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Phantom Gourmet: Fairmount Grille In Hyde Park

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BOSTON – Some restaurants just seem to understand exactly what their customers want. Good value. Cold Beers. Great chicken wings. Cheeseburgers. Chocolate cake.

The Fairmount Grille in Hyde Park is that kind of restaurant and according to Owner / Operator Chris Rassias, it’s the kind laid-back, bright, family-friendly spot this neighborhood needed.

“A place where you can go to a few times a week. A place where, you get home from work, you got the kids and you say ‘You know what? I don’t want to clean the dishes today. I don’t want to go to the grocery store. Let’s go the Fairmount Grill. Let’s have a nice meal for the family; have a couple of drinks; go home and call it a night’.”

You really can’t find one dish on the menu here that you wouldn’t immediately recognize and immediately crave.

A nice marinated Steak Tip Salad. A crispy-skinned Roasted Half Chicken. And huge hunks of juicy, slow-roasted Prime Rib. To start your meal with something special, order a plate of Rasberry Haberno Chicken Wings, a personal favorite of Chef Tony Mezzetti.

“That is a really cool sauce. It actually doesn’t have that much habanero in it, but it has a lot a lot of brown sugar. The chicken wings I serve with it, they’re slow roasted in the oven for about an hour and a half. By the time I pulled them out of the oven, they pull apart like a braised chicken.”

French Fries are one of the Fairmount Grille’s specialties as well. They’re hand-cut, perfectly seasoned, and available in styles like Chili and Cheese, or Canadian style Poutine with fresh cheese curd and brown gravy.

“Kind of like a loaded potato, yeah,” described Rassias. “ It’s gravy and cheese and French fries. In Canada they do something right and the poutine is it.”

Obviously, comfort food is the common denominator on the Fairmount Grille menu. But for the Meatloaf, the kitchen gets a little creative.

“We add some secret ingredients, I really can’t tell you about. I wish I could,” Rassias said.

But Chef Tony claims the key is the housemade bacon jam that’s made with, “cocoa powder, coffee, onions, garlic, Kentucky bourbon, brown sugar, and pounds upon pounds of bacon. So you don’t need a gravy. You don’t need ketchup with it. The meatloaf is kind of spicy; it’s got a bit of a kick to it. It’s not like your grandmother’s meatloaf.”

For a little Italian-style comfort, check out the Seafood Marinara packed with sautéed shrimp, calamari and mussels in a vibrant, fresh tomato sauce. And for something a bit more upscale, the Twin Filet Mignon is an absolute steal for under $25.

“I actually bring in the meat myself and cut it up and form it,” the chef said. “It’s really tender. You can pretty much cook my filets up to medium well, well done, and still cut it with a fork.”

“We serve it with a mushroom demiglace, mashed potatoes. We serve it with asparagus. They’re awesome,” Rassias added.

For those drinking beers at the bar, burgers are bit hit -especially the signature Bison Burger.

“Bison meat is one of my favorite meats because it is lean. It’s actually good for you. It doesn’t have the fat content. Not that you’re worried about that anyways. But it also has a really nice bite to it,” Rassias described. “With a little barbecue sauce, a little pepper jack cheese, give it a little spice, some onion strings on top. It’s just an explosion of flavors in your mouth.”

Just like all the food here, desserts are made in house and made from scratch, from the fluffy Mascarpone Cheesecake to the Triple Stacked Death by Chocolate Cake.

“To tell you the truth, I’m not a huge fan of chocolate,” Rassias admitted. “I’d rather go for the mascarpone cheesecake any day: until I tried this chocolate cake. It’s dense. It’s rich. If you don’t like chocolate, try it. If you like chocolate, try it.”

Why wouldn’t you want to try getting some dessert, dinner, and drinks at a real neighborhood restaurant run by really good people?

“Best thing about owning a restaurant is walking around the dining room, seeing everybody having a good time, complimenting the food, complimenting the service, saying thank you for being here. And I can’t thank them enough for coming in and having the great time that they are. I can’t even describe it; it’s awesome.”

“It’s never the same thing day in and day out,” said Chef Tony. “It’s always something new and it’s always fun to come in and play with food for your job. You make people happy with your food.”

The Fairmount Grille is at 81 Fairmount Avenue in Hyde Park, or online at fairmountgrille.com.

Watch Phantom Gourmet on Saturdays and Sundays at 10:30 and 11 a.m. on myTV38.

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