It’s J’s birthday! We usually do birthday dinners to celebrate, and so I dug around for a new place to try that has decent reviews. I learned of The Cottage from Open Table, mostly because I think places that take reservations seem classier, especially for a birthday dinner. We don’t usually go to places that need/take reservations, because it’s just not our style, or price point (most of the time,) but The Cottage seemed interesting and in an area we are not quite familiar with.
When we got there, there was no wait (yelp said there usually is a wait) and the atmosphere was pretty chill. There were a couple of tables of families with toddlers, which points me to think that this is a regular dinner joint for Wellesley (which has a more upper class demographic than we’re used to,) and a table with a couple who were dressed very fancy, and who also cared much about formalities such as the male pulling out the chair for the female and so on. It was quite interesting to people watch at The Cottage because of it’s varied clientele, but I shall digress no further.
When we sat down, our waitress placed a bread basket on the table with some whipped butter. It took a while, but the bread was warm, at least. The usual “welcome” bread, I guess.
We pondered over the menu for some time, which made our waitress slightly uncomfortable. We knew that because she came by twice asking if we need help, or if something on the menu needs clarification. The problem was, we wanted several things for mains, and the appetizer menu was not very interesting. We finally settled on an appetizer and two mains and prayed we made the right choices.
California Caesar Salad – $12: This salad was actually from the separate ‘salad’ menu. We thought that it might have been main dish sized, but it was definitely not. It was perfect for sharing. When it came, the server asked if we wanted cheese and pepper, and mumbled something else while we nodded. We never figured that he was going to grind pepper onto the poor salad until we said something or asked for him to stop, and that is why it looks like a pepper grinder exploded on the salad – there was A LOT of pepper on that salad. To be completely honest, it was a very disappointing salad. There was hardly any dressing on the salad, and the dressing tasted nothing like caesar dressing; and it was bland, despite the copious amount of pepper on it. The only redeeming quality of the salad was that the croutons were perfect. Made of the sourdough “welcome” bread, it was crisp and buttered – perfect! I would get a $12 plate of those croutons!
Sweet Potato Crusted Cod with Mango – $27: This dish was also another disappointment. The crust of the cod was crispy only for a brief moment, and very quickly became a mush of sog. The fish was a little on the overcooked and dry side, and it was hardly seasoned at all. I understand going light-handed on the fresh ingredients idea, but it was so bland that it didn’t even taste like anything! The rapini was bitter (overcooked) and wasn’t cut into bite-sized portions. I chewed with half a stem of rapini sticking out because it was impossible to cut the rapini with my knife. Unglam! Overall, the dish was hardly with it’s price tag, not to mention that the portion was so good that there were no leftovers!
Crispy Duck Duo – $22: This was the saving dish of the night! The crispy duck duo came with a confit leg and a pan-seared breast. The breast was tender, though the fat from the skin barely rendered. The confit leg was TO DIE FOR. It was super crisp, and fell off the bone. There was enough salt that almost made me think it was a smoked duck confit! I did not think that the mandarin slices added anything to the dish, but liked the really sour braised cabbage (reminded me of sauerkraut, but braised in wine.) I would order this again just for the confit!
Chocolate Souffle – $9: For dessert, I had pre-ordered a chocolate souffle cake over the phone. I called after making the reservation on Open Table, saying that it’s a birthday reservation. The person who took the call was extremely curt, verging on being unfriendly, and said that they could stick a candle into the dessert when we ordered it. I told her that I wanted it to be a surprise, and had to dig the dessert menu out of her – no idea what’s up with that! The chocolate souffle sounded the most interesting, and I went with that. It was really rich and really smooth. I liked it a lot!
The Cottage @ Wellesley
Address: 190 Linden St, Wellesley, MA 02482
Phone: (781) 239-1100
Hours: M-Th | 11.30am – 10pm
F-Sa | 11.30am – 10.30pm
Su | 9am – 9pm
Price Range: $$$ for dinner ($30 to $40 per person)
Overall: Very meh. Probably won’t be back.