Tag Archives: oysters

Rialto, Harvard Sq

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Where: Rialto, One Bennett Street, Cambridge, MA
When: September, 2012

During my summertime love affair with oysters I was looking to get them any way possible. I didn’t care where or who they came from. I didn’t care if they were local or foreign. I just wanted as many as I could as quickly as possible.

During my quest to eat as many oyster as possible I came across Riato’s Monday night $1 oyster special. TMM! (Tell me more!).

On my next free Monday evening I dragged a friend of mine to Rialto to check this steal out. The bar, expectedly, was jam packed but we found a little table still considered in the bar area (a much nicer spot if you ask me). Let me walk you through my journey…

We started with a dozen oysters. Then got another dozen oysters. Then considered getting another dozen oysters but thought we should try something else. I couldn’t tell you what kind of oysters these were honestly. I know they weren’t wellfleets or kumamotos, two of my favorites, but any good $1 oyster makes a close second favorite.

Two drinks in we decided we needed something more substantial. We ordered the Crispy friend calamari with pickled pepper, lemon and evoo. These were lightly friend and not too greasy and the aoili it was served with was worthy just on its own. I’d get the calamari again but they weren’t anything particularly special. Maybe that’s a good thing though, somethings you don’t want to get too fancy with.

Next, hold your breath, we got the Parmesan fries. I just accidentally wrote friend and, yes, they are my friends and will be yours too. These are the most delicious fries I have had in years. I was doing that thing where I would grab three at a time but try to pretend there was just one as I didn’t want to look like I was taking more than my share, which I totally was. I was hoping my dinner date would go use the bathroom so that I could inhale them without the guilt. No such luck. I did, proudly, polish off this plate with little help.


Overall, you can’t beat $1 oysters. The bar was packed so I felt lucky to get a seat but otherwise its a risk. The calamari was good enough but they were blown out of the water by the fries. What really topped off the evening for me was when Jody Adams, the head chef, sat behind me to say hello to some friends. I was starstuck and just sat there with a silly grin on my face, which you can see here. I must get back for a full dinner sometime soon.

How did Rialto measure up? 4.5 Spoons!

Chez Henri, Harvard Sq, Revisited

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Where: Chez Henri – One Shepard Street Cambridge, MA
When: March, 2012

After raving about Chez Henri for so long my dad insisted we go there the next time he visit. He didn’t have to ask me twice.

I made a reservation for a Friday night and were promptly seated when we arrived. We were greeted by our waitress who was very knowledgeable and very sweet, if that’s appropriate to say.

We ordered a drink before dinner with my dad going with a martini and I getting my all time favorite cocktail, the 75 Rue Germain, a play on the French 75. The 75 Rue Germain is Cava, Plymouth Gin, St. Germain, and lemon juice. This fresh bubbly cocktail was perfect for a rainy Friday night so I can’t wait to see how it tastes on a hot summer evening.

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We then ordered a bottle of wine and our appetizers. I was surprised that my dad didn’t get the oysters as he loves them more than I do but he started with the PEI mussels, which were a special, that came cooked in a white wine, butter, tomato and basil. The mussels came with two big crusty pieces of toasted bread, perfect for mopping up some of that mussel liquor.

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I did, however, get the Island Creek Oysters on the 1/2 shells with Champagne Mignonette which were as fantastic as I remembered. I had been dreaming about them for weeks so couldn’t wait to dig in. I actually heard my dad snicker at my exclamations of joy after each oyster. They are absolutely delicious.

For our entrees, dad went with another special, the Wood Grilled Onglet with Herbed Potatoes, Brussel Sprouts, and Foie Gras Bordelaise. It looked delicious and how decadent to do a foie gras bordelaise. I think my dad slept well this evening.

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I considered getting the Cod Loin again as I was still thinking about since my last visit but I decided I should try something new. I got the Steak Frites which is a Grilled N.Y. Sirloin with Crispy Fries and Smoked Tomato & Toasted Garlic Bordelaise. The portion was generous (I, shockingly, could not finish it) and the steak just melted in your mouth. Also, those fries are some of the best I have had in a while and even better with some of that toasted garlic bordelaise on them.

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For dessert we split* the Cardamom and Orange Scented Creme Brûlée with Pistachio Biscotti. The cardamon and orange were easy to find in the dish but subtle enough that it didn’t overwhelm the gentle flavors of the creme Brûlée. The biscotti had a nice crunch to it which was a nice contrast.

*I say split but we all know what really happened, right?

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While finishing up dessert I took a photo of the dessert menu so that I could remember what was in it. Our waitress noticed so I excused myself saying I keep a blog. She asked which one so I told her and next thing I know the general manager, Beth (if I remember correctly?),  is standing by our table asking “Are you SmallnFeisty“? I almost fell out of my seat! “Yes, yes I am!” I excited responded as my dad looked on a little confused. Julie recognized the name of my blog and knew me from twitter so had come over to say hello. She was as lovely and charming as everyone else I’ve interacted with at Chez Henri and so nice to come over and say hello. She made me feel like a bit of a celebrity!

Overall, I wish I could shake things up a little and revise my last rating to keep you all on your toes but the service, atmosphere and food were nothing short of stellar. I’m grateful to have Chez Henri in my back yard and hope to be recognized there again many, many times.

How did Chez Henri measure up? 5 Spoons!

Chez Henri on Urbanspoon

Chez Henri, Harvard Sq

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Where: Chez Henri – One Shepard Street Cambridge, MA
When: February, 2012

Chez Henri – one of the reasons I was so excited to move to my neighborhood. Whether for dinner or drinks at the bar, I love this place. Its the kind of place that manages to match your mood, whatever that might be. I’ve been to sit at the bar in jeans and boots and I feel right at home then I’ve been more dressed up for dinner and also feel totally in place. Its kind of like home.

The cocktails are great with my favorite being the75 Rue Germain – “An elegant update of the French 75: Cava, Plymouth Gin, St. Germain, and Lemon Juice”. I could drink a half dozen of these. (not really)

A few weeks ago one of those coupony / deal websites (Groupon, Yipit, Gilt City, TravelZoo Deals, Boston Deals, I can’t keep them all straight) came out with an offer for Chez Henri. 2 starters, 2 entrees, and 1 dessert for $55. What a steal!! My only regret is having only bought one. If I had the chance I would go back and buy as many as they would allow.

Libby and I started with the following two starters: Ceviche Mixta with Mango-Lime Mojo & Avocado, which she had recently had and recommended, and the Island Creek Oysters on the ½ Shell with Champagne Mignonette, which has officially made me an oyster lover. We knew with starters, entrees, and dessert we had to start with something on the lighter side so these starters were perfect. The ceviche was well prepared, light, fresh and served with salty plantain chips which I thought was a nice contrast to the citrus of the dish. The oysters totally wooed me. Until this meal I could have an oyster here or there but I now dream of Chez Henri oysters. I don’t know much about oysters as I am a newbie in this arena but they went down like little magic. I loved the champagne mignonette as well, I could put that stuff on everything. There was a night earlier this week where I actually thought about heading to the bar for oysters and a cocktail on my own. I’m not ruling that out for another time.

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For dinner I had the Cod Loin with Lobster-Orange Saffron Cream, Baby Vegetables and Buttered Yukon Potatoes.I wish I could remember what Libby got (I was a little too enthralled with my own meal) but just look at her plate – its like a painting! Beautiful. She was really happy with her dish..

As for mine, I loved it. The cod was thick and light and just melted in your mouth. Everything was buttery and creamy, just the way I like it. Very satisfying. I could have used a loaf of bread to dip into all that lovely sauce.

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Libby insisted that she didn’t have room for dessert but since we had this deal and it came with a dessert I couldn’t pass it up. I mean… that would have been wasteful. I ordered the Caramelized Apple Bread Pudding with Vanilla Ice Cream and Caramel Sauce. The bread pudding was warm, soft and spongy; the caramel sauce was warm, sweet and salty; the vanilla ice cream cold, sweet and clean.The flavor and texture paired so well together. I managed to take one for the team and polish the dessert off on my own. You’re welcome.

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The service, as always, was excellent. The atmosphere is cozy, refined, but unpretentious. The food is phenomenal. I’d come back in a heartbeat (perhaps even this week for my oyster fix) and would recommend it for everything from a late night bite, a romantic dinner, or out with friends. This is one of my favorites.

How did Chez Henri measure up? 5 Spoons!

Chez Henri on Urbanspoon