The Blue Ox, which opened just over a year ago and has met with great success, injected a new vibrancy into the Lynn dining scene. Young, enthusiastic Lynners like Corey Jackson and Seth Albaum who are working to rejuvenate the downtown hope that Turbine Wine Bar, which opened in March at 56 Central Square, will follow in its footsteps.
Last Saturday, we hit Turbine for dinner to see what all the buzz was about. Situated in a renovated historic building, the feel is relaxed city chic with high ceilings, exposed brick walls, a generous bar, and optic metallic tabletops.
True to the name, Turbine offers more than 30 different wines from $6 a glass and up, including some interesting varietals, a few sparklers, port, and sake. The beer list provides quite a range as well, including Bard’s Tale, a gluten-free option for the celiacs in the crowd.
We ordered a glass each and checked out the menu, which consists of all small plates, many of them quite reasonable. We started with the cheese plate and the hummus. We chose four cheeses from eight varieties, and the plate included fruit, candied pecans, some fig jam, and a baguette toasts ($12). The cheeses weren’t terribly exotic, but they were good quality and served at room temperature, which is always appreciated. The hummus is house-made, fresh and lemony, served with olives and warm pita ($7.50).
Tapas-sized portions are fun because they allow you to taste a variety of dishes without overindulging. We went on to try three more: mushroom ravioli, a chicken tostada, and the black and blue filet. The house-made pasta filled with criminis and ricotta in a white wine cream sauce was delicious, tender and tasty and not overwhelmed by the sauce ($11). The chicken tostada featured slow-cooked chicken with fresh salsa, jack cheese, and avocado slices ($9). It was well made and tasted good but we felt it was overpriced and had the least wow factor of everything we tried.
And speaking of wow factor, the black and blue filet was incredible ($12). Tender slices of seared filet mignon drizzled with an herb oil salsa and served over warm radicchio was the definite favorite of the night. The portion is six smallish slices, which our party of four made quick work of.
We couldn’t leave without sampling a couple of desserts. The rich dark flourless chocolate cake was lovely, and the combination of flavors in the grilled banana bread with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce was a real treat. ($6 each.)
One thing to keep in mind is that while individual items are relatively inexpensive, if you are a big eater, these small plates can add up. They are ideal for a light dinner or a snacks with your drink.
Thus far, Turbine remains a hidden gem. With excellent food and enthusiastic service, we’re surprised that they’re not packed every night. Maybe they cater to a later crowd, but at 8:30, the dining room was only half filled. Of course, that could be a good thing for those looking to try something new—this is a place definitely worth discovering.
Turbine Wine Bar
56 Central Square, Lynn