If we hadn’t heard from a couple of sources that the food at Brutole was outstanding, we would probably have turned around in the parking lot. This restaurant has got to win the award for strangest location ever: it’s a high-end Mediterranean restaurant located on Route 1 next to a Motel 6.
Once inside, it’s easy to forget where you are. The luxurious décor and lighting put you in the mood to dine, and the outstanding service makes you feel you’re in good hands. By the time the warm artisan bread arrives with olive oil (mixed tableside with cheese and pepper flakes), you’re a convert.
We started with the caesar salad ($10), which was outstandingly fresh and coated with the perfect amount of dressing. The duck breast with mushroom risotto and a blackberry reduction ($14) was also a winner, three large slices cooked to medium-rare and ready for that delicious sauce.
The hefty portions don’t stop with the appetizers. The prices at Brutole are similar to those you’d find in Boston, but the portions are about double. For example, the rack of lamb was cooked to our requested medium, absolutely delicious, and accompanied by a very tasty lentil/vegetable mix. At $41, it’s the most expensive entrée on the menu, but definitely worth the splurge in terms of flavor, and with six good-sized chops on the plate, we were able to make another meal of the leftovers.
We also enjoyed the grilled salmon ($28), which came with silky horseradish mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus. The sea bass with white bean compote and spinach ($34) was great, especially combined with the sautéed mushroom side dish ($9).
Desserts are often a disappointment, even at fine dining establishments, so we’re pleased to be able to recommend saving some room when you dine here. The crème brulee was creamy and satisfying ($9), but it was outshone by the strawberry rhubarb crumble with vanilla ice cream ($10). It’s served in a loaf pan, wonderfully crisp and decadent, and the perfect size for sharing.
It was a great ending to the meal, but we received one final service before we left—a bag with nicely packaged leftovers was handed to us in exchange for a number, rather than dumped on our table. Brutole may not be located in a charming area, but that didn’t stop it from winning us over.
65 Newbury St, Danvers (first driveway after Rt 114 east exit)