Abigails, Kendall Sq Revisited

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Where: Abigail’s – 291 3rd Street Cambridge, MA 02142
When: December, 2011

A couple of weeks ago Mr. S and I tried Abigail’s for lunch and weren’t tremendously impressed with the food but liked the atmosphere enough that I vowed to give it another chance for dinner. So disappointed.

I came here for dinner on a Friday night after work before going to see a show with Libby. We ordered a bottle of wine, which smelled an awful lot like vinegar but was drinkable, and a few items from the raw bar and “small plates”. We had the Seaweed Salad, the Grapefruit Salmon Ceviche, and the Mussels.

The Seaweed Salad was good. Not “blow your mind” good but edible. In fact, it was the only thing we came close to finishing.

The Ceviche was terrible. If you Wikipedia “Ceviche” you’ll learn that: “The dish is typically made from fresh raw fish marinated in citrus juices such as lemon or lime and spiced with chili peppers.” So what on earth was cooked salmon doing showing up on our plate? It was a sad plate with under-salted tortilla chips and a sparse mix of citrus fruit and salmon which looked more like cantaloupe. It was bland and totally underwhelming.

The coup d’état was the mussels which tasted like they were pulled from the Charles River (which is still bad, right?). The first one I got was empty, the second had something I couldn’t identify and later found out was pork (didn’t try eating it, was afraid it would break a tooth), the third tasted terribly off, the fourth was ok, the fifth looked green. Ok, I give up, the odds are not in my favor.

We ate the bread (yum) while we waited to awkwardly tell the server the mussels were off / terrible.

We left not necessarily hungry (we had that bottle if wine, after all) but craving more.

Overall it was a disappointing meal and I won’t be going back other than to the bar.

How did Abigail’s measure up? 1 Spoon!

Abigail's on Urbanspoon

Abigail’s, Kendall Sq.

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Where: Abigail’s – 291 3rd Street Cambridge, MA 02142
When: November, 2011

I hadn’t seen a friend of mine in what seems like weeks due to our (by “our” I mean “his”) busy schedules so I was excited to go to Abigail’s for lunch before we went our separate ways for Thanksgiving. I hadn’t heard of Abigail’s before but any suggestion coming from him comes with high expectations.

I really liked the atmosphere here, it didn’t feel like your usual lunch joint, it felt special. The booths were cozy and there was great light coming in from the large on-street windows.

The raw bar looked good at a glance but with it being rainy, and one of the coldest days of the season, the last thing I could think about was something raw and cold. Skip to the Small Plates.

We decided to get a couple of small plates inside of a meal, so we could try more items. We started with the Mushroom Tart with spinach, onions, and a quail egg which was good although I think could have had more filler. More mushrooms, more onions, more quail egg. It was heavy on the crust but the flavors were there. We then had the Slow Cooked Lamb Ribs with a orange ginger-glaze served with cucumber raita. Until re-reading the description I couldn’t have told you that it had an orange-ginger glaze but not sure if that’s just because I’m not used to the strong lamb flavor. Meat on the bone probably isn’t the best idea for a lunch date but I did what I could with cutting the meat off the bone. It was ok but didn’t wow me. Not really glowing reviews so far but we were having a great time and enjoyed the food enough. But wait, here comes the 3 cheese plate. I wish I could remember what the three cheeses were but I was just so excited they served them with honey that everything the waitress said went in one ear and out the other. The combination of cheese and honey is officially my favorite thing of the week. I’m actually ok with skipping dessert when I have my little side of honey.

Looking over the menu again we agreed that none of the sandwiches really grabbed us but that we’d come back for the burgers and we would definitely come back for after work drinks or dinner as that menu looked pretty damn good.

We finished up lunch with coffees and hopes that our schedules will open up a little after the Thanksgiving holiday.

Abigail's on Urbanspoon

Kika Tapas, Kendall Sq

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Where: Kika Tapas – 9 Broad Canal Way, Cambridge, MA 02142
When: December, 2011

I’ve been walking by Kika Tapas on my way to work since they started building out the space a couple of months ago. The last month has been pretty exciting watching them install the painted wooden floors and apply the awesome “Almodovar-like” red and white wallpaper, which I love. Until I heard someone refer to the décor this way I didn’t put the connection together between the restaurant name and Almodóvar who directed the film Kika. Until I put this together I wasn’t really crazy about the name but it makes a little more sense to me now.

I saw that Kika Tapas opened last week so was excited to go there with Libby for our holiday-y dinner. I really liked the restaurant decor, its fun and funky but clean and simple, if that makes any sense at all. I dig it.

We started with a bottle of the Las Rocas Garnacha which I didn’t recognize the name of but I knew as soon as it came out that I had had it before and liked it. Its still driving me crazy as to where I previously had it.

When I was a vegetarian I used to hate going out for tapas as the table would end up sharing multiple items but with only which about 1/4 of them being vegetarian. So I’d share those and still get stuck with 1/2 of the bill and a 3/4 of an empty belly. You do the math. I now love it as I get to try so many things in one sitting instead of just having one plate of food in front of me.

We ordered the Boquerones, marinated fresh anchovy filets, while we looked over the menu. I think I have previously mentioned my newly found affinity for anchovies and you can always count on a tapas place to have them on the menu. They were garlicky and salty, just as they should be.

We then got the Gambas al Ajillo, Sizzling Garlic Shrimp, which came out just as they should – piping hot. The shrimp were really garlicky and well cooked (lucky thing we weren’t planning any canoodling with all this garlic). Next was the Ravioles de Mariscos, Lobster Crab Raviolis in a Langostino Sauce, which I think was my favorite dish of the night. I am a sucker for these rich tomato cream type sauces and this one was good. Not too heavy and just right to compliment the delicate pasta as well as to be mopped up with extra bread, one of my favorite parts of any sauce.

The next round was the Mejillones a la Salmorra, Steamed Mussels in a Spicy Tomato & Wine Sauce, which I was a little apprehensive about after my experience at Abigail’s but I am glad I plowed through it as they were really good. The sauce was, again, garlicky and a little spicy and also great to use up that second basket of bread we asked for. Last but not least we had the Queso de Cabra Montañes, Baked Goat Cheese in Tomato Basil Sauce, which surprised me every time I took a bite. I knew from the description that it was goat cheese but for some reason every time I took a bite I expected a milder cheese, like a mozzarella. Each time I was like, wow, this is goat cheese!

The only off putting part of the evening is that the waiter would only look at me when he came over to our table. Granted I did order the wine, taste the wine, and order all the food but I felt as though I was on a date and I was the man which was a little awkward. Libby ended up putting dinner on her card so there’s a lesson to you all to look at both parties in the eye when talking to them!

Overall, I loved Kika Tapas and am excited to have them in my work neighborhood. I see many lunches, drinks, and dinners happening here. Its perfect for groups, friends, or even a date (although careful with all the garlic!).

How did Kika Tapas measure up? 4.5 Spoons!

Kika Tapas on Urbanspoon