Southern style at M3 in Davis Square
Which is particularly frustrating when one spends a considerable amount of time unable to eat (or at least unable to eat in polite society). I spend my days reading local food blogs and noting the new arrivals with a mix of curiosity and chagrin.
On good weeks, I'm torn: Do I try out a new restaurant, or do I fall back on an old favorite (especially if I've been craving, say, Eastern Standard's charcuterie plate while sucking cold soup through a straw)?
Last night we decided on the former, and headed into Davis Square to check out new southern restaurant M3, which is in the corner spot that used to be Out of the Blue, which was in the spot that used to be Dolly's.
It's a small space, and was pretty busy when we arrived before 6pm. The only available seats were at the counter, which suited us fine, because we were able to watch the action in the tiny kitchen.
The decor is retro-kitsch, but not precious. The walls are covered in chalkboard paint, the lights are hung inside canning jars, and the beer fridge is vintage and chubby.
We ordered beer and studied the menu: frogs' legs? Fried green tomatoes? Oyster po' boy made with Island Creeks? Duck fat (gasp!) burger?
No, wait. Of course, it had to be:
Deep fried cheese curds.
We had discussed going to the Big E again this year, pretty much for the sole purpose of tracking down the cheese curds vendor. But now we didn't have to.
Which, as The Boy pointed out, was not necessarily a good thing.
"It was better when they were a two-hour drive away, and only available for a few days a year," he said, between mouthfuls of popplers. "Now they're just down the street. How am I supposed to control myself?"
The curds at M3 are less cheesy than their state fair cousins — rather than being in big chewy chunks, the cheese is smaller and melts into the batter. But we could still imagine ourselves stopping by M3 for a beer and a quick cheese-curd fix. Often. Too often.
Anyway, there was something more dangerously tasty on the specials board yesterday: chicken and waffle nuggets.
Imagine brined chicken, dipped in waffle batter, deep fried and finished with poached cherries.
The whole thing is soft and warm; the batter is pillowy and a little sweet; the fruit adds a slight tartness and pulls everything together.
Now we really could have stopped there; a little deep-fried goodness goes a long way. But we'd already ordered mains, all of which come with a choice of three sides (hence "meat and three," or M3). So:
For The Boy, chicken-fried steak with corn, Brussels sprouts and sweet potato casserole.
The steak breading had an almost chocolatey note to it, which was unexpected and good.
I've never quite understood how marshmallow became the default topping for sweet potatoes, but there you go. This was Fluff, which I guess counts as locavore (??).
I had the catfish, with more Brussels, the mac and cheese, and the root veggie hash.
The fish was nice and flaky, though sliced so thin that it was a little overwhelmed by the batter for my liking.
The sprouts were small and plentiful, and the mac and cheese ... was a thing of beauty. Light, creamy, with a mild cheese sauce, it reminded me of the baked macaroni pudding desserts we'd sometimes have when I was a kid.
But yes, we had indeed ordered way too much food; the portions are extremely generous.
How generous? Put it this way: we had our sides boxed up to bring home. I weighed the leftovers, which clock in at just over a pound.
In other news, dinner tonight is sorted.
I currently feel a little overwhelmed at the number of new places to try. Do youse guys have any suggestions? Is there a new restaurant we really should check out while I'm still able to eat?