Tag Archives: kendall sq

West Bridge, Kendall Sq

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Where: West Bridge – 1 Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA

I haven’t spooned anyone in so long! Actually, that’s not true, I have been spooning like its going out of style but just haven’t polished up any drafts to a postable state in a while.

You know its been too long when you are writing about a menu item that no longer exist, as the case here at West Bridge in Kendall Sq. A colleague and I headed across the street from our office to West Bridge for lunch on one of those fall days where the sun was no where to be seen and the chill of the rain goes through you right to the bone. Obviously I got soup. And a glass of prosecco on tap. Just kidding, I would never do that during the work day…

I started with the Sunflower Chowder featuring a Woodbury clam as an ode to the traditional clam chowder. I had emailed Jared at West Bridge who told me that Chef Matthew Gaudet blends sunflowers into a familiar cream-based broth and finishes it with smoked pork shoulder. This chowder was… simply amazing. It was creamy and salty but not heavy. It was so damn good I regretted ordering a meal on top of this as I wanted another bowl. I don’t think a rainy day goes by that I don’t think about this dish. They also feature a larger portion for dinner, thank god.

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I then got the GLT, which is the item no longer on their menu. The GLT stands for Guanciale (an Italian style of unsmoked bacon), Lettuce and Tomato. Its a glorified BLT, which is probably one of my favorite sandwiches. It came served with thinly sliced fried chips and some pickled veggies. I loved the flavors of this sandwich but the Guanciale was a wee bit too fatty for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love fat, but this was Fatty with a capital F. Even putting aside my concerns about having a heart attack on the spot, I couldn’t eat more than half of it as it was just too much for me. I ended up wrapping up the other half and eating it later on a flight. It did travel well.

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Overall, the chowder was phenomenal, the service was great, loved the clean simple design of the restaurant, and they have prosecco on tap (so I hear). The sandwich was good but I don’t think I could get it again (and I don’t have a choice as they don’t have it on the menu anymore anyways) as it was just too fatty for me. I’m happy to have West Bridge just around the corner for many more lunches, dinners, and after work libations.

How did West Bridge measure up? 3.75 Spoons!

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Amelias Trattoria, Kendall Sq

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Amelia’s Trattoria – 111 Harvard Street ,  Cambridge, MA

Girls night!! I had really been looking forward to this particular girls night out with some of my favorite women in development and was excited to try Amelia’s Trattoria, which happened to be just a couple blocks from my new office. Perfect.

Amelia’s is tucked away on Harvard Street near Kendall Sq just behind Tech Sq. Its unlikely that you would find it just wandering around which is what contributes to the fact that you can actually get a table easily. We made a reservation and trickled in slowly just after. We were promptly seated and had had a very patient waiter as we mulled over the menu while waiting for our party to arrive. The chef even agreed to make us bruschetta even though it wasn’t on the dinner menu.

So we started with the Bruschetta -Grilled foccacia bread, marinated tomatoes, fresh basil & red onion. Personally, I didn’t love this dish. I thought the bread was a little hard and a little too big (hence making it messy). The marinated tomatoes were delicious though, I could eat that right off the plate – who needs bread anyways?

We then split two dishes to get more variety for our buck. We started with the Baby Spinach Salad – Baby spinach, caramelized balsamic shallots, crispy pancetta & Vermont goat cheese. Re-read that. I mean, can it get any better than that combination? This salad was delicious – salty, crispy, tart, and creamy.

We then shared a Lobster Ravioli dish which was one of Amelia’s daily specials that night. If I can give Amelia’s one piece of unsolicited advice it would be to get this item on the menu permanently. It was delicious. The raviolis were tender and meaty and the sauce creamy and bursting with flavor. I loved how saucy it was as there was just enough leftover for me to mop up with some bread. Its a keeper.

Overall, I was impressed with the ravioli and salad dishes but a little let down by our starter. Service was great and I would recommend Amelia’s for lunch, dinner, groups, or a date. The restaurant is small, giving it a cozy feel, and I can imagine sitting by the window watching snow fall with a big hot plate of pasta. I’ll be back.

How did Amelia’s Trattoria measure up? 3.25 Spoons!

 

Amelia's Trattoria on Urbanspoon

Emma’s Pizza, Kendall Sq

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Where: Emma’s -40 Hampshire Street Cambridge, MA 02139
When: April, 2012

Happy Pizza Week!

I’ve been to, and enjoyed, Emma’s quite a few times so was excited to go back and get to write about it. I had plans to go to the Kendall Square Cinema to see Bully beforehand which was great as that gave us plenty to discuss at dinner, not like we need more topics. If you haven’t seen it, I would recommend Bully. Its a great documentary about bullying although I need to warn you that it will make you mad. Some kids, and adults I may add, are just damn mean. Be kind, people. Be kind.

Ok, I’ll leave the movie reviews to the movie critics and stick to food.

We got to Emma’s Pizza around 8:30 on a Saturday so expected the worst – a wait. Surprisingly, we only had to wait a few minutes before being seated. Lucky us! I love the atmosphere at Emma’s – its small and cozy, bustling but not loud or crowded. We had a groupon to use but, surprisingly, couldn’t order enough to make it worthwhile to use so we decided to save it for another visit. We got the large Artichoke Hearts, Garlic, House Roasted Tomatoes, Rosemary Sauce, Light Mozzarella, and Ricotta Pizza with the intention of taking some of it home. That, of course, did not happen. I don’t eat a ton of pizza so wouldn’t consider myself anywhere near a connoisseur but have to say I really like the rosemary sauce on this pizza. All the toppings worked really well together as well. As far as pizzas go, its a good one.

Overall, I think Emma’s is such a sweet little place perfect for a date or a night out with friends. The pizza is very good and service serious and swift. I’ll definitely be going back and would love to try one of their salads or something a bit lighter as I always tend to overeat and roll out of there thinking I can’t possibly eat again.

How did Emma’s measure up? 4 Spoons!

Emma's Pizza on Urbanspoon

Think Tank, Kendall Sq

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Where: Think Tank– 1 Kendall Square  Cambridge, MA 02139
When: March, 2012

With our team all in town for an offsite training I was charged with choosing where we would go for dinner two nights in a row. The first night was easy, we went to Area Four right across from our office in Tech Sq. For our second night I needed to find a place  close to our office with a variety of menu options and capable of holding 14 of us. Easy! I first tried Emma’s Pizza but they don’t take reservations. Bummer. I then tried the Cambridge Brewing Company but they said they were full and couldn’t take our reservation. Mmmm ok… I love a lot of the other restaurants in that area, like The Friendly Toast, Hungry Mother, and Atasca, but didn’t think they would work for such a large group with such a variety of backgrounds and tastes. Then I remembered Think Tank. I was looking forward to trying Think Tank when it opened in June of 2010 but within a month it was flooded when Boston was hit with one of our crazy tropical storms so they had to shut down for a few months to renovate. I did go there for a drink sometime last year and played trivia at the bar which was something a little different. I remember Think Tank being really empty though so hoped it would be a bit busier this time.

We showed up for our reservation and the hostess seemed to have no idea I had made a reservation which was a little strange as I spoke to an actual person on the phone a couple days earlier (makes you wonder what the point is, right?). Regardless, they were able to quickly pull a table together and seat us in the back where we had the whole room to ourselves. Our server was awesome – he was attentive, efficient, informative, and very friendly (and even commented on my awesome Costco kids glasses – flattery will get you everywhere).

Our meals came out quickly and everyone seemed really pleased with what they ordered. We had people ordering burgers, noodles, steak, salads, pork belly, a little of everything. I ordered the Seoul Burger, the restaurants’ most popular dish (which I can now see why). The Seoul Burger is a Korean BBQ marinated beef patty with lettuce, tomato, a fried egg, with sriracha aioli, on a poppy seed bun. To round it out I got the garlic fries.

This was a damn good burger. Not your traditional burger but also not so crazy that you forget you are eating a burger. It all worked well together. The beef was cooked just the way I ordered it – medium – and the smokiness of the BBQ sauce mixed with the aioli creating this creamy sauce with a bit of a zing (there wasn’t too much of it either which is good – less is more in this case). The fries were exactly as they were described – garlicky. I’d definitely get both of these items again if I were to go back.

Overall, the service was fantastic and Think Tank has a great atmosphere. Photo booth, anyone? The downside, and maybe I’ve just been unlucky, is that it always seems really empty which doesn’t give it a very lively vibe. As we were leaving they were converting the back room into a dance area and the place was filling up quickly so I’m thinking its more of a late night spot. I’d recommend Think Tank for large groups and casual dinners with friends or colleagues. I don’t think it would be my first pick for a date night although I’ve definitely been to less romantic places.

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How did Think Tank measure up? 3.75 Spoons!

Think Tank on Urbanspoon

Lord Hobo, Kendall Sq

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Where: Lord Hobo – 92 Hampshire St Cambridge, MA 02139
When: March, 2012

Meg and I have been trying to get together for what seems like months but with all sorts of work related crisis coming up we had to postpone a few times. This time we managed to get on the same schedule and made a plan to go to Lord Hobo for burgers after work. I loved being able to walk there in under 10 minutes from our new offices. I even had time to head to the gym for a quick run to ease the guilt of what was bound to be a high calorie evening. Gotta love that.

I had been to Lord Hobo only once, for drinks, since they took over the B Side’s space a couple of years ago. The B Side, on the other hand, was one of my go to places for drinks and dinner.

Meg started with a beer and I went for the London 77 half based on the list of ingredients, half on the description: “Punks like pink”. The London 77 is made with Hendrick’s gin, grapefruit, St. Germain, and Prosecco. I recently learnt that the London 77 is a play off the French 75 which I am a big fan of (get it at Chez Henri next time you are there). No wonder I enjoyed it so much.

While we sipped on our drinks we started with an order of the daily Hand-cut Chips and Dip which today’s special was served with a caramelized onion and goat cheese dip. The dip was really good, like a fancied up version of the Heluva Good French Onion Dip we all hate to love. The chips were also very good – made to order, crispy and not too greasy. You truly can’t just eat one.

I had planned to get the burger, as Meg did, but then saw that it was taco night and they had Fish Tacos, which totally swayed me. I wanted to love the tacos but I was a little disappointed with the them. The flavors were all great with the zesty creamy guacamole and the rich black beans balancing it out but the fish wasn’t crispy at all. The batter thick, soft and a dull. I couldn’t even tell you what kind of fish it was as the flavored were so muted by the batter. It really needed that crunch as all the other ingredients were very soft.

20120306-210321.jpgMeg got the Lord Hobo Burger which came with Cabot cheddar and on a brioche bun with a side of fries. She said it was a very good burger, reinforcing that I made the wrong choice. I can confirm that the fries are excellent as I stole at least a dozen off of Meg’s plate throughout dinner (thanks, Meg).

For “dessert” we got another London 77 to split. It was delicious but that meant when I got home I would need to have a couple cookies for my chocolate fix. That’s ok though.

Overall, I still love the feel of Lord Hobo as its a lot like the B Side was – dark but cozy. Service was really great; our waitress was super friendly and attentive. Drinks were definitely awesome. Food… I need to give it another go as those fish tacos didn’t impress me at all but I think the food at Lord Hobo has the potential to based on the chips, dip, and fries that I did have. Great place to go to with colleagues or a group of friends after work, which I am sure I will be doing often. I hate to give it a low ranking but must until the next time.

How did Lord Hobo measure up? 3.5 Spoons!

Lord Hobo on Urbanspoon

Firebrand Saints, Kendall Sq, Revisited

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Where: Firebrand Saints – 1 Broadway, Cambridge MA 02142
When: January, 2012

20120127-164110.jpgI had gone to Firebrand Saints just a week ago with Meg for dinner and after the waiter told us they were known for their burgers I knew I had to go back soon. My definition of soon is apparently exactly one week.

I went there on Friday for lunch with a coworker as he had wanted to try it out as well. We went on the earlier side, around 11:40, and the place was quiet with only one other table being occupied. The restaurant was bustling by 12:10 which was a good sign (and boy were we happy we got there nice and early).

I got the Sirloin, Chuck and Brisket Burger and Mr. S got the Lamb and Sirloin Burger, both which came on a brioche bun. We ordered both with the Aged Vermont Cheddar (everything is better with cheese). We also got an order of steak fries to share.20120127-164105.jpg

My coworker’s burger came with spicy pickles, frizee and harissa aioli which he said he really liked. He had some trouble with the bun saying it was a bit on the small side so hard to hold on to. He reverted to using his knife and fork as things were getting a little messy.

My burger was your pretty standard burger, no theme or crazy toppings – just what I wanted. The actual burger patty (pattie?) was very good. The brioche bun was good as well but, I too, had a little trouble with it. It was a little too buttery for me. It was almost hard to hold on to as it was slipping out of my hands at every opportunity. We both dug the ginormous steak fries, as I did 20120127-164116.jpglast time.

To round off the meal, and to wait out the pouring rain, we got some coffee. Check out the cute little trio of milk and sugars that came out with it! The coffee was really good as well, nice and strong.

Overall, I really like the atmosphere and love that its so close to work. The service was really great both times and food was good enough. I enjoyed my meal and would definitely go back again but I’m not sure I would pine for FbS as I do with a lot of other restaurants (still can’t get Cuchi Cuchi off my mind). Its a great lunch place or a somewhere where you can go with a group of friends. I’d love to just go for drinks one of these days too.

How do I think Firebrand Saints measured up? 3.75 Spoons!

Firebrand Saints on Urbanspoon

Firebrand Saints, Kendall Sq

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20120122-200706.jpg Where: Firebrand Saints – 1 Broadway, Cambridge MA 02142
When: January, 2012

I had never even heard of Firebrand Saints until Meg mentioned wanting to try it out a few weeks ago. After googling it I learnt it is literally 2 blocks from where I work, right in Kendall Sq. How did it sneak by without me detecting it?

Meg and I decided to do a joint review, keeping reading!

Overview / Decor

Meg: Obviously fitting very well into the whole Kendall Square techno-chic aesthetic that’s going on in all these new places. I actually found it to be much cozier than I expected.

Me: Based on the online menu I thought Firebrand Saints would be a little more casual than it was. It’s definitely not “fancy” but it’s cozy and trendy in a non pretentious way. It made me regret my decision to wear my bulky snow boots, glasses, and comfy sweater.

Service

Meg: Although I know some reviews have faulted the service for being slow or inattentive, I thought this was one of the high points of our experience. I was really impressed with our waiter–he was friendly and attentive, without being intrusive; he gave substantive menu suggestions; he noticed my drink was done even before I did. The pacing of everything was good. I felt like it was efficient without being rushed, and even though it was filling up on a Friday night, I didn’t feel rushed to finish my drink at the end of the meal so they could get us out to turn the table over.

Me: We were seated quickly and greeted by our friendly waiter. While we waited for our cocktails (another Pimm’s Cup for me and a Whiskey Smash for Meg) we asked our waiter what his favorite eats are. He immediately said their burgers are fantastic and then went though pointing randomly at items on the menu saying this is good, that is good. Ok, so what don’t you like? This a risky question and typically I don’t get an honest answer so I was charmed that I did. He said he wasn’t a huge fan of the roast beef au jus sandwich (because of the bread choice) and he didn’t think the poached lobster was worth the price tag. Excellent! Well, I’m not getting the roast beef then. I appreciated his candidness.

Food/Drinks

Meg: The Whiskey Smash was good enough to20120120-225321.jpg have 2. Enough said. I feel a little silly reviewing it without trying the burgers, but if you’re not Five Guys or Four Burgers, why be a one-trick pony? Arugula salad: Nothing I couldn’t have made for myself, but a good balance of bite from the lemon juice and pepper, and a generous amount of shaved parmesan, without overwhelming the greens. Buffaloed rock shrimp: Delicious, with just the right amount of vinegar-y tang and spice from the hot sauce. Cooked just right, giving the shrimp that done-but-firm mouth feel, without making them soggy or mealy, which can happen when this dish is an afterthought in the menu. I still am not clear what the side produce was, but it was a cooling and enjoyable alternative to celery and bleu cheese. It was a great shared plate. Porchetta plate with kale and polenta: Perfect dish for a cold Friday night. The porchetta had just the right level of salt and tenderness, although I did find a few pieces to be somewhat dry, and would have liked the meat to have retained a bit more moisture. The kale was braised nicely, perhaps in a cider vinegar? I wouldn’t have eaten a ton of it on its own as a side, but especially when eaten in the same bite as the porchetta and perfectly creamy polenta, it made all three elements of the dish much stronger, even, than they were individually. The Captain Planet of porchetta 20120120-225308.jpgplates, if you will. Steak fries: really more like a potato wedge, and I bet they really round out the burgers. Just the right amount of salt and perfectly cooked (not too firm, and left with that satisfying brown crispiness, without becoming mushy in the middle). Dessert: the only dessert choices are a selection of pies featuring Russell Orchards fruit (which, to be fair, could be outstanding) and ice cream. I’m torn about what to say on this matter, because on the one hand, g’head and do your thing, Firebrand Saints! You are for meat! If you want dessert, walk your butt over to the Cheesecake Factory or something. On the other hand, it felt like the Restaurant Wars episode of Top Chef where everything is chugging along beautifully until someone is like, “I think we can just get by with some ice cream and shaved chocolate, right?” I didn’t feel disappointed or unfulfilled at the end of the meal, but I probably would have dropped another $6 on a bread pudding or profiterole, given the option.

Me: Before we went I did the usual looking over their menu online trying to narrow down what I will get (otherwise expect dull conversation for the 20120120-225314.jpgfirst 10 minutes of dinner as I’m a terrible decision maker). I knew what I wanted – the roast beef au jus sandwich. I hadn’t had one of those since pre-vegetarianism so it must have been about 7 years. It’s time. My decision was quickly thrown out the window once the waiter told us that it was his least favorite on the menu. I was grateful that Meg wasted to share a few items as it made the decision easier. Porchetta plate with kale and polenta: I’m a big fan of the other white meat so quickly agreed to this option. The kale may have converted me to a kale-liker as until then I would have never ordered it. It was braised really nicely and a wonderful compliment to the saltiness of the porchetta. The p olenta was so creamy and cheesy, I could have eaten a soup bowl of it. The star of the dish, the porchetta, was… Fatty. I didn’t know a whole lot about porchetta other than it being pork so wasn’t sure what to expect but it was a lot fattier than I expected. Not like ‘I need to run an extra mile tomorrow’ but like ‘I can’t bring myself to swallow this’ fatty. After a little table side googling we did find out that porchetta is generally very fatty so not sure I can fault Firebrand Saints for this, it’s just not my thing. Buffaloed rock shrimp: YUM! I loved this dish! I’m a big fan of buffalo shrimp which you don’t find that often (why aren’t they as popular as buffalo chicken?) so was very pleased to find this. The shrimp were light delicate little things lightly coated in buffalo sauce drizzled with a blue cheese fondue. Delicious. I could eat this again and often. It came with a refreshing salad that I believe was maybe celeriac and celery but I’m not really sure to be honest. Steak fries: These “fries” were monsters at about a quarter of a potato each. They were crispy on the outside but soft and fluffy on the inside. Hearty, filling and satisfying. Dessert: Anytime I go out to eat I think of it as a special occasion and since desserts are for special occasions we asked what they had. I don’t remember exactly what they offered but all I heard was “pie, pie, pie, pie, and ice cream.” They need a little something chocolatey on there!

Overall

Meg: Overall, I enjoyed the atmosphere, and thought it was a great value. I would definitely come back for burgers. 4.25 Spoons (for the dry porchetta and on behalf of folks who don’t really like pie).

Me: I would and will definitely go back soon whether it’s for a drink and app at the bar or a burger for lunch or dinner. How do I think Firebrand Saints measured up? 4 Spoons!

Firebrand Saints on Urbanspoon

Cuchi Cuchi, Central Sq

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Where: Cuchi Cuchi – 795 Main Street Cambridge, MA 02139
When: January, 2012

I’ve been itching to go back to Cuchi Cuchi since Libby and I were there last weekend for a drink after going to Bondir. With some plans having gone pear shaped at the last minute, I found the perfect opportunity to go last night.

Cuchi Cuchi is such a charming restaurant. The staff’s fanciful clothing (flapper dresses, feathers, pearls, and even a tutu!) matches the restaurant’s whimsical décor with stained glasses windows, overflowing vases, antique tables and jeweled lighting. And… no TV in the bar!! It has quickly gotten itself a spot up there with Upstairs on the Square and the Beehive, my favorites.

We got there about 45 minutes before our 7pm reservation and sat at the bar for cocktails. What a selection! I had a Pimm’s Cup which was great. At 7 the hostess told us they had a table for us but if we wanted to wait 20 minutes more they would have a better table. Sounds like a good deal to me. We ordered a bottle of wine, Quinta da Alorna ’08 from Portugal, at the bar while we waited.

Once we were seated at our especially nice table we pored over the menu trying to narrow down which tapas we wanted. So many options! I really, really wanted to get the Ceviche from Panama as it’s not often you see a dish from Panama on a menu in Boston (or anywhere in the US for that matter) and it reminds me of a lot of good memories as a kid. I lived in Panama for 13 years while until I moved to the US when I was 16. Ceviche reminds me of days spent out on the ocean or Gatun Lake with my family on our boat, the Eek-e-de (Originally called “The Weekender” but it lost a few letters). We would come into dock sleepy and warm from a day in the sunshine and it would be the perfect, zesty, fresh end the day. It cooled you from the inside out. Alas, the ceviche at Cuchi Cuchi was made with scallops which I am allergic to so that wasn’t going to work. I actually considered still getting it, telling myself maybe I was over my allergy but that wouldn’t have been smart.

We narrowed it down to four selections:

  • Brie en Croûte – Brie, walnuts, bacon in puff pastry
  • Fried Artichoke Hearts – filled w/ gorgonzola, pistachios & basil
  • Bracioletta Ripiena di Maiale – Grilled pork rolls stuffed w/pecorino cheese, pancetta, sautéed garlic
  • Potato Croquettes

I am not sure I can even categorize the above selections from my favorite to least favorite, they were all phenomenal. The brie was a lovely combination of salty and sweet and served with green apple for a little tartness. The artichoke hearts were lightly fried with a burst of gooey cheese and basil that sort of exploded, in the best possible way, in your mouth when you bit into it. The bracioletta was a little heavier (everything else was surprisingly light considering they were deep fried or wrapped in puff pastry), heartier and nice and salty. Being in the shape of an eggroll I kept expecting a dipping sauce but clearly they were not eggrolls and they did not need a sauce, they were plenty moist but still not fatty. If I had to choose a favorite I think it may have been the potato croquettes. I love anything croquettes. They were light and fluffy on the inside while crispy and golden fried on the outside. They were served with two sauces – a creamy alfredo and a zesty marinara. I saved one for my very last bite as that’s the flavor I wanted to be left with (until dessert that is).

Our waitress had recommended the French Banana Bread Extravaganza for dinner claiming she could eat one every night for dinner but we still, ignorantly, ordered the Tiramisu instead. We immediately regretted it as it just wasn’t that good. Sensing my disappointment and seeing me put down my spoon for the first time with a dessert on the table, my dinner date quickly flagged down our waitress and ordered the French Banana Bread Extravaganza. My hero!

The French Banana Bread Extravaganza came out practically on a platter. It was huge! There was no way we could finish the entire thing. Oh wait… yes, we could. The bananas were fried and caramelized and served with ice cream and whip cream and there must have been some bread in there somewhere. I didn’t stop long enough to really get a good look. This, along with a cup of coffee, was the perfect way to end a wonderful evening and an amazing meal.

I need to go back soon. Very soon.

Now for the pièce de résistance, the French Banana Bread Extravaganza in all its glory. Try to wrap your head around that.

How did Cuchi Cuchi measure up? 4.5 Spoons (too bad for that Tiramisu or it would have been 5)!

Cuchi Cuchi on Urbanspoon

Bondir, Central Sq

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Where: Bondir – 279A Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139
When: Januar, 2012

I’ve been wanting to try Bondir since it opened last year and even more so after reading that it was rated one of the top ten new restaurants in the US by Bon Appetit. I had tried to go a 20120115-105228.jpgcouple months ago but was unable to get a reservation (apparently it typically takes 3-4 weeks to get a Friday or Saturday night table – yikes). Luckily, with only a few days notice I was able to get one of their 14 tables for last Saturday night.

I got there a couple minutes early and sat in their little waiting area quickly falling in love. The decor is my current obsession – french farmhouse. I love the pale green and cream walls. I love the wood benches and bird themed cushions. I love the brick fireplace and tree trunk tables. I love the random glass globes. I love the flowery plates on the simple clean tablecloths. Basically, I want to live in Bondir.

The service was fantastic, we had our server but then there was always another staff member sneaking up to refill our water and wine glasses and clear plates. Our server 20120115-105339.jpgwent over the menu with us and explained that all menu items come in half or full portions and typically three half portions is a good size for a meal. We started with a bottle of the Pinot Noir which was very good and perfect for the “feels like 4 degrees” Boston weather out there. We were quickly brought some bread that is made in-house. The three slices we received were 9 Grain, The Sea, and Bronze Fennel Seed. The Sea slice was very unusual with nori seaweed and shrimp (as well as a few other ingredients I can’t remember).

I started the meal with the Butterball Potato and Celeriac Chowder with Roasted Hazelnuts and Smoked Paprika Oil. It was creamy but not heavy and the roasted hazelnuts added a really nice crunch to it which I haven’t had in other soups. I was surprised with every bite (thanks, short term memory). Libby started with the Spice-Poached Red Beet,Baby Lettuces and Fines Herbes and Kañiwa, with Blood Orange-Pistachio Vinaigrette which looked really good.

For our entrees, I was a little stumped. There was a scallop dish that looked amazing but I am pretty convinced (although not 100% positive) that I am allergic to scallops so that wasn’t a risk I was ready to take. Not tonight anyways. There was a roasted lamb dish that looked really good as well but I thought it might be a bit heavy for me. I opted for the Keener White Corn Grits with Pan-Fried Tamworth Ham, Fresh Maine Shrimp Bisque, Cabbage, Dahlia, and Chili Vinaigrette as I love corn, ham, and shrimp. The dish was very good although it was a little heavier and fattier than I was in the mood for. I was hoping for more refined and light but I don’t think this is Bondir’s fault though, I should have known better by the description. It was really well prepared and flavorful. Libby got the Fresh Perigord Black Truffle Triticale Flour Rigatoni, Garlic Chives, and Parmigiano Reggiano after our server’s recommendation as the truffle had just arrived from France. After a little research I learnt that this particular truffle is considered to be the world’s finest black truffle available. Oh la la, I can see why the server was so excited about it! Libby said it was delicious and she would rate it a 5 out of 5. This was also the single most expensive dish I have seen on a menu. I don’t often talk about money and prices but this dish was $60 for the full portion. My wallet thanks me for not being a huge fan of truffle.

We were pretty full after two half portions but ordered the Weston Wheel cheese plate (Raw Sheep’s Milk, Woodcock Farm, Weston, Vermont with Squash Mostarda, and Pickled Concord Grapes) to balance out the meal. We debated between port and coffee and, naturally, the port won.

We left Bondir happy and full.

Leaving Bondir brought back all sorts of random memories as I lived in a house across the street on Columbia about 7 years ago. It was an old run down house (which now looks new and renovated, bravo) which we discovered had a goat buried in the back yard. I shared the place with 3 messy boys (one of which, a death metal drummer,  chased me out by making a move on me one night) that I didn’t know and my downstairs neighbor got robbed at fake gunpoint by a 13 year old just a couple blocks away. I didn’t live there long but left with more wacky memories than I know what to do with. How the neighborhood has changed!

We headed down the road for a night cap at Cuchi Cuchi. Cuchi Cuchi has been on my “must go” list for a while now and now that I have been in there I am even more eager to get there for a meal. CUTE! We sat at the bar and asked the bartender the differences between some of the Cognacs on the menu and he quickly offered a crash course on some of the different kinds. We tried 2 cognacs, a brandy, and an armagnac. He was patient in explaining the differences and clearly loved what he does. I settled on the armagnac and Libby had a brandy. He even warmed our snifters for us – charmed!20120115-105345.jpg

Great night but needless to say I did not make it to yoga the next morning.

How did Bondir measure up? 4.5 Spoons!

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Fuji, Kendall Sq

Standard

Where: Fuji – 300 3rd Street, Cambridge MA 02142
When: January, 2012

My heart skipped a beat when I heard that there was a new sushi place coming to Kendall Square. I LOVE sushi and could eat it every day if I had to (or even if I didn’t). I learnt from some of my twitter buddies that it had opened a few weeks ago and was eager to get over there.

Lucky for me, one of my colleagues also loves sushi so we quickly made plans to go. Coincidentally, this was during my detox week (more about that later) but on a day where I could have protein and veggies so I could make this work.

Fuji was busy which is a good thing but we also were quickly able to get a table. We were originally sat next to one of the doors but as soon as it opened with the next guests we asked to move as it was just too cold. The table we switched to was a little further away but it was still a bit chilly so if I had one suggestion for Fuji it would be for them to install a couple of those thick curtains around the doors to try to keep some of the cold out and warmth in. No one wants to eat sushi in the cold! Well, I don’t. Just my two cents.

The restaurant is clean, simple, and welcoming. An upscale sushi restaurant, somewhere you would go for a birthday lunch, with business clients (make sure they like sushi), or a nice dinner with friends. Not the kind of place where you’d see college boys doing sake bombs, not that there is anything wrong with that. The cocktail menu looked delicious but I was detoxing (and I would never, of course, drink during lunch! Right.) so slid that away from me. On to the food!

We started with the Tuna Takaki which is lightly seared tuna accompanied by wakame, julienne cucumber, and ponzu sauce. Technically I probably should have avoided the ponzu sauce and wakame but, well, if that’s my biggest detox fail then that’s OK with me. The Tuna Tataki came beautifully presented and nicely seared. The sauce was a perfect compliment being citrusy with a touch of sweet. I’d definitely get this again (or try the beef tataki next time).

For our entrees, my lunch date got the Spicy Maki Lunch which came with Spicy Tuna, Spicy Salmon, and Spicy California Maki. He was really pleased with it and it looked delicious (he offered me some but couldn’t do it because of the rice, sad).

Typically I would also go for spicy tuna maki so something similar but I had to avoid rice so opted for the 15 piece sashimi combo with Maguro (tuna), Sake (salmon), and Unagi (eel). The fish was super fresh and the eel was perfectly cooked. I didn’t miss the rice, avocado, spicy mayo, etc, that I usually get at all. I actually had to remind myself to slow down as not to inhale the entire dish before my lunch date touched his. The tuna, salmon, and eel all melted like butter as soon as you put it in your mouth.

Overall, the food was delicious, the atmosphere was great (but chilly), and the service was very good. It was pricey though so I can’t see going here every other day. I did see some people at the sushi bar so that might be a better option for when I just need a quick sushi fix. Or take away perhaps?

After work, while chatting with the same colleague I wondered out loud “I wonder what I will have for dinner” and he responded with a very frank “Didn’t you eat enough at lunch?”. It wasn’t until I stopped dead in my tracks with my jaw having fallen a good two inches that he realized the tragedy of what he just said. “WHAT?” I replied with. I don’t think he could hear me as he was in stitches laughing so hard while trying to apologize. For the record, a 15 piece meal of fish is NOT enough to hold over anyone for the entire day! I didn’t have any rice and even if I did one needs to eat three meals a day! Pffft.

How did Fuji measure up? 4.5 Spoons!