The late lamented CF Donovan’s, in the Savin Hill neighborhood of Dorchester, closed its doors for good just over three years ago. Barbara and I had always enjoyed eating there — not for its gourmet food, but for the standard American comfort food that was always made from high-quality ingredients, prepared well, and served cheerfully. So we were sad when it closed…and then this week we were intrigued by an ad in the Dorchester Reporter, which proclaimed “If you liked Donovan’s, you’ll love Annabelle’s.”
The next day came a Groupon for Annabelle’s (perhaps not a coincidence), so we stopped for dinner on the way home from Barbara’s workplace in JP. Conveniently located in Hyde Park, it was merely a five-minute detour. Our first impression, immediately on opening the door, was that we were back in Donovan’s! Even the furniture was clearly Donovan’s old furniture, transplanted to a new location. And who should we see at the next table but Arthur Donovan, being very much at home. Arthur recognized us, though he didn’t know our names (I don’t think he ever did). And the owner turned out to be Richie Jerrier, who used to own a block of stores around the corner from us in Dorchester. He knew us too and came over to chat.
The menu as well is a lot like the old Donovan’s menu, with the addition of pizza. It all felt very homey.
The food was very good and very plentiful; the wine list was decent, with more variety (and varietals) than I would have expected. I supposed we ordered too much — but, as Barbara likes to say, leftovers are a Good Thing. We took home half of the “small” order of Asian glazed chicken wings that we had as an appetizer. Next time I have to try the French onion soup. Barbara had some pretty good steak tips, half of which she took home, and I had an excellent (and enormous) “Simple Grilled Seafood,” accurately described as “Jumbo Shrimp, Sea Scallops and Native Haddock brushed with EVOO, fresh Oregano and Lemon. Grilled over an open flame & served over tossed Mesculin in a Lemon Vinaigrette with grilled Asparagus Spears.” Yummy! But I had to take half of that home too. Surprisingly, the mesclun salad was just fine the next day. We had onion rings on the side, half of which…well, you’re beginning to see the theme by now. The rings were good, but not nearly as good as the ones at Donovan’s had been. Of course we were too full for any dessert. Service was friendly and professional.
We’ll be back.