Natick Restaurant Month: Sel de la Terre, Natick Mall
Try this taste of Southern France in our own backyard.
Restaurant Week/Month offers great deals on dining throughout Boston and other towns in Massachusetts. Participating restaurants offer prixe fixe lunch and/or dinner menus in order to give customers a chance to experience their cuisine at a modest price. Two-course lunch for $15.11, three-course lunch for $20.11, and three-course dinner for $33.11. It occurs twice a year during March and August and has grown so much in popularity that many restaurants have stretched out their menu offerings for the entire month.
Co-founded by Tim Zagat of Zagat Survey and restaurateur Joe Baum, the idea was simply to block off four days during the 1992 Democratic National Convention in New York as a goodwill gesture for the thousands of reporters covering the event. What they thought would be a money loser turned out to be a winner for both consumers and restaurants throughout the city. Each year it grew in popularity expanding both nationally and internationally.
It’s a great opportunity for people to try a fine dining restaurant they may not normally dine at. Knowing there is a set modest price and menu draws customers in despite our economy at the present time.
Restaurants in and around Boston are busting with Restaurant Week/Month diners at the moment. But you don’t have to go into the city and deal with the traffic and crowds to enjoy it. A few restaurants in Natick are participating offering enticing menu items, some from local sources, in a relaxed and inviting atmosphere.
Sel de la Terre at the Natick Mall next to Nordstrom is offering a Restaurant Month Menu for both lunch and dinner through Aug. 31, so I had to try it. I’ve been dining there since they opened and a huge fan of their rustic style of cuisine and wine list. It’s simple; they prepare great quality ingredients in rustic form from local sources, and it works. I have never had a bad experience there. As a family we have enjoyed brunch there on many occasions and they have always been great accommodating a larger group with kids.
I finally had a chance to try their dinner prix fixe menu for Restaurant Month and enjoyed a delicious three course meal for $33.11 that easily would have been double that on a normal night with wine and dessert. In fact, I shared my meal with a friend and they graciously split the plates for us. We both agreed we were equally getting full portions despite the single price.
There are two choices for first, main and dessert courses. We chose the ASF salad with bacon lardoons and farm fresh poached egg for the first course, grilled top sirloin with roasted potatoes, swiss chard and red wine shallot reduction as our second course and for dessert we opted for a cheese course (which is an additional charge but well worth it). The farm fresh egg on the salad was perfectly poached sitting on top of fresh frisee greens and the red wine shallot reduction was decadent but not heavy. The simple addition of tiny micro basil on the sirloin dish was so vibrant and fresh. It was a perfect serving that left us satisfied but sill having room for dessert. On to the cheeses. Despite having worked as a pastry chef, I love a good cheese plate for dessert with wine. The artisanal cheese plate at SDLT is a great deal for $12 offering a selection of four imported cheeses. We chose a mix of cow, sheep and goat which included the Hubbardston Bleu, San Andreas, Piave Vecchio and Bluebonnet.
Overall, it’s a decadent meal at an affordable price right in our own backyard. I hope you get a chance to try it for lunch or dinner. Another fantastic restaurant in Natick participating in Restaurant Week is Maxwell’s 148. Although their Restaurant Week menu has passed, it’s certainly worth enjoying the entire experience of Maxwell’s eclectic ambiance and innovative Italian-Asian cuisine. You’ll feel more like you’re dining in a resort in the South Pacific than in downtown Natick.
To recreate SDLT’s perfectly poached egg to top a crisp mixed green salad, try following this technique from Serious Eats.