The Fireplace is now in its second decade. In restaurant terms, where fads and fancies are fleeting, that’s an amazing feat. This green-certified Brookline favorite opened five days before 9/11 with owner Jim Solomon in a neck brace, after a fall. He counted himself lucky.
Chef Solomon’s positive personality makes this place tick along. He says being green isn’t a trend; he’s genuinely committed to lessening the restaurant’s environmental impact. His love of New England and American history resuscitates ancient recipes, including those beloved by former presidents.
At this point, 10 years on, it’s a question of refining the details, really: A copious mound of light, zesty green apple slaw sits with perfect mini lobster rolls ($22). A pungent vinegary cranberry “chutney” marries with plump Blue Point oysters ($2.75 each). A tomato tart ($13) has layers of waxy peewee potato and burrata, a rustic blend that sits on perfectly crumbly pastry. Nodding to native American culture, the Cedar Plank Salmon ($29), a much-abused dish, is a late summer star that has all the fortunes of fall: Tender roasted fish is accompanied by a Wampanoag succotash dotted with sweet corn kernels and a nutty organic brown rice.
For dessert, the lemon tart ($8.50) has a corn grit crust softened by the tangy lemon custard that’s drizzled with a raspberry sauce, uniting old England with New England — and nature, necessity and knowledge, too.
What’s in a name? A lot!
There are no prizes for guessing how The Fireplace got its name. As soon as you walk through the door, there it is: A big stone fireplace, passed by in warmer months and, once it’s blazing away, stoked with real wood logs. Saturdays, year-round, “Fireside Chats” bring a guest speaker and unite a particular tipple with some appetizers. Put it on the winter to-do list.
Blast from the past
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Throughout the rest of the month, The Fireplace is offering a Step Back in Time menu, bringing back several original items in honor of the occasion (and some are still on the menu by popular demand). Guests who order an appetizer and entree from the original menu will get one of the original desserts on the house all month.