sassy Coworker

The Beagle remains, at its heart, a bar, where a sympathetic-eared bartender expertly mixes cocktails with names like The Nosy Neighbor and The Ladies' Man (Mr. Furley lives on!). We toasted with The Sassy Coworker ($10), a tasty blend of Hendrick's gin, lime, simple syrup, and basil (see below for the recipe), and The Girl Next Door ($10), Absolute Ruby Red mixed with grapefruit juice, orange liqueur, and a hint of sparkling wine for a bubbly finish. A standard beer and wine list round out the choices.

So, come and knock on the door of your newest neighborhood joint.

The Regal Beagle’s Sassy Coworker: 
2 oz Hendrick’s gin
½ oz lime juice
½ oz simple syrup
6 to 8 basil leaves
Combine in a cocktail shaker and shake hard for 10 seconds; strain into chilled cocktail glass.

The Regal Beagle is open for lunch and brunch Monday through Friday 11:30am to 3pm, Saturday and Sunday 11am to 3pm; for dinner every day 5 to 11pm. The bar stays open until 1am. 308 Harvard Street, Brookline. MBTA: Green line (C) to Coolidge Corner.

Regal Beagle on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. My word. This review makes me feel that I should rush out and eat there. The pictures are glorious and the descriptions make me so very hungry. What a great review!!!