Waban Kitchen is the second restaurant from Jeff Fournier (nearby 51 Lincoln’s chef/owner), whose artwork hangs on the walls of this hidden gem, handily situated just opposite the Waban train stop.
Fournier still helms 51 Lincoln’s kitchen, leaving chef Jakob White — who has worked under Fournier since he graduated culinary school — to take the helm at Waban. It’s a post he’s clearly suited for, as the young restaurant’s (open just 10 months) 10 tables fill up quickly and its bustling bar provides an alternate perch at which to try the menu’s host of self-described “perfect” dishes. First, Waban’s Perfect Deviled Eggs. Served as four halves instead of the standard trio, they’re good but fairly unremarkable, save for a little dot of caviar as garnish.
The Perfect Green Salad, on the other hand, strives to live up to its name. The sizeable salad has texture, a mix of barely chopped crisp and fluffy lettuces topped with crunchy toasted pine nuts. It’s perfectly seasoned and lightly dressed, leaving chunky juliennes of preserved Meyer lemon peel and spicy raw garlic to deliver occasional but huge hits of sharp flavor. Even its aroma, pre-first bite, is intoxicating.
Onward in our pursuit of dining perfection, we find a seasonal local striped bass served with a creamy salmarilglio, a southern Italian fish sauce (like an eggless, vegan hollandaise) that delivers a kick of spicy garlic. The generously sized, pesto-topped filet is accompanied by thick slices of seedy cucumber, salted and watering to form a jus, cherry tomatoes and jasmine rice. It is a fairly idyllic amalgam of local seasonal produce.
Eating at Waban kitchen should come with a pre-dinner note: “Save room for pie!” Apart from an extraordinary cinnamon and rosemary ice cream, dessert here is all about the pie. Their pies are baked in-house each day and include such delights as a peanut butter mousse topped with dark chocolate ganache and served with a large dollop of sweetened crème fraiche. If not a perfectly sweet ending to a meal, it’s one that comes close.
1649 Beacon St., Newton