As part of my Monday Munchies series, I will feature a different eatery for a review on the third Monday of every month. Hope you enjoy!
I’ll never forget my first time.
Nope, I’ll never forget my first time ripping that piece of focaccia bread in half, taking it and swirling it into the cheesy olive oil dip, and taking a big bite of that spongy bread that absorbed that earthy, rich oil.
When I was younger, I tagged along with my dad once from CT to MA on a work trip. We needed a dinner spot so we went to Not Your Average Joe’s. That night started my love with NYAJ’s and their infamous bread.
I recently had the fun opportunity to visit the new Waltham, MA, that opened just a few months ago, for great blogger dinner. They invited local bloggers to check out the new location and the new seasonal menu.
They used to have weekly specials but have not refocused their menu to have seasonal specials that compliment their menu staples. This way diners can try more options throughout their visits in the season.
Besides their new menu approach, they are creating a new look a feel to their restaurants that feature different table styles- booths, tables, communal dining tables, and high-tops. Plus, they have elongated their bar. But don’t worry, it’s not s sports bar! They have TV’s so you can check the score, but it’s not about that. They really want the emphasis on the dining experience to be about your food, drink, and company.
Our night started out at the bar where we gathered as a group to meet new friends and to catch up with old blogging buddies, like Erica, who I went to a New Kids on The Block concert with this summer!
I enjoyed their Cucumber Mule ($8.99) that features hanson hand-made organic cucumber vodka, elderflower liqueur, fever tree ginger beer, and muddled limes. It’s served in the classic coppper mug. I loved it so much that I had another at diner!
Unfortunately, it had rained the night of the event so we didn’t get to enjoy their fire pit. But I swear I am going back one day to hang by the fire pit to sip on a cocktail while snuggling under one of their flannel blankets for guests to use.
While I always appreciate the work that goes into creating a great menu, but I love to check out restaurants for their use of design elements, as I am a designer. Shoot, I’m currently working on a project that uses the blue glass pendant that is hanging over their bread prep station, pictured above. So fun!
We then headed into the kitchen to meet some of the kitchen staff and to see them in action preparing the food from french fries to their flatbreads to grilled chicken.
Our family style dinner started with Deviled Eggs, Mango Shrimp Rolls, Buffalo Caribbean Chicken Tenders, and Butternut Squash Flatbread.
I skipped the Deviled Eggs as I am not a fan of them in general and there was plenty of other starters to choose from.
The mango shrimp rolls were a lot of fun. I felt they could have used a bit more mint and cilantro in the roll as they were pretty mellow, besides the mango, on their own. With the sauce, they were great, but I would have preferred a bit more zing from the fresh herbs.
Butternut Squash Flatbread ($9.99) was a perfect seasonal dish that featured rich autumnal flavors from the squash to sage to brussels sprouts.
To me, this would be a great dish to share with a group while you enjoy their Harvest Sangria or a Bourbon Smash, or any of their other drinks from their drinks menu.
Besides having an inventive cocktail menu, they have 20 beers on tap that feature Massachusetts-made”Backyard Brews”, and an extensive selection of award-winning wines that you can order by the glass.
The Spaghetti Squash Bolognese ($15.50) is one of their Seasonal Selections that was naturally vegetarian, but was so hearty that you didn’t even ‘mind’ it. The bolognese was meat free, but had substance from a variety of mushrooms. All of that was topped with sauteed spinach and freshly grated Parmesan. A perfect 10 for vegetarians and meat eaters alike.
Super Crunch Salad ($14.99) is another great vegetable based dish. It is served with chopped grilled chicken, which can simply be omitted for a vegetarian version. Most importantly, enjoy the crunch. It’s a great crunchy salad that features quinoa, apples, pistachios, and more with an orange-sesame dressing.
Cranberry-Teriyaki Roasted Chicken ($16.50/$14.50) with butternut squash and ricotta filled cannelloni was another well received dish of the night. As we had a vegetarian diner with us, we received the vegetarian version that omits the chicken, plus you get another cannelloni. I enjoyed the flavors, but I loved the substance of the dish as well. So filling and comforting.
Besides the bread being infamous at NYAJ’s, their Mustard-Crusted Chicken ($14.99) has been a long time staple. It’s a simple chicken dish, but executed really well. Sometimes you just can’t beat thin breaded chicken cutlets that you can dip into a lemony aioli. One might argue that it’s pretty plain but I think it’s a great comfort dish as it’s served with mashed potatoes and green beans.
Rosemary Skewered Scallops ($24.99) was my favorite dish of the night. Hands down favorite. I almost didn’t want to share and skip the rest of the other dinner entrees we could enjoy. I loved the sear on the scallops and the israeli couscous salad it was served with. I couldn’t get enough of the textures and flavors. It was a perfect combination of everything from the earthy rosemary to the insanely fresh vegetables in the salad.
Admittedly, I didn’t even try the new Vietnamese Salmon ($19.50) as I don’t love salmon and I was so freaking full already with all the bread and delicious entrees, and I was really trying hard to save a bit of room for upcoming dessert.
Dessert was a real treat as we were presented with 3 wonderful options.
‘Joe’ is known for the Peanut Butter Thing ($7.99) which is an ice cream pie dessert. If you love peanut butter and chocolate that I et you will love this dessert. You won’t be able to resist the peanut butter and chocolate chunks that are folded into vanilla ice cream that is then rolled in Oreo Cookie crumbs. Plus, it’s then finished off at your table by your server as they drizzle hot chocolate and caramel sauces over it. Hot Damn.
I had never had this before has I always, always fill up on bread at the start of the meal so we always skip dessert, but I was really impressed with it so I’ll really try to resist the carb loading at the start of the meal to make it to dessert. Maybe. Hopefully…
Goji Berry Apple Crisp ($7.50) that was served with ice cream was a fantastic dessert to feature classic fall flavors and ingredients. I thought it was fantastic and fun with the goji berries.
Wrapping things up was their Gluten-Free Carrot Cake ($7.50). The real kicker was that gluten free, but you honestly would never had guessed that as it was so incredibly moist. I have had plenty of gluten free desserts so I have had plenty of dry desserts, but this was awesome. It was incredibly sweet from the cream cheese frosting, but I feel that is signature of carrot cake in general.
So it should be no surprise that I loved this dinner. Duh.
I went home satisfied from a great dinner and from great company of other bloggers and the great folks from Not Your average Joe’s.
I highly suggest taking a night out to visit your local Not Your Average Joe’s in Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia. Or watch your favorite football team there while you enjoy one of their great deals. It’s always a great time at Joe’s!
Not Your Average Joe’s– Waltham
56 Market Place Drive
Waltham, MA 02451
While my meal at Not Your Average Joe’s was part of a local blogger event, all opinions are completely my own.