By Molly McDonough · 04/26/2018    Suburbs · New American · $$$

Stepping into this spot is a bit like retreating under the shade of its eponymous angiosperm: A welcoming, uncomplicated oasis, Sycamore makes the urban jungle feel far, far away. There’s plenty of greenery, too, but it’s all on the plate; the natural light, exposed brick, and wood-lined environs do not distract from a colorful cuisine that changes constantly to reflect what’s blooming outside.

salad from Sycamore

From bar snack to beignet, dinner at this Newton gem is a seamless farm-to-table experience. Start with a citrusy, Falerno! cocktail; its sprinkle of chili salt and smoky mezcal mirrors the flavors of Sycamore’s most irresistible bar snack, Chorizo Croquettas, while its citrusy punch cuts through the fat of their perfectly-crisp outsides. Move on to whatever salad and pasta dishes are on the menu—a mix of crispy-fresh snap pea greens and buds topping marbled coppa slices in a silky dressing; a collection of Castelmagno-stuffed agnolotti dusted with pistachio and topped with tiny chive flowers.

While the botanicals set the stage, meat steals the show. The Board, consisting of one animal in four renditions, is an essential splurge for convivial groups and carnivorous couples. On a recent evening, lamb was roasted, braised, confit, and baked, offering a cruise around the Mediterranean with its panisse, tomato jam, thick confit, merguez, and couscous.

meat board from Sycamore

Of course, Sycamore doesn’t just feel far from the city—for many Bostonians, a trip here necessitates exploring unfamiliar reaches of the Green Line. For chefs David Punch and Lydia Reichert, previously of Ten Tables and Craigie on Main, that was kind of the point: The Newton Centre locale was a departure from the rat race of their former Cambridge environs, a rare corner of the city where a European-influenced seasonal menu with small plates was hard to find. And they’ve absolutely nailed it. So much that, despite being “Newton Centre’s neighborhood bistro,” Sycamore has us flocking from the city by the trolley-full.

Pasta from Sycamore

In keeping with its neighborly vibe, Sycamore’s friendly bar serves snacks until 11:30 p.m. and cocktails till midnight (the regular menu is available only until 10 p.m., or 10:30 on weekends).

You should definitely reserve a table; this spot is booked night after night. You can do it via OpenTable, but Sycamore staff prefer if you call.

Must Haves

  • It rotates constantly, but this epic shared platter always pays homage to meat. One animal is cooked in four completely different ways, reflecting creative prowess of both butcher and chef. It’s about as big as four small plates—a filling entree for two.

  • Homemade and always perfectly cooked, expect gorgeous presentations and seasonal flavors in each of the two or so varieties on offer.

  • Everything you’ve always loved about cinnamon- and sugar-dusted hot fried dough, but in an adorably diminutive size and near-weightless texture. Bonus: Dipping it in warm milk jam, which we’d also recommend eating by the spoonful.

Fun Fact

In its mastery of meat, Sycamore pays homage to John Dewar & Co., the beloved butchery that previously inhabited the space. The shop’s sign is one of the few decorations proudly displayed on the restaurant’s walls.

Tastes of Sycamore

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

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