First Bite: Sugar Baking Co.
A Roslindale restaurant/bakery introduces dinner to mixed results.
Can a casual breakfast-and-lunch spot transform each night into a polished bistro? Itâ€™s a challenge, to be sure. The bakery/sandwich shop South End Buttery did it with reasonable success in 2008, and now Sugar Baking Co., a brunch favorite that began dinner service this past June, is running with the concept, too.
Whereas the Butteryâ€™s dining room has an elegant feel after the sun goes down, Sugar still looks like a daytime hangout, with a grab-and-go bakery in the back and, generally speaking, a quick-service vibe. The menu, by contrast, offers decidedly evening-friendly fare, such as baby-octopus ragout, arugula salad, and roast chicken with bok choy.
Some of the dishes are thoughtfully prepared, while others seem to be the product of a kitchen still finding its footing. An unusual, vibrant appetizer of magenta-hued ravioli ($7)â€”beet pasta filled with a creamy roasted-beet fillingâ€”was rich, slightly sweet, and accented by tangy goat cheese and buttery hazelnut bits. The crab cakes ($12, pictured above) had a golden crust and zingy lemon aioli, but would have benefited from more crab and less filler.
Larger plates were equally variable. The flaky swordfish fillet ($20) came doused with a piquant tomatillo coulis that imparted flavor to both the fish and the saffron-spiked farro on the side. The drizzle of bordelaise atop the steak frites ($19), however, did little to save the tough steak, which lacked the beefiness youâ€™d expect from a restaurant-quality cut of meat. And the lobster mac â€™nâ€™ cheese ($18), an easy home run at most places, was a flat-out failure, with overcooked pasta, under-seasoned cream sauce, and a lack of both cheese and lobster meat (though a shell did make an appearance).
Not surprisingly, the baked goods here shine, like the warm rolls with tapenade served at the outset of the meal, and the gratis raspberry-jam-stuffed cookies at the end. But when it comes to dinnerâ€™s main event, itâ€™s clear that this place still needs some work.
4172 Washington St., Roslindale, 617-327-4174, sugarbakingcompany.com.
Source URL: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/2012/11/restaurant-review-sugar-baking-co-roslindale/