Friday, May 21, 2010

Taking Restaurant Critics to Dinner

My parents are the main reasons why I became a restaurant critic and food writer. We rarely ate out at restaurants growing up, mostly for financial reasons, but also because there are only so many restaurants that are suitable for a family with four loud, squirmy kids. So whenever we did go out to eat, my parents were very critical - and rightfully so. On those few occasions where we actually dined out, my parents expected the service, food, and atmosphere to be damn good.

My parents still don't make it out to eat as often as they'd probably like, but although the frequency has increased now that us kids are older and money is less tight, their harsh criticism hasn't changed. So last Sunday, when my parents came down and Z and I took them out to dinner, we wanted to take them to a restaurant that we know is good and that they'd appreciate. Being the beer-loving people we are, we decided to take my parents to Watch City Brewing Co. in Waltham.

Watch City is such a great neighborhood spot on Moody Street, with awesome beer (which you can only get there), delicious pub-style food, and a relaxed, friendly atmosphere. Definitely one of Z and I's kind of places, and, thankfully, my parents echoed our enthusiasm for it.

Amongst the beer sipping and sampling, we ate dinner - Z opted for the Roasted Beet and Herb Goat Cheese Salad ($10.99); my parents both ordered the Grilled Salmon with Honey Thyme Vinaigrette with asparagus and Basmati rice ($16.99); and I got the Garden Veggie Burger ($8.99), with cheddar cheese and homemade salsa.

Watch City has some customized burgers, but they also have a short list of condiments and toppings where you can basically build your own. The burgers are also served with "brewhouse fries," but you can substitute them for onion rings, sweet potato fries (which I went for), or a salad (who does that?) for just $1 more. Their sweet potato fries are seriously delicious, with a perfectly crispy, salty exterior and a slightly mushy (in a good way), more sweet filling. The veggie burger itself was also very flavorful, with a great balance of spices, and the homemade salsa added a necessary, crunchy texture to the burger. The salsa could have been a little spicier though, for my taste, and I was pretty disappointed that avocado was not on the list of topping options.

My parents, however, loved their salmon, and continuously commented throughout the meal on how flavorful the fish was, and how well cooked the asparagus and rice were. Z also educated my dad on the beer options before and during the meal, so my father was happy to try a few unique brews, which he can't get anywhere else. If my parents were published restaurant critics, Watch City would have received 5 stars.

Which local restaurant do you take your mother and/or father to when they're in town?

Watch City Brewing Co on Urbanspoon

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