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Saturday, December 1, 2012

GRUB- Northampton, MA





Over the thanksgiving holiday, my family and I spent time with relatives in Northampton, Massachusetts. For those of you not familiar with Northampton, it has a population of around 28,000 and sits between several renowned colleges including Amherst and Smith. This particular trip was especially exciting because our relatives, Dan and Beth recently opened up a second restaurant, called GRUB in the heart of Northampton. Their first endeavor, Bistro Les Gras, an upscale French restaurant allowed Chef and owner Dan Martinez to spread his culinary wings. Cooking with local, fresh ingredients Dan specializes in farm to table preparation, leaving absolutely nothing to waste. A few years back I had the pleasure of enjoying a multiple course meal I will never forget at Bistro Les Gras. Each dish was simple, beautiful and incredibly flavorful. This year, I tried their newest project, a sandwich shop. Upon first impression, I was surprised to learn of the concept, since one successful restaurant alone is a grand achievement. I later learned from Dan why they decided to tackle such a varying genre. He replied with a smirk, "we wanted a great sandwich in Northampton... so we opened our own shop!" GRUB, is a casual joint, with a handful of booths and tables, a chalkboard menu and graffiti-clad walls. GRUB caters to the college crowd, remaining open until 2am on the weekends. What impressed me most about GRUB was the unique and eclectic menu hinting on the traditional, but with a very large curve ball! For example, they have a sandwich called the BBLT, a playful cousin to the BLT with slow-roasted pork belly, smoked bacon and ham, greens, and roasted tomato marmalade. This sandwich is massive, filling, juicy and delicious! The meats, bread, sauces and additions are all prepared from scratch. Dan has been known to "bake by day, and cook by night!" I also tried their trout salad, a healthful combination of smoked trout, quinoa, greens, almonds, olives, chevre, and cucumbers tossed in a fennel-honey vinaigrette. The salad was unlike any I have tried. I loved the play of texture created with a grain like qunioa paired with soft chevre cheese. The smokey trout also paired beautifully with the briny olives and pungent cheese. If I lived nearby, I would order that salad regularly! GRUB offers the town of Northampton elevated casual cuisine at the right price, in a casual approachable atmosphere. Congrats Dan and Beth! 

Please check out both of Beth and Dan's restaurants below to learn more.

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