By Molly McDonough · 05/26/2017    Back Bay · French · New American · $$$

If you find yourself taking your aperitif at Deuxave’s bar upon arrival, the first thing you’ll notice is the wine list. Its twenty-one hefty A4-sized pages certainly merit a table of contents, and delving into chapters of progressively bolder varietals is dizzying. Before you get lost somewhere in the Cabernet section—which reads like a tour guide to French chateaux—order a cocktail. That list is shorter, and filled with worthy choices: The Eagle Rare- and Campari-based Natural Philosophy is just what you need to settle into the tree-shaded patio looking out onto Commonwealth Ave. or into one of the spacious yet intimate indoor booths.

Spiced Long Island duck breast from Deuxave

It’s possible to get overwhelmed here, not only by the wine list but also by the menu’s loaded explanations. (One dish, a beef tartare appetizer, necessitates a 28-word summary—many of which aren’t English.) In a city with no shortage of elevated junk food and simple concepts (Asta, only a block away, offers nine-course tasting menus in a bare-bones shell), there’s something about Deuxave’s calligraphic logo, chandeliers, and plush leather that verges on the too-fancy. This décor that can only be pulled off if the food stands up to it.

But it does. A French(ish) fine-dining spot in Boston might not be where you’d expect to taste the best bolognaise of your pasta-filled life; somehow, it happens here. Housemade tagliatelle is featherlight yet al dente. Melted mozzarella is creamy and fresh. And that sauce—whether the secret’s in the the beef and veal pancetta, the addition of cream, or some other brilliant secret—is the kind that leaves you suddenly unwilling to share.

Interior of Deuxave

Sauce itself is one of the best indicators of a chef’s prowess, and Christopher Coombs definitively nails it. If the ragu doesn’t present enough evidence, try the Spiced Long Island Duck Breast. Picture the meaty, salty bottom of the best ramen condensed into a deep brown ginger jus. So humble looking but with so many flavor layers—it’s a true ode to French cooking. Exhibits C and D: The Za’atar Colorado Lamb Loin & Lamb Bacon and the Scituate Lobster with Gnocchi. Which reminds us—have you ordered that glass of red yet? We’re not above closing our eyes and pointing, an acceptable strategy in a place that knows what fine dining should be.

Chocolate dessert from Deuxave

Let’s talk pronunciation: doo-auve. Its meaning has long stumped Boston’s food critics, but we believe it’s related to the restaurant’s location at the corner of two (deux) avenues: Massachusetts and Commonwealth.

In keeping with Deuxave’s special-occasion vibe, patrons can rent two semi-private dining rooms for 7-12 guests. If you have 68 friends to invite, you can rent out the whole dining room.

Must Haves

  • If you’re used to boiled, spreadable pâté-style foie, this fresh, seared version is a revelation. Slice it open and watch buttery juice ooze out; pair soft bites with tiny pine-nut-raisin scones for a sweet-savory appetizer you’ll be tempted to order again for dessert.

  • The kind of pasta dish you crave when you’re starving, or when you’ve had a terrible day, or when you’re celebrating. A dish to return to—and return for.

  • Aside from the aforementioned sauce, there are many reasons to love this dish, like the zingy pickled radish that offers a pop of acidity to balance each bite.

Fun Fact

In 2010, Chef Chris Coombs made his first of two appearances on Food Network’s Chopped. After surviving the appetizer (croissants and rattlesnake meat) and entrée (fruit leather and rabbit) rounds, he was finally chopped after a dessert necessitating the use of hoisin, red jalapeños, yucca, and figs.

Tastes of Deuxave

So good we can't stop writing about it. Read more about Deuxave!

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