Waltham, Waltham, WalTHAAM. I can’t say that I know the old Waltham very well. I have never been to Sadie’s Saloon; because it gave me the illusion of abandonment long before it officially shut down. I’ve been to the Skellig just once because you told me it was a happening place and a Moody staple. Perhaps ten years ago? Many other venues on Moody are closing and new spots are moving in, which are slowly lifting the mood of Moody Street. Still, there will be something for everyone on this small strip. Sports bars, ice cream, dive bars, bars with great beer, Italian food, Indian food, and one for my latest blog project.
Tempo Bistro in Waltham is a favorite spot and a gem in the neighborhood. Keeping up with the pace, Tempo composes a lively venue ideal for an after work dinner social, couples’ night out, or even a “me date.” I fondly remember from earlier this spring, on a late night cocktail venture, I asked the staff if they can make me a plate of vegetables. Vegetables. At a bar. Who gets such a craving? Well, I did and was bold enough to ask for it. They were nice enough to prepare a plate just for me which lifted my spirits and satisfied my odd craving.
After recent renovations, the venue is fashionably dressed in contrasting woods, leather seats, and tribal-like patterns which rejuvenate the place into a modern and trendy hangout. The movable tables and chairs allow the dining and bar areas more flexibility for larger parties and social functions. As young as Tempo may be, it still holds on to its own classics: the original abstract art.
Our latest visit was during a clear summer weekday evening. Many venues of Moody opened their windows and patrons happily sat by them as they gazed onto the Waltham drinking and dining. The working day has finished, and it’s time for happy hour!
A table by the window was available so of course I wanted it, thinking natural light for food pictures. The summer sun heated my face as I gazed across the street over to the Gaff where a small group sat by the open window on the shady side of Moody. I was a bit jealous of their shade and ice cold drinks, but thoughts of pretty food in natural light kept me happy in the sunny warmth.
Bathing in this summer sun, you would think my drink ought to be a daiquiri or something. Heh. No, of course my eyes lock to the Manhattan rye ‘t away 😀 I fell for that one. The one. The 474, their Manhattan signing sweet caramel and cherry notes.
Bulleit rye, Carpano Antica Vermouth, and cherry bitters diffuse together into what could be my most favorite Manhattan thus far. I said only recently, that I rarely suggest cocktails for a number of reasons. One particularly is that I get oversensitive if you hated it. But, I love this one so much, I may not even care if you don’t like it. I can keep this one all to myself. 😛
The menu, the food being the prime reason for my visit, also got an update. It initially worried me as I feared if a lot of gluten free favorites were pushed off. To my relief, the menu is just as Paleo friendly as I remember it! Gluten free items are marked with a cute icon or “AFG,” available gluten free. In addition to the printed menu, Tempo offers daily and weekly specials; an extensive list that may perhaps need a few pages on their own. Lobster, grilled swordfish, Kobe beef, are just some transient few I can remember.
We ordered the Sweet Potato “Bravas,” something they are very proud of as they promised your money back if you didn’t like it. Sweet potato bites are roasted in a spicy honey glaze and paired with a cilantro avocado puree. The dipping sauce amplified the intensity of each bite while bits of feta added a lovely creamy balance to the appie. Needless to say, I happily ate it and didn’t worry about any cash back.
Entrees included a roasted organic chicken breast with tomato, peppers, and onion risotto (parmesan in the risotto). It hosts an array of herbs and seasoning, maybe a hint of rosemary, yet no one herb is loud and overpowering. Juicy and full of flavor, I’m very impressed that a chicken dish could be so amazing. Not often would I order a chicken dish at a restaurant, I usually brush them off as ‘the token chick dish.’ But to my pleasant surprise, I’m really glad I gave this one a try.
The second entree was a grilled pork chop with apple cranberry reduction, grilled onions, and asparagus. The dish normally comes with macaroni and cheese, which I asked the server to leave it out. He kindly obliged and offered to add more asparagus in its place, which I gladly accepted. The grilled marks on the pork were incredible. They add that smoky summer grilled char akin to enjoying outdoor cooking in a comfortable neighborhood backyard. Though sitting at a window table by Moody is quite nice too. The apple cranberry was a marvelous pairing with the meat. The sweet syrup seeped into the pork and enhanced every bite into a heavenly combination of savory grilled meat and fruity juice.
Tempo has never thrown my culinary craving off key and continues to conduct a harmony of beautiful plates of natural and organic meats and seasonal vegetables. Their extensive selection of meat and veggie plates will keep me tuning into Waltham for more succulent adventures!