|Manager Domenic D’Olimpio (left) and Vance Welch, managing partner of Abby Park. The restaurant opened in July in East Milton Square. (Photos By Elaine Cushman Carroll)|
New restaurant well-received by a hungry public
550 Adams St., Milton
Open daily, 11:30 a.m. to midnight.
Major credit cards accepted
Accessible to those with handicaps
Recession? What recession?
Abby Park in East Milton Square has a problem most restaurants would love to have - lines of people hungry to try out the brand-new eatery, which opened last month.
We visited Abby Park, which specializes in modern American cuisine, on a Tuesday night and never even thought about getting a reservation. Who needs a reservation that early in the week, in the middle of summer?
Well, we could have used one. There was a line from the time we arrived, at about 6:30, until we left after 8.
Our wait - about 15 minutes and shorter than we were told it would be - was worth it. Meanwhile, we sat comfortably at a beautiful, dark wood bar and took in the bustling surroundings.
Vance Welch, the restaurant’s managing partner, was on hand to make sure the new staff got the job done right. Welch ran the popular Java Jo’s for about 15 years, until there was a fire and the facility was relocated to Jamaica Plain.
Planning the restaurant took more than a year, partly because it took a while to get a liquor license in this formerly dry town. The attention to detail shows.
The lines show that the community wanted a good restaurant, he said. “We’ve pretty much had that since we opened,’’ he said. “It’s a hungry town.’’
Entrees run from $16 (angel hair pasta with heirloom tomatoes and basil) to $26 (10-ounce Kobe flank steak). Appetizers were in the $6 to $14 range.
The atmosphere was pleasant and upscale. The interior is dark, with dim, hued lighting, but not so dark as to be off-putting. The background music was a trifle loud for our taste, but we had no trouble holding a conversation.
The seats were comfortable, the drinks were cold, and the bartender was cordial and efficient.
First to come were fresh, warm rolls and a glass of wine from a fairly substantial wine list - delicious.
Next was the appetizer, which we both loved. It’s called the Park Board and is billed as “perfect for two,’’ which it was. It’s essentially several appetizers served on - you guessed it - a board. It came with flatbread, marinated olives, Parma prosciutto with tangy pickled eggplant, Great Hill Bleu paired with not-too-sweet cooked fig jam, spicy Marcona almonds, and a white bean-rosemary dip, with more than a hint of rosemary. It is priced at $14, tops for the appetizer menu, but was worth every penny.
For entrees, we got the 10-ounce New York sirloin ($18) and the oven-roasted native striped bass ($24).
For side dishes, we had portobello mushrooms (excellent) and Gorgonzola creamed spinach. The roasted corn and fresh pea succotash that came with the bass was interesting but not exciting. The sides can also be ordered separately, for $5 and $7.
There was an interesting option for desserts - one can order a tiny dish, called Small Bites, for $2.50, or a regular sized dessert, for $8. Since we were stuffed, we shared a bite of chocolate pecan pie, which was loaded with nuts and a good chocolate flavor.
Served in an appropriately small dish with a tiny spoon, it was cute, noted one diner. Perfect for diners who’ve already eaten too much.
We ran into a friend, Amy Mills, who lives within walking distance. She was on her second visit to the restaurant in as many weeks.
“We were so excited this place was opening that we booked a reservation for opening night,’’ said Mills, whose first trip was with her husband, Jonathan, and friends. The couple try to have a regular date night together - without their two children - and often end up driving into Boston, so this provides a nice alternative.
She said she loved the braised short ribs of beef, especially the side dish of “funky, filled rice balls’’ (fontina aracini).
When we met, she and another mom from her neighborhood had left their husbands with their young children and walked down for another great meal, this time the grilled and chilled vegetable salad.
“I think it is so great to have someplace to go out to that isn’t pizza or Chinese,’’ she said. “You can have a nice meal and not totally break the bank.’’
Abby Park recently opened for lunch, too. In addition to entrees, there are pizzas, sandwiches, and burgers, starting at $8. Sunday brunches will start on Sept. 13, at 11 a.m.
MATT CARROLL AND ELAINE CUSHMAN CARROLL