In the Kitchen
Josh and Jessica Foley met in the mid-1990s while working at Harvest, the Harvard Square restaurant that helped usher in the expectation restaurant food should be fresh and local. They daydreamed for years about opening their own place. “The right time never seemed to present itself, and suddenly, it did,” said Josh, who is executive chef at Avenue, which the couple launched in May in their adopted hometown of Medfield. The menu offers a healthy serving of seasonal vegetables and wood-fired specialties.
THE LOCALE Avenue is in a newly renovated building in the center of Medfield. The restaurant features an open kitchen with a wood-burning oven and grill. The dining area has near floor-to-ceiling windows that provide a sweeping view of the Medfield Town House. At the front is a bar with several small booths and bar side seating. I visited on a Sunday and Tuesday for early dinners, and each time the restaurant was nearly full by the time I left. After getting early feedback that the dining room was too noisy, the Foleys installed acoustical ceiling panels. I didn’t notice any more noise than you would reasonably expect from a full restaurant.
On the Menu The appetizers are appealing enough to become a main meal for some diners. The wood-roasted starters include four types of flatbreads with toppings such as honeyed duck confit, lobster, or pork sausage and wood-roasted mushrooms. These are baked at 750 degrees for just three minutes. Foley said it took him several weeks to settle on a dough recipe, using a flour imported from Italy that requires a two-day rise. The straightforward pomodoro flatbread ($13) has crushed tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and Italian herbs. The potato-crusted Rhode Island calamari ($11) is soft and fragrant, interspersed with fried sweet onion. It is served with a zesty tartar sauce. Avenue has signature cocktails and beer and wine by the bottle and glass. The entrees feature ample portions of the main dish, paired with fresh, seasonal vegetables. The wood-grilled local swordfish ($27) was a wide, moist steak served on top of fresh sugar snap peas, roasted heirloom tomatoes, and corn kernels. The side dish was a smattering of fingerling potatoes. The oven-roasted Argentinian brasa natural chicken ($23, pictured above) was juicy and had just enough smoke flavor to not overwhelm. It was served with roasted peaches and a grilled bread salad. Service was exceptional — both friendly and attentive. And while the decor is elegant and modern, the restaurant has an energetic, fun vibe. Reservations are recommended. Parking is ample and free, in a lot behind the building.
Avenue, 445 Main St., Medfield;