The Squeaky Bean Gets the Girl

Dumb name, dandy food, as I noted in my most recent Dish of the Week post. But then, you probably knew that. Silly as its sobriquet is, I’d never have set foot near the place, presuming the menu to be equally misconceived, if I hadn’t finally been knocked over by the giant waves of raves about the Squeaky Bean. My squeamish mistake was your smart call.

Yes, you’ve already seen fit to squeeze into that tight corner space, as friendly as could be with its retro trimmings—old radios, ’70s-era beer memorabilia—& hit that patio as it sparkles on warm nights with boozy neighborly love.  You’ve undoubtedly savored the roasted cauliflower salad in all its variegated savvy (see abovelinked post). And been lulled into reverie by the duck rillettes with grilled bread, housemade preserves (apple butter–like, though I couldn’t be sure) & stone-ground mustard.
The joy is in watching the layer of duckfat that tops every scooped-out spoonful just melt all over your plate, its flavor barely there for all its mouthfeel, achingly subtle & fleeting. Like the gist of a Frank O’Hara poem, really.

And you’ve surely already ogled the sandwiches going by on servers’ platters like pretty girls, maybe even hit on 1 or 2. I sure couldn’t resist making a pass at my companion’s lamb reuben.

As an admitted aficionado of acids, she felt it needed more sauerkraut, in lieu of which she added the mustard from the rillettes plate & was pleased with the results; me, I guess I snitched a bite with just the right ratio of thick, rich 1000 Island Dressing & tart, not especially salty pickled cabbage to funky corned lamb. (The panino came with a side of white bean–potato soup that did not in turn come with a spoon; by the time we were able to wave down the way-busy waitress, it was cold, so she cheerfully offered to fetch a fresh bowl.)

My only tiny quibble, meanwhile, was with the peanut butter & chocolate mousse cake with brûléed bananas & peanut brittle;
Reese’s excepted, any true devotee of PB will tell you that its combination with chocolate is overrated, while, dead Elvis notwithstanding, its affinity for banana is somewhat underappreciated. Here, the base of chocolate mousse, wan & fluffy, did nothing for the firmer, suaver & more flavor-forward top layer—which paired so much more satisfyingly with the caramelized crunch & creamy tang of the fruit that I felt the bottom layer, too, should have been banana-flavored (as it was at one time, judging by the still-posted Valentine’s Day menu), or else done away with; sandwiching it all, the more intense topping of ganache & bottom crust as well as the smear of sauce were really all the chocolate it needed (though a cheddar-based topping & crust might be even cooler). But then, I know you knew that.

In any case, owner Max MacKissock’s won me over; I’ll return soon, & follow him wherever he goes from here on after. If it’s the Gassy Garbanzo or Flatulent Flageolet, so be it.