There are deep-seated connections surrounding the little restaurant —connections to the land, to the water, and to Brookline. Chef Jeremy Sewall’s family roots grow deep in this town; his ancestor Samuel helped found Brookline; his family has fished these waters for generations. And, based on the memorable dishes coming out of Lineage’s kitchen, he and his wife Chef Lisa Sewall have made it their mission to create a lineage of their own.
After relishing the house rolls, an almost brioche-type affair with a few fat flecks of salt on top, we started with the Duck Confit Rillette ($11). Akin to a charcuterie platter, the main attraction here is an excellent pate of shredded duck confit; lightly dressed watercress, pickled red onions, grainy sharp mustard, and a few slices of lightly grilled sourdough round out the plate. Cousin Mark’s Crisp Maine Sweet Shrimp ($11) are as fresh as you might expect, if you knew that there actually is a Cousin Mark, and he actually does catch and deliver on a daily basis much of the shrimp and lobster that Lineage serves. Small, breaded and fried to crispy perfection, and served with a flavorful lemon aioli, these shrimp are only in season for a short time, so catch them while you can—the menu changes daily, and these are disappearing soon.
The recent appearance of spring artichokes inspired a zestful appetizer of oak roasted artichokes, tasso ham, Great Hill blue cheese, and cara cara orange ($14). Try also the Spicy Lobster Tacos ($14), one of Lineage’s signature dishes, in which the natural sweetness of the lobster plays with a mango salsa and avocado mousse.
Fresh and briny Island Creek Oysters, served with cocktail and mignonette sauces, are normally $2.50 each, but $1 apiece at the bar from 5 to 7 each evening. Seafood is one of Lineage’s strong points, and if you’re seriously in the mood, opt for the seafood tasting ($38, wine pairing an additional $12), currently a three course menu of salmon tartare, Duxbury Littlenecks, and brioche & Dijon crusted haddock (Keep an eye out for the twice-annual lobster tasting menu, too).
The Grilled Scottish Salmon ($23) offered a precisely cooked, supremely tender filet protected by a crackly crust, which beckoned lustily from a bed of pearl pasta, chantenay carrots, English peas, and ginger vinaigrette. A Spiced Flatiron Steak ($26), though chewier than expected, delivered a marvelous palate of flavor accompanied by roasted baby potatoes, mushrooms, “melted” leeks, and a green herb sauce.
Lineage offers a sizeable wine list, all American bottles, and all helpfully organized in order of progression from light to full-bodied. I received a generous pour on a robust Syrah from Washington ($10 glass, $39 for the bottle), one of the dozen or so wines are available by the glass.
Lineage saves the best for last; dessert might have actually upstaged the entrees here. We savored a luscious, eggy brioche bread pudding with tart meyer lemon curd, and a smooth, almost fudge-like chocolate pot de crème, both sadly absent from the ever-changing menu now. Try instead the pineapple upside-down cake with a novel tarragon anglaise ($8), or the complex flavors of an old favorite, butterscotch pudding served with whipped cream and candied pecans ($8).
Credit must be given to the remarkably knowledgeable and attentive staff, particularly our waitress Anjali, who mastered that experienced and delicate balance between diligence and hovering. This place is certainly creating a lineage the chefs can take pride in.
Lineage is open Sunday-Monday 5-9pm, Tuesday-Thursday 5-10pm, Friday-Saturday 5-10:30pm, and 10:30am-2pm for a Sunday brunch. 242 Harvard Street. MBTA: Green Line (C) to Coolidge Corner.