I’ve always had a soft spot for good Southern food. Grits, fried green tomatoes, po’ boys and other delicacies call to me. Unsurprisingly, the Boston-area isn’t exactly known for its Southern cuisine, so when I heard about M3, a new Southern-inspired restaurant near Davis Square, I was very intrigued.
I dined at M3 last week with a couple of friends, which allowed our party to sample many of the restaurant’s extensive offerings. There are so many appetizing choices that it took us a while to decide what to order and once the food started coming, we were quite happy with what we picked. A word of warning that this is not a light meal, so come hungry and be prepared to leave stuffed!
I started with the refreshing and summery white wine sangria. I also ordered the wine cooler of the day (red wine, pineapple juice and prosecco), but was really disappointed in this drink. It basically just tasted like chilled merlot, so I think next time I’d stick with the extensive beer list, which the rest of our group loved and includes one of my favorite brews, Abita’s Purple Haze.
We started with a variety of appetizers that we shared (the charcuterie and vittles sections of the menu work well for this). The venison summer sausage was a big hit as were the crab deviled eggs, which have a nice hint of crab, but are still creamy and melt-in-your-mouth good.
I particularly enjoyed the watermelon salad, which combined many of my favorite foods: cucumber, goat cheese and mint. It was the perfect dish for a warm summer day. The cornbread was very tasty, with a crisp crust and soft inside, though the promised peaches were few and far between. And the fried green tomatoes, a classic Southern dish, were enjoyed by all.
The debate over what to order for dinner raged on as we were all torn between ordering something from the standards section or mains section of the menu. In the end we all went with mains because we wanted to sample the sides (under the fixins section).
I went with the trout, which was perfectly moist and flaky with a hint of citrus. The corn and tomatoes it came with were a great accompaniment. For sides I ordered the macaroni and cheese, Brussels sprouts and apple jicama cole slaw. Personally, I was not a fan of the mac and cheese (I thought it was too thick and sort of gluey), but others at the table enjoyed it a lot, so I think it really depends on personal taste/texture preference. The Brussels sprouts were cooked well and had a nice crunch, though they were soaked in butter, which was a bit overpowering after a few bites. The apple slaw was nice and crisp and I appreciated that the dinner menu offered both sweet and savory options.
One of my dining companions ordered the fried catfish, which was cooked very well, with a nice crispy outside and moist inside. The pickled fried okra was outstanding (perhaps my favorite dish of the night) as were the house pickles. I absolutely loved the tangy flavors in both of those dishes. The root vegetable hash was also very tasty.
One of my other dining companions ordered the beer can hen, which came out with the beer can still inside of it! Wrestling it off was a bit of a challenge, but once the bird was freed, my friend enjoyed it very much. The corn on the cob was raved about and she enjoyed the simple salad as well.
My third dining companion ordered the fried chicken, which he absolutely loved. Cooked with a perfectly crisp outside and moist, tender inside, it was a huge hit at the table. He ended up eating nearly all of the behemoth portion and had little room for his sides, but he did enjoy everything he tried (corn on the cob, Brussels sprouts and house pickles).
We were too stuffed for dessert, but the fried fluffernutter and strawberry layer cake looked delicious. Next time!
All of this food is served in a fun, if small, space on Highland Ave. that used to be occupied by an Italian restaurant. The dining room has been completely transformed into a casual, bustling establishment. The extensive use of chalkboard on the tables and walls, the blue-painted tin ceiling and gorgeous light fixtures make the corner spot cozy, fresh and modern. The service was excellent, with a friendly, enthusiastic and prompt waitstaff.
There was so much more on the menu that we wanted to try (oyster po’ boy, shrimp and grits and the country fried steak, to name a few things) that I know we’ll be back soon. It’s great to see such a vibrant restaurant on the outskirts of Davis and if the crowd on a recent Wednesday was any indication, it’s already finding great success!
382 Highland Ave.
Dinner nightly, lunch (new this week) and brunch on the weekends
Reservations not accepted, so get there early!