Boston: Audubon

Let's Eat by Kitty Kaufman, photos by Kathryn Blair

Audubon is a sleek bar with good food. Two Kats on Beacon Street are just over the Brookline/Boston line with a 15-minute walk to Fenway and Boston University. No, we're not off to a game; Kat and I are having a goodbye lunch since this is her last day working at BU and she's off to a new design position. Why didn't we do this sooner? It's fun.

Chef Suzi Maitland puts out starters, salads, sides and sandwiches with a classy nod to vegetarians. We choose broccoli that's truffle salted and blue cheesed. (President Bush might change his mind about broccoli if he had it here: grilled with cheese that stays till the last spear is gone.) I think about taking an order to go, though I know broccoli will not do well in the car. Anyway, a worthy green addition to the chili, potstickers, bratwurst, mussels and wings to start.

audubon broccoli Next time we are going to see about their salt and pepper shrimp with pear sauce and jalapeños. Am I the last to know pears and peppers are a thing? Are they? I think they might be. I see piles of recipes that call for pears and jalapeños grated into slaw, into chutneys, and spun into spicy pear butter that's "either a one or two day process," writes E. J. Conn on preservedandpickled. I do grow cayenne peppers by the window; not for me, I give them away to hearty eaters. With small white flowers and red fruit, it's festive and you never know who might stop in for a meal that calls for seeds afire. Pear trees in the dining room take up too much room.

audubon burger I get a burger with bacon. No fruit but tomato. I hear somewhere on the food line that burgers at Audubon were on, then off and now, lucky for me, are back on the menu. They have 12 things you can add: like cheeses, mushrooms, jams onion and bacon, jalapeños, avocado and onions. But know this burger stands all on its own, which is not to say that an add-on would be bad. It's just that good: grilled spot-on medium rare juicy, eight ounces of lightly charred and not densely packed ground meat. A good kitchen, it turns out, has a knack of turning out what seems simple but takes skill to do up right. I swap the roll for civilized red potatoes. There's a vegetarian burger too.

audubon bar Who doesn't love a hip bar? And is it still okay to say hip? Room for you, a posse and then some. No wine today, just tea - we're going back to work. I'd bring colleagues here in a New York minute. Oh, and there's a patio out back where you sit at high-tops with bamboo curtains and mood lighting. Once they start lunch at 11:30, food keeps coming till midnight and you can drink right on until 1 or 2 am depending.

Kat's having a prosciutto and apple press with cheddar and honey mustard on sourdough. It does matter, the cheese, the mustard and the pressing. Whoever started pressing lunch, thank you. Nothing in your lap and if it's too big, just fork it. Red cabbage slaw's crisp with vinegar. Kat's into taking pictures of what she eats so much that Mom's been known to say, 'eat already.' Anyway, arugula with honeycrisps, a hunk of cheese with a wedge of ham make a fun plate and no, it is not being shared. I get it.

audubon apple ham There are friendly, friendly servers. (It may be that you need a beard to work here but maybe not.) The menu lists just one dessert; it's a banana split made with banana cake, bourbon caramel, burnt sugar ice cream and strawberries topped with almonds. It sounds so good. Yet, I have dance class in four hours. Sometimes it pays to ask because our server has an off-menu option. He brings coconut pudding pops. Good thing we ask if there might be something a little less, you know, filling. It's frozen toasty white, on a stick and not sweet with icy flavor that keeps coming. It beats lemon sorbet any day. Yes, I know, who doesn't love a banana split but really. Even chef Suzi has one.

audubon bacon This is bacon art. Later in the day I can imagine that one of their cocktails would go down well with it or a draft, of which there are plenty. They have wines to toast grilled mahi-mahi and spring pasta. Audubon chars your asparagus and massages kale into submission with almonds and yogurt dressing. Avocado with queso fresco, mint pea tostados, French onion dip and roast beef with grilled cheese and roast turkey are yours all day. The crunchy crowd orders trail mix salad with pulled chicken and baby pizza with pesto. You could get dinner at Fenway. Why, when you can have it right here right now? If I lived here, I'd be home. P. S. We stopped in last night, 7/1/2016, and it turns out the menu's changed. There's still plenty to like and yes, the burger's present and so are fish tacos.

Audubon Boston
838 Beacon St
Boston, MA 02215
617. 421.1910

© June 29, 2015 Photos by Kathryn Blair. Kitty Kaufman is a writer in Boston. See more of their food adventures at Corporate Edge and on Twitter
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