Cured meats, bold wines in the Backroom on Moody Street

Moody's The Backroom Flatbread

Where to The Backroom, adjacent to Moody’s Delicatessen & Provisions.

What for Cured meats, bold wines, and rollicking good cheer on Waltham’s Moody Street.

The scene One drink away from frisky. Radiant couples flirt at the bar. Chef Joshua Smith, dapper in chef’s whites, fist-bumps friends. A bartender caresses a bottle of amber liquid like a prized guitar. Groups order cocktails — quickly followed by bottles of wine. Hunks of salami dangle from the ceiling, quivering a little as Snoop Dogg’s “Gin and Juice” throbs. Two men who resemble handsomer versions of the Muppets’ Statler and Waldorf settle onto barstools and begin a boisterous running commentary.

What you’re eating Food that would make any self-respecting cardiologist weep. Smith runs New England Charcuterie, and his deli next door made its name with husky, rich sandwiches like sous-vide pork belly and slow-roasted beef. This menu is bigger and richer still. There are the requisite charcuterie ($28) and cheese boards ($18). There are also $15 flatbreads topped with shrimp, chorizo, and saffron aioli; genoa, Parmesan, and pickled pepper; or pastrami, Swiss, and sauerkraut. Pasta is drenched in silky Mornay sauce ($12) or served with foraged mushrooms ($14). A waitress recommends hulking meatballs or bourbon-bathed pork belly (both $14), whose consumption is the next best thing to mainlining maple syrup. A $68 wood-grilled cowboy steak with grilled asparagus and bearnaise is an expense-account fantasy. Kids can get grilled cheeses or hot dogs.

Care for a drink? A “Holy Grail” wine section spotlights rare offerings; another section highlights “Interesting Reds.” By the glass, many wines come in three sizes: 1.5-ounce samples, three ounces 3-ounce half glass, or 6-ounce glasses. Cocktails ($12-$13) favor bourbon, and there’s a concise beer list that spotlights Brooklyn, N.Y.’s Sixpoint Brewery. The bar area has hooks for purses, which makes it easy to linger — and people do.

Overheard Gluttonous glee and suave come-ons. “I just want bearnaise sauce! No asparagus!” squeals a many-scarved woman, who then caresses the walls and coos. “Is this charcuterie on the house?” booms a man, reaching for a meaty platter and laughing at the thought. “I must be a dying breed,” says a dignified fellow in a blazer, draining a drink and ogling a date. “I still get my news from the radio.” “Who wants some d-e-s-s-e-r-t?” spells a waitress to a table with a child. The parents smile appreciatively. “I used to be a nanny,” she explains.

Written by Kara Baskin / Globe Correspondent / See Article Here
Photo by Dina Rudick / Globe Staff