Eating is believing: Scratch Kitchen's massive Monday four-course dinners

Off-menu items and generous portions for $30-something
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Eating is believing is a series spotlighting great deals on incredible food.
What: Pre fixe Mondays 
Where: Scratch Kitchen & Meatery, 1170 Auahi St.  
When: Every Monday at dinner (reservations encouraged)
Price: Low $30s
Compare: Dinner entrees cost $14-38, small plates $7-16
Fullness factor: 11 out of 10

The deets

Scratch Kitchen & Meatery is one of my favorite brunch spots. I go at least twice a month — and that’s practicing self control. 

But last Monday, Scratch started Pre Fixe Monday dinners to bring more diners in on a slow night and test out potential new dishes. “I have so many ideas and need to let them out, or else my head will explode," chef-owner Brian Chan says. "Mondays will be the day when guests can come and get a taste of what’s going on in my mind.”

The menu will change every week with a different theme, so you won’t get the same thing you see here. The featured dishes will all be off-menu items, and the four-course meal will cost $30-something. 

Scratch’s first Pre Fixe Monday menu. The name is a play on the French for fixed price.

My friend and I decide to split the four-course dinner and order the warm brussels sprouts and the pastrami empanadas from the small plates menu. We'll order more dishes as needed. You know, since I can eat.

What we discover: One Pre Fixe is more than enough for two people if you go this route. Mind you, I am starving. The two small plates are more like snacks, so I’m still plenty hungry when dinner starts rolling out.

First course: Summer watermelon salad with cucumbers, feta, tomatoes and balsamic drizzle.

This salad immediately takes me back to my childhood, when I would spend summer afternoons playing in the sun and eating cold watermelon slices to cool off. It's refreshing and tasty, thanks to the feta cheese chunks and balsamic bite.

‘Bacon & egg’ second course: house bacon, 63 degree egg, fried grits and red eye gravy aioli.

Those familiar with Scratch Meatery know that bacon, regardless of its shape or form, is a staple on the menu. This thick, crispy slab looks like porchetta, but is 100 percent bacon. The buttery fried grits are reminiscent of arancini, and the gravy aioli is thick with lots of umami. 

Third course: Southern hot chicken with sour cream mash, country gravy and bacon braised greens. – Photo credit Scott Kobayashi

There are two massive pieces of chicken — one thigh and one drumstick, both marinated in buttermilk and spices for 48 hours. They're as succulent and juicy as you can imagine. At this point I stop talking to my dining companion until the plate’s all but licked clean. 

Fourth course: Chocolate peanut butter mousse tart.

Chan sold desserts at his former Scratch Kitchen and Bake Shop in Chinatown, but nowadays, not so much. So I'm looking forward to this one.

This tart has a perfect blend of creamy peanut butter and luscious chocolate, and the velvety mousse isn’t overly whipped. It’s a sweet respite from the savory dishes and so good that I try to convince Chan to add this to his regular menu.


Free parking at South Shore Market.