Fireplace: Washington Square Neighborhood Go-To

I have been to the Fireplace in Brookline’s Washington Square twice in the past month for dinner and brunch.   I have always heard good things about Fireplace and people that live in the area cite it as one of their favorite go to restaurants.

The Fireplace is a nice neighborhood restaurant that focuses on locally sourced ingredients.  They have won awards for their burger, which I have yet to try.

The décor is reminds me of a late ‘90’s hotel restaurant, but the space is well-used and inviting.  There is a large fireplace near the bar.  The dining area feels a little divided, since half the restaurant (including the bar) is a half flight of stairs down from the second half of the dining area (where the kitchen is located).  Outside there is ample outdoor seating for the warmer months.

The drinks list is impressive: they have a nice selection of wines, beers, cocktails and mocktails, which is a nice option for people that don’t drink.

Our waiters in both instances were friendly and seemed very knowledgeable about gluten allergies.  The first time I got the gluten-free menu, I thought our waiter had just brought another regular menu.  Almost all the menu items, including the Fireplace burger is available gluten-free.  Even the lobster mac and cheese is available gluten-free.  I think there were only 1 or 2 items off the table for gluten-free diners.  Even for brunch, many of the items are available gluten-free (except for the pancakes and waffles).

Fireplace offers gluten-free rolls.  When I went for dinner, I found them a little hard and dry, however, when we went back for brunch, the rolls were perfect.  The bread had great texture: it was crusty outside and a little chewy inside.    They appear to be made fresh and likely in house, so maybe someone was just having a bad day the first time?

When we went for dinner, I tried to order the lobster mac and cheese, but they were out of gluten-free pasta that evening.  Instead, I opted for the duck with fava beans and swiss chard.  I was a little disappointed that the johnnycake described on the menu did not end up on my plate, though some root veggies seemed to have been substituted in its place.  I forgot to ask the waiter if that is a change for all gluten-free diners or just a mistake on my plate.  The duck was perfectly cooked and well-seasoned.  The chard was also excellent.  I was a little disappointed that the fava beans were a little too well cooked in some places (you can see in the picture, some almost look burned).  Husband tried the short ribs and enjoyed it so much I didn’t get a bite of it.

Duck dish with root veggies instead of the johnnycake mentioned on the menu.

Duck dish with root veggies instead of the johnnycake mentioned on the menu.

The dinner service was very efficient without making you feel rushed out the door.

When we went for brunch, the service was a little slower, but it was a larger party of six.  We were not in a rush, so the slower service was not an issue.  I appreciated that they brought out all the meals at about the same, give or take a minute.

The waiter that served our brunch was again, very knowledgeable about gluten allergies, brought me a gluten-free brunch menu and immediately put in an order for a gluten-free roll.  I also appreciated that he checked / refilled coffee cups regularly, including after our meal had been cleared away.

I opted for the eggs Benedict with smoked salmon.  The eggs were served on gluten-free bread with smoked salmon and a side salad.  The side salad simple: mixed greens with a light lemon vinaigrette.  The eggs were perfectly poached, nice and firm on the outside but still runny inside.  The hollandaise was not too heavy, but I did wish it was seasoned a little more.  They don’t pile on the hollandaise, but it was certainly enough to go with the meal.  The bread was the same type used for the rolls and was lightly toasted.  I liked the smoked salmon, which was a good quality and taste.  Overall it was a nice brunch that did not leave me feeling heavy and weighed down at the end, but was certainly filling.  Everyone seemed to enjoy their meals across the table.

I plan to go back to the Fireplace again soon.  It’s a nice restaurant with a friendly atmosphere and a great gluten-free selection.

I give this five stars for gluten-free friendliness and selection.

I give this five stars for gluten-free friendliness and selection.

I give this restaurant overall four stars for the atmosphere and quality of food.

I give this restaurant overall four stars for the atmosphere and quality of food.

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