For the last post in my Boston series, I decided to go a little closer to home. Literally.
Parsons Table is in the Boston suburb of Winchester, which happens to be my hometown. But I swear I’m not biased—this relatively new restaurant has garnered glowing reviews, and even draws Boston dwellers to the suburbs for dinner (to be fair, it’s only about 15 minutes away).
The menu is somewhat of a greatest hits list of classic American fare, reinterpreted in a relatively upscale way with lots of locally sourced ingredients and interesting accompaniments. The Parson’s Table Burger, for example, features a slow-roasted portobello mushroom, balsamic onions, house pickles, a brioche bun, and homemade kettle chips. Meanwhile, the Hand-Cut Fettuccini features house-made ricotta, and the Organic Pennsylvania Chicken is served with brown-butter risotto, native English peas, and maitake mushrooms.
The décor is a reflection of the menu: homey, but classy. Beautiful wood tables are lit with a tea candle in a Mason jar, and the kitchen is completely visible in the back of the room through a dramatic archway behind the bar.
I was slightly concerned about the prevalence of nuts on the menu, but the server assured me that she would inform the kitchen about my serious allergy. She did her job well because I had no problems, even though my mom got a dish that contained nuts, which I would assume they prepared at the same time as mine. The bread is from a local bakery, Iggy’s, which does make a good number of breads that contain nuts, so it should probably be avoided.
We ordered exclusively off the daily specials list, unintentionally but with great results. We started with the heirloom tomato salad with grilled octopus, salsa verde and an olive cracker. The octopus was tender and flavorful (it’s easy to turn grilled octopus into a chewy nightmare), and you could taste the grilled flavor. The dish was really light and delicious, drizzled with olive oil and oregano.
For my entrée, I got the slow-roasted top sirloin, with Wards Farm corn succotash, Wright-Locke spring onions, maitake mushrooms, and baby tomatoes (Wards Farm is located in another Boston suburb, and Wright-Locke Farm is in Winchester itself). The sirloin was perfectly cooked, and the corn succotash lightened up the dish and added a really great summer flavor.
My mom got the Atlantic salmon with Wright-Locke squash, English peas, oyster mushrooms, and pistachios. Of course I couldn’t taste this one, but she told me it was delicious.
Since the portions are pretty reasonable, we got dessert. We split the profiteroles, as they assured me that both the ice cream and chocolate were nut-free. They were good, but the pastry was a bit dry, so I don’t know that I would order them again.
With entrée prices ranging from $18-$25, the restaurant may not be an everyday choice, but is definitely worth making a trip to the suburbs.
- Food: 8.5
- Presentation: 8
- Menu: 8
- Service: 8
- Ambiance: 7
- Allergy-friendliness: 6.5
- Cost: $$
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars
34 Church St.
Winchester, MA 01890