Rye and Thyme in downtown Leominster is an American-Style Tavern by the cutting-edge Niche Hospitality Group. I have had the pleasure to dine in all of their restaurants; Bocado a Tapas Wine Bar, Mezcal, Tequila Cantina and the hard to beat, The People’s Kitchen of The Citizen. What Niche does well in all of their restaurants is create a cool vibe. Rye and Thyme is no exception.
Upon entering you are greeted by the friendly staff and the smell of the wood grill. The aroma evokes memories of cozy nights in front of a roaring fireplace. The lighting is low and the vibe is chill. This is a place where you can stay awhile.
The Raw Bar is a place to hang out with friends while you leisurely sip one of their signature cocktails like the OLD THYMER which features High West Double Rye, a Raw Sugar Cube, Angostura Bitters, Lemon Oil, and is served with a Thyme Stuffed Ice Ball. Now onto the oysters, I have discovered a new love for oysters. In the past, I have had oysters drenched in a hot sauce or cocktail sauce and frankly wasn’t very impressed. What I have recently discovered is that if you have fresh oysters they are done much more justice when accompanied by a mignonette sauce. A mignonette sauce usually contains a base of vinegar and peppercorns. Rye and Thyme’s rocks their oysters in a cilantro chili mignonette that provides the perfect balance to the delicate sea morsel, and for $1 each, you can really feel good about going outside of your comfort zone and trying a raw offering.
Speaking of Raw…they also have STEAK TARTARE on the menu. It excited me to see it offered and as an ode to Julia Child, who would have been 100 years old this month, I decided to go for it. The Steak Tartare features charred tomato & thyme dressing, pickled shallot and Maldon salt topped with a quail egg served with toast. It was decadent and delicious!
When deciding on my entrée, I noticed that like most Niche restaurants, Rye and Thyme’s Menu has just the right amount of selections to choose from, a fact that I believe has helped all of their restaurants retain a consistency that is undeniable. I am always leery of a multi-paged menu that tries to offer everything and looks like it has an identity crisis. Usually that means most of what you are eating is frozen and it is very unlikely that the Asian Stir-Fry will be as good as the Chicken Piccata.
For my main entrée I chose the COFFEE BRAISED SHORT RIB which normally is served with sausage spiked smashed sweet potato, however I noticed a sweet corn & grilled vidalia risotto on the menu that really appealed to me, so I asked to have that instead of the smashed sweet potato and our server barely blinked an eye and said of course they could accommodate my request.
My entrée arrived in a timely fashion, actually the whole meal was expertly timed, which is important for a multi-course dining experience. The hazelnut crème fraîche that topped my short rib was pure heaven and the actual flavor and tenderness of the meat was out of this world. It was a comforting dish that in a way reminded me of my mother’s best attempt of her famous Sunday Pot Roast. The risotto was a great choice with this dish and absorbed up the meaty juices of the short rib beautifully.
Rye and Thyme already has a distinct identity. They know who they are and invite you to be their guest. I am looking forward to many nights at the Raw Bar as well as lunches of wood grilled pizzas. I will happily return Thyme after Thyme. A Rover Recommend!
Written by the Heidi Couture, Restaurant Rover