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Saturday, January 10, 2009

A Hidden Restaurant in Medfield, MA

Article by Eric H.

Basil restaurant, in Medfield, MA, meets all the requirements of those looking for an affordable upscale quality restaurant, a hidden New England dining gem, and a conversation vehicle where you can show off your vast knowledge of restaurants no one else knows about.

Located in a modest Medfield neighborhood just behind the town center, Basil, at first inspection, looks like, perhaps just another home in the neighborhood until you look in the windows and realize (1) either this is a very big family sitting down to dinner or (2) perhaps this is a catering hall. Although Basil does catering, the reality is that this is a top-notch restaurant with chef and owner Thomas McGue turning out some really great Italian and American dishes from the innovative to the familiar during lunch and especially dinner.

Whether it's the the fresh salads (they make an incredible Caesar) and homemade soups (ditto on the New England clam chowder), handmade pasta (butternut squash ravioli, yum!), or wonderful main entrees in the steak, fish and seafood categories, Basil is one of our favorite "date places." The atmosphere is subdued, but friendly, and features a large salt water fish tank as well as a cozy bar/pub area in the back. The two floors of dining space are quite comfortable with nice carpeting, dim lighting and enough space between you and other customers. The only complaint (and it's a minor one) is the somewhat cloying, unctious smooth jazz music that has me conjuring up awful images of Yanni in my head.

All that jazz, however, takes a back seat to the quality of the food: it's simply amazing. Our favorite dishes: the veal, chicken and shrimp marsala (this is one dish, not three separate), slow roasted duckling with orange marmalade sauce, sauteeed spiach and tri colored peppers, and the tender delicious pork tenderloin marinated with rosemary, garlic and peppercorn. We recently had an amazing haddock dish that left us saying, "Who needs to go to the best seafood restaurants when you have a place like Basil?"

If you have room for dessert, we heartily recommend the chocolate lava cake and the toll house cookie pie. These aren't your basic chain restaurant sweets that look so good on the menu, but so putrid in the taste buds. These desserts are clearly made by a culinary genius, like an artist creating a masterpiece -- you can taste it in the fresh, real ingedients and see it in the elegant presentation.

Another great aspect about Basil is that its prices really haven't gone up over the past several years. It used to seem expensive when things were less expensive in the good old days, but now in tough economic times, Basil is a bargain. They even have a "lighter fare" menu to keep the prices -- and calories -- down even more. Kudos to Basil for making upscale dining so affordable and just as delicious as all the fine dining places you see hyped in the mainstream media dining reviews and advertisements. It just goes to show, you never know what gems you'll find in a neighborhood behind a suburban downtown.

Basil
43 Frairy Street
Medfield, MA
1-508-359-4400
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