30 by 30: dinner at Canary Square in JP

I never realized how negatively the winter weather affects my mood until the spring and then finally summer (!!!) are upon us and I can’t get enough of the sunshine and the heat. Yes, even the heat. I’ll take it! It means I can relax with a glass of (cold) Riesling or my latest favorite – Fisherman’s Bavarian wheat beer – out on the patio at night with Adam or enjoy a night out with friends, dining al fresco. Beats shivering with AC blasting inside any day!

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I’m slowly but surely going through the restaurants on my 30 by 30 list. This time was extra fun because Adam and I were joined by our friends Kyle, Tiffany, Jim and Liz. We’re trying to have a monthly dinner going and this was our second outing (the first one was at Bistro du Midi… yeah, I’ve put myself in charge of organizing future dinners so we don’t actually have 11 months passing between each “monthly” dinner again). We even left the comfort of the Back Bay/South End area and traveled to Jamaica Plain. I know… so ambitious! Winking smile

Canary Square is bar and restaurant specializing in American comfort foods with a twist. Local ingredients are often used in many dishes, which is always a welcome sign for me because aside from the sustainability side of it (which is complicated in my opinion), I think it forces creativity in the kitchen and as well as makes the menu more seasonally appropriate.

The décor is modern meets warm with exposed brick walls and ceiling beams with funky lights. I was actually imagining a tiny spot similar to Coda in Boston and was very surprised to walk into a large space filled with dozens of tables. It was already buzzing with excitement (around 7pm) but I wanted to take advantage of the warm weather and asked to be seated on their patio instead!

A hot day calls for a cold drink! I went back and forth between the basil grape or spicy watermelon mojito (don’t they both sound amazing?!!) but at the end was told that they ran out of mint. Yikes! Instead the sangarita (lunazul silver, red wine, lime, triple sec, sour mix and lime) quenched my thirst just fine! [It was stronger than I anticipated but after a few sips I was really into it.)

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Lebanese hummus and pita chips was a lovely starter for the table! I loved the rustic preparation of the hummus (slightly chunky) and the super thick and crispy chips.

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Adam also ordered the The Salty Pig – chef’s choice of salty pig parts, house made mustard, pickled vegetables, baguette. The “salty pig parts” that night were represented by a deliciously garlicky pate. I would order this again in a heartbeat!

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Most of the entrees were surprisingly heavy (think mac & cheese, pasta carbonara <—with fresh local peas, nice addition! and roasted chicken with mashed potatoes). Comfort food for sure!

I found the lightest thing there and ordered the wood grilled skirt steak with truffled blue cheese tater tots, local zucchini and radish salad

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That’s a perfect summer item if you ask me!

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The steak was tender and very well cooked but I wasn’t crazy about the spice rub (I think they went a little heavy on the rosemary… I felt like I was eating pine trees) but the zucchini salad was super refreshing and perfectly balanced by the bites of creamy tater tots. I am not a fan of blue cheese but these were really divine!

A few bites of Adam’s wood roasted half chicken with local summer beans, bacon and mashed potatoes…

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… and Jim’s baked mac and cheese with grafton cheddar and north country ham…

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…made me want to come back to this place in the middle of winter and stuff myself silly with fantastic comfort food. Or maybe I’ll just eat inside with AC blasting (I guess it does have its benefits!).

Red sangria

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We were all very happy campers but dessert was yet to be consumed… for completeness of this review of course! Winking smile

Butterscotch bread pudding with vanilla ice cream

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Incredibly rich and remarkably reminiscent of pancakes doused with maple syrup.

Chocolate cheesecake with cranberry jam

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This was not your typical chocolate cheesecake! Tiffany was not a fan because “it wasn’t chocolaty enough” and I agree – this had much stronger caramel undertones than chocolate and the cranberry jam added additional quirky bitterness -  but I loved it for it! It was unique and delicious in its own right. Comfort food with a twist.

The check came with a little book for comments, notes, songs, whatever.

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Haha, courtesy of Tiffany. My kind of challenge Winking smile

Canary Square is a fantastic place for good drinks and great food with friends. We’ll be back for sure!

***

For other restaurant reviews, please check out my restaurant reviews page!

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