Thursday, June 18, 2009

Review: Fat Cat, Quincy

photo of Fat Cat Restaurant, Quincy, MAOver the past few years, the city of Quincy has certainly become a top destination spot for dining out. Nearly every kind of cuisine imaginable can be found in Boston's southern neighbor, including Japanese, Brazilian, Italian, Chinese, Mexican, Thai, Indian, Vietnamese, and much, much more. But there are also several excellent American restaurants and pubs within the city limits, including a place near the center called the Fat Cat that is certainly among the best dining spots that Quincy has to offer.

The Fat Cat, which is housed in a former market, has a lot of charm and character inside, with exposed brick, a dark wooden ceiling, and a dark carpet that tries (albeit mostly unsuccessfully) to offset the noise level of the place. The layout is pretty simple; a bar runs along the left side of the long, narrow room, while the main dining area parallels it on the right side (a partition separates the two). A semi-open kitchen sits at the back, while a few choice window seats grace the front of the place. The overall effect is that of a sleek, industrial-feeling dining spot that somehow seems both modern and retro at the same time.

The menu at the Fat Cat will certainly interest anyone who loves comfort food. Indeed, items such as thinly-sliced onion rings, BBQ pork nachos, chicken wings that have both sauce and heat options, chili, burgers, fish and chips, and baby back ribs should help satisfy nearly any food craving. All of the food is fresh here, and you can surely tell that by the sheer quality of the dishes on the menu.

On a recent trip to the Fat Cat, we tried a number of items, starting with a wonderfully satisfying basket of bread that included corn bread that had a lot of flavor without being overly sweet (a rarity in the Northeast), a black bean dipping sauce with more than a hint of garlic, and a delicious whipped butter that seemed to have a bit of honey in it. We then moved on to a rather unique appetizer, namely the fried dill pickle slices that came with a fairly mild Cajun remoulade. The pickles were tremendous, and were stacked so deeply in the basket that we could barely finish half of them. For our entrees, the hot dog macaroni and cheese was rich, flavorful, and very filling, with panko bread crumbs placed on top of spiral macaroni elbows and several different cheeses (including Manchego, which is a Spanish sheep's milk cheese) added along with tomato slices. And the Philly cheese steak was every bit as good (if not better), as the steak was of very high quality and it came with a nice mix of shitake mushrooms, carmelized onions, grilled peppers, and a mix of cheeses. The handcut fries that came with the cheese steak were fresh and had so little grease that it almost seemed as if they were baked rather than fried (but they were indeed fried). As was the case with the fried pickles, the portions were so large that much of it was packed away for dinner the following day. All of this food was washed down with some truly great beers, including Smuttynose Pale Ale, Young's Double Chocolate Stout, and Leinenkugel Summer Shandy. (The Leinenkugel Berry Weiss was a little less impressive, with a taste bordering on cough syrup.) Service was friendly and personable, and efficient from start to finish. Prices were quite reasonable, with the bill topping out under $50.

It would be no exaggeration to say that the Fat Cat is one of Quincy's best restaurants. The only possible negatives are the fact that the place can get packed (even on weeknights), and the noise level is extremely high (probably due to the brick walls, the wooden ceiling, and the closeness of the bar to the dining area). But these are minor points that shouldn't deter anyone from coming to this fantastic little gastropub about a block from Quincy's main drag.

The address for the Fat Cat is: Fat Cat, 24 Chestnut Street, Quincy, MA 02169. The phone number is (617) 471-4363. and the Web site is at:

Fat Cat on Urbanspoon

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