Saturday, April 9, 2011

Teak Neighborhood Grill: The hidden gem of MetroWest

This is the second time on my blog (the first being Hollerbach’s Willow Tree) that I will stress how entertaining a WHIM can be. I’ll be the first to admit- I’ve never heard of Teak. In fact, if you even pass by the road that it’s on, you probably wouldn’t see what’s so special either. Well, unless you live in the neighborhood. And that’s what Teak stresses- it’s a neighborhood restaurant. However, if you see the caliber of food that they are pumping out (at astonishingly reasonable prices), Teak will soon draw a whole lot more than just their neighborhood. Thank God for my whim… and I haven’t stopped thinking about this place since I ate there.

“Most of our customers are brought here by word-of-mouth,” said Brian Buttner. As owner, Brians concept was simple- keep it fresh, clean, and low-key. He also wanted Teak to be more than just a Burger Bar. So here’s some of the different food fares I tried out this week- Brushetta $6.95, Pan Roasted Mussels $8.95, Tuscan Steak Flatbread $8.95, and the Brazilian Burger $9.95.

So the Bruschetta was intentionally different. Rather than on a Crostini, this one comes with Focaccia. A mélange of the standard mozzarella, tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, and fresh basil were fresh and good. The Focaccia substitution was good too.
Crostini lovers may probably want to try this version a chance since it’s slightly crisp on the outside and chewy-soft on the inside (I wished it was little more crisp though). What I was really gawking at was the ULTRA GENEROUS drizzle of balsamic glaze that imparted a mild sweet and tart finish to the entire dish. Yum.

According to Executive Chef Danny Ortera the Pan Roasted Mussels are “his baby.” And I have to agree- the dish definitely shows a latin hand involved in its expert creation. There were 3 things that were really enticing about this appetizer:
1) The number of mussels served for the order- I counted 20 medium sized Chilean Mussels.
2) The number of mussels served for the order- at $8.95 as an appetizer? RIDICULOUS.
3) The number of mussels served for the order- with a SUBLIME and simple white wine reduced broth.
3a) Um. Yeah. Ridiculously Sublime.

Exquisitely handled mussels embraced a delicate broth replete with minced garlic and tomatoes. Focaccia, again, graced the edges of the dish brushed with herb oil. I found myself getting really perplexed with how Brian is giving a customer what they really want all at the same time- quality, quantity, and value. Usually, one thinks that it’s downright impossible- the portion size for the mussels might as well have been main course. And then my mind suddenly went to something even more perplexing- Half-Price Mondays- can you imagine this dish being $4.50? Ridiculous.

The Tuscan Steak Flatbread was a personal favorite. Thin slices of prime-rib steak, mozzarella cheese, spinach, sautéed Crimini mushrooms, caramelized onions, and sundried tomato aioli made a perfect formula for success.
The Criminis balanced the flavors very smoothly and my tongue made it a tightly controlled captive of my mouth. Chef Ortera makes flatbreads where the toppings go ALL THE WAY TO THE EDGE. This results in an AMAZING mouth-watering experience. The flatbread transformed itself into a nostalgic comfort food before my very eyes. I loved it. And I don’t say that too often.

And finally, the Brazilian. Call it a big boy burger- a fried egg, sliced ham, crisp potato strings, and provolone cheese sit atop a half pound of angus beef.
Now if I had saved room for this lovely piece of edible art, I would have truly relished in her beauty. But from what I managed to eat, I liked it. The patty was juicy even though it was well-done. All of it made sense. However, if I had to critique anything it would be the potato sticks which were a little on the semi-burnt borderline. They imparted a charry taste to the burger which was good, except my inner-child wanted to single out the sticks and nibble on them. I was glad that the bun got some attention- a light toast and quick brush of oil. I can’t stress how many times a promising burger has been eclipsed by a stale, boring bun. Not this time. At Teak, all breads are locally bought from a little French Bakery in Winter Garden. And you can taste the difference.

As a side note, Teak’s fries rock. These come with the burgers and they are just as good when eaten alone. At Teak, the fries are not just dusted with a spice blend. Rather, it’s a secret SAUCE that they are tossed in.

IN A NUTSHELL: Go before everybody else beats you to it. Half-price Mondays have all items except Burgers half-off. Not surprisingly this also happens to be one of their busiest nights. Teak has a full bar so feel free to belly up to the bar and have something to eat at the same time. Take the time to notice the presentation of what you ordered- many of the dishes are supposed to be eaten first with your eyes. They have a Sunday brunch where you will find a modest Bloody Mary Bar. But what I love the most about this place is the price-point to product ratio- you really get a delicious bang for your buck!

AND A FIRST: If you didn’t sense my earnest already, I partnered up with another food blogger and made a YouTube video for Teak! It’s also visible on my blog :)

Teak Neighborhood Grill on Urbanspoon


  1. looks great, i wonder if the owners are teaks aka TKE tau kappa epsilon brothers

  2. They may very well be. However, the name is derived from the beautiful Tectona Grandis tree. They just like the look of the wood :)
    How's the blogging world going for you?

  3. whats your email btw? send it to me at tastychomps at when you are free !

  4. To be honest, the best way to get a hold of me is via Facebook and Twitter these days. Just send me a direct message :)