I began my Hall of Famer dining adventure at a restaurant I knew I liked, Deuxave. At least I liked it four or five years ago when I was last there. Named because it is at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Commonwealth Avenue (known locally as Mass Ave and Comm Ave), hence “two” in French gets you “deux” and “two avenues” becomes “Deuxave.”
Deuxave has beautiful decor with dark tones, a gas fireplace, and large widows looking out onto Mass Ave. To the right of the entrance is a small bar area and to the left is the main dining room with a couple of alcoves making for romantic nooks in the elegant room. The service is attentive and friendly, a modern take on formal service.
The menu, like the name, is mostly French, with dishes like foie gras, duck confit, and Dover sole. The host commented to the table next to outs that the restaurant was “built on the back of the duck breast.” It has been on the menu from the beginning and will likely always be there. If you need to splurge, they offer Osetra caviar at $120 an ounce or white truffle pasta for $139. There’s really no way not to splurge here though.
I started with 9-Hour French Onion Soup, a slight adaptation of Julia Child’s recipe. You can watch it being made and see some shots of the outside of the restaurant in this video. This was actually the first French onion soup I have ever tried, so I don’t have anything to compare it to. It certainly was rich and decadent. It is hard to believe you could fill up on beef broth and onions, but it was a very filling soup.
If you are wondering why I hadn’t tried French onion soup before, when I was a kid I worked in a restaurant called the 11 Mile House. I was a dishwasher and busboy. I still remember throwing out the leftover French onion soup at the end of the night. It always looked terrible to me. It was probably good, but back then the thought of all those onions, and that soup had huge pieces of onions, made me queazy. I never got over that until dinner at Deuxave.
After the soup, my wife and I shared the Joues de Veau, a tender braised veal cheek served over perfect creamy polenta and garnished with a foie stuffed fig. This was my favorite dish of the night. Even though it was small in size it was exceeding rich and full of flavor. The veal was seasoned wonderfully, and the polenta was amazing. The only drawback was that like the soup, the richness of the veal made it incredibly filling. The two of them together had me wondering if I would get through my main course.
For that, I had chicken. It might not be the most exciting sounding dish on the menu, but anything served with spätzle and cabbage gets my attention. And the dish was finished off with shaved black truffles, so even their chicken is extra decadent. The meat itself was excellent, tender and moist with a beautiful crisp skin. I particularly enjoyed the chicken thigh crepinette, again very decadent. At this point, I was done. Dessert sounded delicious but was not even possible.
In addition to the wonderful food, we also enjoyed a few good drinks. I started the night with a Zenzero Amaro, a delicious gin cocktail blended with ginger, amaro, and lime. Wines by the glass were a step up from the ordinary, including a nice Pinot Noir and a very enjoyable Gamay. The waiter was happy to suggest pairings for the courses and did a solid job with his selections.
The downside of Deuxave is the cost. Dinner for two ran over $350, and if you were to get a bottle from their extensive wine list, you would easily pay much more. Even bread service, which is very good, costs $3 a person. That said, if you are celebrating a special event or just want to splurge, I think Deuxave should be on your short list. The environment is beautiful, the service is good, and the food is incredible. I would be very surprised if it isn’t in the top five and maybe even the top three when I reorder Boston Magazine’s list at the end of this adventure.