IN THE KITCHEN: Brett Herlihy, 29, The Spot’s head chef, is a Burlington native who earned his cooking chops working at tavern-style pubs in Greater Boston. That experience gives him and general manager Jason Ingemi — who you’ll find behind the bar — a good idea of what they want The Spot to be.
“We’re taking traditional comfort food dishes and adding something special,” said Herlihy, who came on board shortly after The Spot opened in Georgetown last year. “It’s all about building layers of flavors and textures.
“We’re about developing what everyone around here is looking for,” he said. “We try out a lot of our things on special, and if somebody — or everybody — jumps onto something we’re doing, then we understand that that’s a direction we should be going.”
THE LOCALE: Among the latest of the Serenitee Restaurant Group on the North Shore, it features a mix of old and new. The location is well known to local diners, having recently housed Rory O’Connor's Irish Pub and the Georgetown Grille. Judging from a Friday night crowd, it has gained a following.
It has a fairly open layout, with the dining area and lively bar divided only by a 4-foot counter also used for seating. When full, the place feels comfortably snug, like a neighborhood pub should.
The bar offers high top tables, but my wife and I opted for a small table in the dining area. We were seated close to a father sampling a sushi roll while entertaining his three pony-tailed daughters. Adjacent were two gentlemen enjoying hamburgers and fries.
The service was exceptional. From recommendations to pacing, Christa was attentive without being intrusive.
ON THE MENU: Lauri and I arrived on a frigid Friday evening, with a chill in our bones and a hankering for hearty fare. The Spot delivered.
I usually can’t resist sushi. The Spot has Friday chalkboard specials, and there were two $18 sushi choices — a paradise roll with tempura shrimp, and an item called Eliminate the Impossible, with an intriguing mix of salmon, peaches, and cucumbers — but my wife persuaded me to try Crispy Thai-Style Calamari ($11). Though not quite crispy, it was fresh, perfectly cooked, and nicely seasoned with a sweet and spicy sauce and crushed peanuts.
The Spot has some fun sandwiches: a cherry-smoked pulled pork ($12), Cajun-infused fish tacos ($16), and The Spot burger ($15). But we turned to entrees. Lauri opted for the rib-sticking wild mushroom mac & cheese with a short rib side ($16, plus $6). The dish is also offered with chicken ($4) or pulled pork ($5). The smoke Gouda cheese was a rich complement to the roasted mix of three types of mushrooms and thick pasta swirls. The short ribs were mouth-watering.
I tried the maple bourbon-glazed meatloaf ($18). The dish came with a huge slab of meat atop a pair of lightly fried potato croquets, garnished with candied-bacon Brussels sprouts. The meatloaf was delicious, absorbing the tangy bourbon glaze. I brought half home. Downeast hard cider ($6), actually crafted in Charlestown, partnered nicely with both dishes.
The Spot, 19 West Main St., Georgetown; 978-352-3351; georgetownspot.com.
Brion O’Connor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.