When The Cottage first opened in Wellesley, I was optimistic about a new restaurant in the MetroWest area. And then, I heard the initial reviews from friends and colleagues: pricey, poor service, mixed food. However, over the last year, the comments became more and more positive, as the Cottage settled into a grove. And since my first meal there, I have been pleased with my food and the service.
On this past trip, I was lucky to be joined by other bloggers: Susan of In A Handbasket, Kami of The Fence, Erin of Ladybugs Picnic, Liz of Goddess in Progress, Charlene of Metrowest Mama and Cindy, author of the blog for Isis Maternity. We are all moms (total we have 14 kids!) and we spent a good part of the evening laughing loudly about the trials and trivialtions of trying to manage it all. It reminded me of how much, how essential, it is to connect to other people who are in the same place-in this case, parents of toddlers and pre-schoolers.
But we also all enjoyed the food. We started with fried calamari. While a bit more salt would have added to the flavor, the side of remoulade had a kick to jazz it up. Although the serving of guacamole was small, it was full of lime juice, making it tastier than others I have previously eaten. We tried a few dishes. Cindy recommended the granola-crusted mahi mahi.
The Cottage, which has another branch in California, is known for this granola. Made with condensed milk, cranberries and huge pecans, it is pretty fabulous. (Thanks to the Cottage's General Manager for giving me a chance to try it!) I predicted that it would have overpowered the white fish, but a light coating give it just enough sweetness and crunch. My favorite part of the dish was the beurre blanc that benefited from a touch of garlic.
Our other dish, a salad nicoise (pictured at the top of this post) was fine, if a bit less exciting. Served with seared ahi-tuna, it was lightly dressed and consisted of steamed potatoes and green beans. For $14.95, though, it was fresh and substantial enough for a light meal.
Liz enjoyed the carne asada tacos, which were topped with more of the delectable guacamole and mojo sauce.
Drinks are also creative and there is a wide list of both cocktails and wine.
We were less impressed with the desserts. We tried the mini mud pie, the rocky road brownie, the marscapone cheesecake and the warm chocolate souffle. I continue to think that even with good pastry chefs, desserts present a challenge for most restaurants. Typically, like these, they are so sweet that they mask any other tastes. And in this case, the desserts were sugary and rich...and didn't offer much more. The saving grace of the brownie was that it was loaded with toasted walnuts that offset the chocolate (and I am a chocolate fiend.)
I haven't yet made it to the brunch, but I have heard positive reviews for that meal as well. It is also particularly child friendly. Lunch, when entrees hover around $14.00 offers a way to try the restaurant for a bit less than dinner. If you go at dinner, do try to make reservations: it makes it even more relaxing.
The Cottage, 190 Linden Street, Wellesley, 781-239-1100