29 Sudbury is Worth the Quest
By Jordana Bieze Foster
Finding 29 Sudbury can be difficult. But there are plenty of reasons to make the effort.
First off, 29 Sudbury may be the name of the new Italian-inspired restaurant co-owned by WAAF radio personality and Stow resident Greg Hill, but it’s not the address. So don’t put that in your GPS – you’ll end up in Concord. The actual address is 29 Hudson Road, in Sudbury Town Square, which is actually a rather convenient location for Stow patrons.
Even after arriving at the correct address, you may still be unconvinced. The restaurant’s entrance is in the back corner of a set of buildings that look suspiciously like townhomes, and there aren’t any signs to guide you. There is ample free parking, however, and an unassuming door bearing the restaurant’s name.
That’s it. The hard part’s over. Now the fun begins.
The sleek, u-shaped downstairs bar (there’s a smaller one upstairs) was sparsely populated shortly after work on a Monday
evening, but had filled up considerably by the time we finished dinner. And for good reason – the bar menu features 17 signature cocktails, and every one we sampled was impressively balanced, with no single ingredient dominating the palate. In the 29 International, for example, elderflower liquor harmonizes with Aperol and Prosecco; the Mansion Inn Sidecar pairs Hennessy Cognac with Cointreau and fresh lemon. The list of draft beers is shorter, but almost all are local brews, with the single fitting exception of Peroni. And if you really just want a bottle of Bud Light, they’ve got that covered, too.
The spacious 70-seat dining room is darker and less inviting than the bar area, particularly for those of us seated at a table under the stairs, but being able to watch the gastronomic magic happen in the open kitchen that runs the length of the room is a plus.
The restaurant describes its culinary point of view as “modern American with Italian influences,” so you’ll find contemporary twists on pizza and pasta sharing menu space with new interpretations on meat and potatoes. Head chef and co-owner Evan Deluty holds the same titles at Stella in Boston, and some of the menu items have crossed over, including the pork Milanese, rigatoni Bolognese, and Sicilian-style swordfish.
Dinner service starts with complimentary focaccia that is somehow light and wonderfully chewy at the same time, accompanied by olive oil, white bean puree, and pitted olives. We also loved the lemon arancini appetizer, a perfect study in contrast between crispy exterior, silky interior with just a hint of citrus, and the surrounding pool of spicy tomato broth – a very pleasant surprise after sampling less than stellar arancini at other nearby locales. The appetizer special, an antipasto platter with prosciutto, buffalo mozzarella, and roasted red peppers, was nicely prepared and presented but lacked the same “wow” factor.
Our group did not partake of the raw bar, which features local oysters and little neck clams on the half shell and is particularly popular when the weather is warm enough for dining outside on the 25-seat patio.
By far the most impressive entrée at our table was the roasted chicken breast filet, tender and juicy on its own but even more appealing when juxtaposed with gorgonzola whipped potatoes (again showcasing nicely balanced flavors when it would be so easy to let the gorgonzola be swallowed by starch), surrounded by wild mushroom ragout and topped with crispy onions.
The four mushroom pizza, a thin-crust rectangle that spills over the edges of its serving plate, received mixed reviews in our
group; some loved the wild mushroom flavor and found that the truffle oil drizzled on top made a good thing even better, while others found the funghi-centric flavors surprisingly unbalanced and less imaginative than some of the other menu items. The aged New York sirloin was cooked precisely as requested and presented beautifully over barely-smashed new potatoes and topped with greens, but the beef was less tender and the combination less interesting than expected.
The wine list is long and thoughtfully assembled, ranging from $30 to $170 with many appealing bottles priced in between. Wines by the glass range from $7 to $16.
For dessert, we tried the seasonal peach-almond pie, an adorable tartlet served a la mode with a wonderful crust that unfortunately overwhelmed the too-scant filling. Other dessert options include vanilla bread pudding with bourbon sauce and a summer lime pie topped with local blueberries.
29 Sudbury is currently open for dinner only, daily from 4 pm to 1 am (the kitchen closes around 10 pm). Prices range from $12 to $16 for appetizers, $21 to $33 for entrees.
Having just opened its doors on August 11, 29 Sudbury is still working out a few kinks. But given that our group found no real misses on the menu (which happens rarely enough) and several big hits (even rarer), the future seems very promising. As long as folks can figure out how to get there.