On Monday November 12th I was invited to a VIP tasting at the Medford location of Not Your Average Joe’s where they were introducing their fall/winter menu. I’ve been to the Westborough location multiple times and have always had a great meal, so I was really looking forward to the evening. If you’re not familiar with the restaurant, Not Your Average Joe’s offers what I’d call upscale bar food. They use fresh ingredients and every menu item is made from scratch so you’re able to add or omit specific ingredients in order to adjust dishes to your liking. Joe’s prides themselves on quality food at a great price – you won’t ever see a menu item over $20! (however some specials which include prime items like lobster may stretch a tad over…)
Executive Chef of the Medford location, Gene Mendes, prepared the following dishes for us…
Poached Pear and Blue Cheese Flatbread
red wine poached pears, grilled hill blue cheese, candied pecans and craisins
This flatbread certainly has enough sweet components that balance out the strong and savory blue cheese. The pears were a good consistency (not too mushy) and there was a bit of each ingredient on every piece which is important. I sure did help myself to 2 pieces!
Short Rib Pretzel Bites
red wine braised short ribs over pretzel bread with spicy mustard and crispy onion strings
This appetizer – my favorite dish of the evening – was inspired by trips to NYC, most likely by the street vendors you see on every block. A small mound of short ribs was piled on the soft pretzel bread and topped with onion strings and a drizzle of spicy mustard. I adore all mustard – except yellow – and this one was really excellent; spicy without being over powering. I of course went back for round two…
Meat Lovers Pizza
mello’s spicy linguica, zoe’s cured salami and italian sausage, with tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella
I enjoy Italian meats in small doses so this pizza isn’t exactly up my alley but I enjoyed the small slice I tasted. It had a thin crust base with a doughy end, and small pieces of each meat throughout.
Poached Pear Spinach Salad
red wine poached pears, great hill blue cheese, candied pecans, craisins, baby spinach and crispy onion strings with warm maple vinaigrette
This dish is the salad version of the flatbread mentioned above. Served with warm maple vinaigrette, this sweet salad is perfect for the winter months. These ingredients go great together but I could have done without the onion strings.
Farmer’s Market Chicken Carbonara
grilled chicken breast with fettuccine tossed in a light white wine cream sauce with country bacon, grilled fresh corn, grape tomatoes, asparagus, and grilled red onions
I typically don’t love Carbonara as it tends to be heavy, rich, and filling. This version however was light but still quite flavorful. I loved the vegetable addition of corn and asparagus!
andouille sausage, tasso ham, mello’s spicy linguica, shredded chicken, shrimp, veggies and rice simmered in a cajun-spiced tomato broth (gluten free!)
I don’t know that I’ve ever had Jambalaya and I’m not sure I’d ever order it but this dish was pretty good. It’s hard to go wrong with rice, chicken and veggies, and there was just enough spice to give it a solid kick without being overly spicy.
curry spices, rice noodles, sugar snap peas, fresh herbs, chopped peanuts in a lime-infused chili broth (gluten free!)
This Vietnamese inspired entrée displayed a generous portion of salmon atop a bowl of rice noodles surrounded by peanuts, snap peas, and plenty of dill. The noodles were slippery and required slurping (things got messy); the salmon was cooked well and I really loved the crunchy peanut component.