August 7, 2008
Posted by MH, Boston's Hidden Restaurants
Last week I finally got over to the eclectic Something Savory in Arlington Heights. I probably go past the place two or three times per week, so it is strange that I hadn't been there before. But last Wednesday we gave it a shot, and it turned out to be quite good.
Located in the heart of Arlington Heights, Something Savory is a tiny place, with only a few tables inside. But it is rather attractive, with bright yellow, orange, and green walls, a colored tile floor, several plants, exposed brick, and pleasantly dim fluorescent lights all giving this dining spot a fun, festive feel. Our server was friendly and very helpful in explaining some of the items on the menu. And I did have some questions, as much of the food at Something Savory features is Caribbean influenced (the chef started out in the Virgin Islands) and I was a bit unfamiliar with a few of the items.
I started with a hearty cup of ham and bean soup, which had a nice, thick broth and a good amount of ham. Our entrees were a salad trio (three different salads on one plate, including a terrific orzo salad and a decent beet salad) and a pan-seared catfish. The catfish was prepared quite nicely, with the skin kept on the bottom to keep in the moisture, and a sauce that was a complex (perhaps too complex) mix of pineapple pieces, hot peppers, tomatoes, plantains, and lime juice. The sauce reminded me of a sauce I tried last month at a Caribbean place in Asheville, NC, called Salsa's, and in that case as well as this one, my stomach didn't seem too happy about all the ingredients. The collard greens that came with the catfish had a taste not unlike sauerkraut and was too harsh for me to finish. The vegetable rice was much better, with a number of different spices working together very nicely. For dessert, we tried an outstanding lemon cake with butter cream on top and lemon curd inside. The other desserts also sounded good, but I figured I could wait until the next time I came here.
While I liked Something Savory very much, I tend to think that the place probably isn't for everyone. I guess I can almost compare it to a group of top session musicians who decide to form a band; most folks will sense the talent and appreciate the uniqueness and originality, but in the end, perhaps only a small number of people will truly comprehend the greatness of it all. In short, Something Savory seems to be a niche restaurant that puts out some great food, but probably will never become a household name among the general population. In other words, this place could be considered a hidden gem of sorts, so stay tuned, as perhaps it will be featured on this site once we get to try some of the other dishes there.