The highly anticipated K-Square offering from the former chef at Aujourd'hui, this oak-heavy 152-seater warmly welcomes guests with a two-sided fireplace, herb garden wall, and trellised patio, whilst filling them with Franco-inspired mod American that includes honey-glazed duck breast w/bok choy, and parsley Bordelaise-sauced tournedos of beef w/rainbow chard and Taleggio ravioli. Everything's washed down by 25 brews (Weihenstephaner Hefe, Troegs Dreamweaver) and a lineup of classic/playful cocktails like the Mexican Sand (mezcal, cherry heering, vermouth) and a Happy Gilmore-inspired bourbon/iced tea/peach bitters Chubbs Peterson -- so good, you'll have to pace yourself by remembering it's all in the sips.
300 Technology Sq. (Kendall Sq) Cambridge
Open for a while, another Kendall Square eating entry from Michael Leviton (Newton's Lumiere) boasts a wood-burning oven a bakery and slings a creative, daily-changing lineup including pulled BBQ beef short rib sammies, pork & duck country terrine crostini, and even a wild Rhode Island striped bass gyro. Drinking's covered by a wide selection of Scotches & bourbons, and gourmet crafted beer. Open for lunch and dinner.
Just recently renovated is Jody Adam's Rialto. Located in the Charles Hotel, the menu now takes on a new Italian identity... hearty fare like tomato and farro lasagna, braised pork cheeks with heirloom polenta, and spaghetti with lobster. High priestess Adams is wisely keeping some of favorite classic dishes on the menu, such as the classic slow-roasted duck. Now on her own, Adams is giving her newest venture her own personal vision, not only on the dishes, but in the new decor. Good luck, Jody!
1 Bennett St, Cambridge
Sunday Brunch at Legal Sea Foods,
Charles Hotel Cambridge
You wouldn't ordinarily think "brunch" at a seafood emporium, but I had a chance to check it out this past Sunday and it's a gastronomically unique experience. Don't tell too many people, because it's still somewhat of a secret ...they're trying it out, and if it goes, they'll institute it at the other Legal locations. My suggestion: Make it happen, because it's a winner! From the fresh fruit parfait with yogurt and granola, we moved on to the lobster, goat cheese and chive omelet -- large chunks of lobster in a frittata-like dish that was mouth-watering and delicious. The brioche French toast (it's the only way) with homemade Vermont syrup accompanied by fresh fruit was exceptional and you'll go ga ga over the unique Kona coffee, French pressed, (it serves up to 4) -- it was so good we ordered a second pot. Where else can you get 100% Kona coffee at regular coffee prices? There are eight different choices on the menu, with sides and beverages of your choice. And sitting outside on the patio on a a beautiful summer's day - there's nothing better. I'm spreading the word...it's a secret no more. Go and make your next Sunday Brunch experience extra special!
Legal Sea Foods/ Charles Square
Now called "Cragie On Main", Chef/owner Tony Maws has moved his operation to the Central Square area, the former La Groceria restaurant on Main St. in Cambridge.The expanded space provides ample room for the creative cuisine Maws is famous for. Early reviews are quite good.
Cragie on Main
853 Main St, Cambridge
Upstairs on the Square
It didn't take Upstairs at the Pudding proprietors Mary-Catherine Deibel and Deborah Hughes long to find another space, after they had to give up their 20 year lease at their popular Holyoke Street location. Just a block away in the former Grendel's Den, they have given birth to really two dining spots in this quaint brick building. They have come up with two distinct areas under the same roof. Downstairs is the more casual Monday Club Bar for more casual dining, with colorful designs, pink ceiling, purple and gold floors, and upstairs, the more formal Soiree Room, with its mirrored ceiling and leopard print floor. The decor defies tradition and sets it apart from other restaurants of this caliber. Whether you go for the more formal dining experience upstairs, or the more casual downstairs, you'll like the Pudding experience. The food is still their prime concern, and you'll find some traditional favorites as well as some new creations on the menu. Mary-Catherine and Deborah have given Harvard Square something to shout about...and I'm on the line cheering for them all the way.
Upstairs on the Square
91 Winthrop St., Cambridge
It's a cut above your favorite neighborhood eatery, and Oleana's chef-owner Ann Sortun (formerly of Casablanca) has created the ambience and creative menu that keeps this Cambridge boite one of the area's busiest and most popular spots. She's taken Middle Eastern delicacies and given them her own personal flair -warm briny olives or tasty pate made of beans and walnuts, fried mussels with hot peppers and a tart Turkish sauce. For entrees try the roasted bluefish or monkfish with lemon and artichokes -- there's lots of exotic fare from which to choose. The menu changes with the season, as does the ambience. In warm weather you can dine on the cozy patio, when it's colder, ask for a table near the gas fireplace to set a nice romantic mood. Service is friendly and fast and there's a full bar. This is definitely one of "Frank's Favorites." Reservations are suggested, for it does get crowded, especially on weekends.
134 Hampshire St.
Mother knows best at Hungry Mother, a friendly, mid-priced Contemporary American eatery with a Southern drawl located near Cambridge’s Kendall Square Theater, where the chef taps his Virginia roots to produce everything from true grits – and boiled peanuts – to made-in-house cured meats and smoked fish; butcher-block tables, a funky seven-seat bar, a theme cocktail menu and an international wine list add to the comfortable-yet-classy vibe.
233 Cardinal Medeiros Ave., Cambridge
Evoo & ZA
Moved from Somerville to new digs in Kendall square in Cambridge is the eclectic Evoo that has already built a steady following for its penchant for matching loaclly grown ingredients with very creative dishes.. On a recent visit, we enjoyed the cornmeal crusted fried oysters with a goat cheese fondue and apple bacon salsa. This was from the starter section of the menu. The dinner menu is divided into starters, mains and desserts. Everything is home made, and you start salivating just reading the Wide variety avialble .So many salads to choose from we opted for the smoked confit of Pete and Jen's rabbit (I'd never had rabbit before) port soaked cherries and toasted pecans,o shaved Vermont cheddar in a rosemary vinagreette.We never got out of the starter mold, when I spotted Verrill Farms strawberry gaspacho.with toasted almonds cucumber, red nion and cilantro We definitely will return to give the mains a shot, and a stab at the home=made dessert menu. Full wine and beverage avaiable. If you're tired of the same old, same old, wake up your palate to the combinations of flavors with fresh ingredients that you'll find at EVOO.Now open for lunch and dinner.
P.S. Attached to Evoo is Evoo's already established sister restaurant ZA for lower-priced lighter fare.
P.P.S Bergamot, a “progressive American” named after the citrus fruit used in Earl Grey tea, will be taking over the old Evoo space in Somerville. The power team behind the restaurant, chef/co-owner Keith Pooler (Harvest, Scampo and GM/co-owner Servio Garcia (Craigie on Main).
Evoo & ZA
350 Third St, Cambridge
617 661 3866
The Harvest: Newly-reopened
on Brattle Street in Cambridge, the Harvest has gone through several
ownership changes, and has had its ups and downs. It was always one
of my favorites in the Cambridge area. Redesigned with attractive materials
like Travertine marble, red slate and stained maple floors with attractive
drapes and cozy banquettes, it's warm and inviting. Not only does the
atmosphere make dining a joy, but a team of top players has been assembled
to make sure the food is bountiful, tasty and served with panache.
Executive chef Eric Brennan is now in charge, and his innovative cuisine
has kept the place hoppin'. The glory days of the old Harvest, when
food was tasty and artfully presented, have returned, and so have the
crowds. The menu features over 20 appetizers (the lobster salad was
suburb), and for entrees, try the seared sea scallops with foie gras.
The steak selection is perfect, and the garlicky game hen is worth
a shot. Leave room for dessert -- the warm chocolate cake (like a souffle
with a crust) melts in your mouth! They are open for lunch and dinner
and Sunday brunch as well as late afternoon tea. Tucked away in the
alley off Brattle Street, the Harvest is back in full swing, and all's
right with the world. Bon Appetit!
The Harvest Restaurant
44 Brattle St., Cambridge,
The second of Kim Moore's unique concept for a restaurant has been open a few months in its Harvard Square, Cambridge location and already has been getting great reaction from the college crowds who crave the chocolate treats -- sticky carmel nut bars, gelatos, cookies and melt-in-your-mouth chocolate treats (one of my favorites is the blood orange-white chocolate layer cake). As in their Park Square location, sandwiches, soups, and salads as well as other light lunch and dinner fare are available. They're looking to build a "finale" empire, and it could be happening as we speak!
30 Dunster St.
If you're looking for an intimate dining experience where the food is prepared with loving care and the service takes its cue from the chef-owner, this 45-seat jewel right off Central Square in Cambridge should be your next dining destination. Salt historically has been a symbol of hospitality, and the talented young chef Steve Rosen and his charming hostess/wife Lisa have taken hospitality to the hilt with their warm and gracious style. Make sure to try his signature dishes of smoked salmon sausage and melt-in-your-mouth chive pierogis. Rosen works his culinary magic with crisp duckling, lavender glazed with rhubarb preserves, and an unusual dish: rosemary and black tea smoked lamb slices with sweet pepper salad and baked garlic vareniki. The menu won't overwhelm you. There are some five or six appetizers, seven or eight entrees. The desserts add the final touch of originality and superb taste combinations. My favorite was the jasmine tea sorbet, or the chocolate crunchy cookie filled with coconut. For those who have tried this tiny gastronomical jewel, and are attempting to keep it to themselves, forget it! I'm letting the cat out of the bag.
798 Main St., Cambridge
Nestled between Harvard and Porter Squares on Mass. Ave. is a new pub that has some unusual architectural features and sports a very active bar area. It's a warm and friendly neighborhood eatery that is fast becoming THE place to meet and greet. The menu offers a wide choice from burgers, pizza, and pasta to elaborate entrees. With friendly service and atmosphere, it's a lively place. It's been open about 6 months, and already seems to be developing a steady clientele. Parking can be a problem, but. like most of Mass. Ave., if you're patient and lucky, you're bound to find a spot. Open for lunch and dinner.
1688 Mass Ave., Cambridge
Ten Tables Cambridge
The second location for the popular and also tiny Jamaica Plain eatery now occupies the former home of Craigie bistro. Chef David Punch is in charge of the seasonal serious menu that is a gourmet delight.
5 Craigie Cir, Cambridge, MA 02138
Flour (in Central Square Cambridge)
The third location of Joanne Chang's popular bakery/cafes is bringing breakfast and baked goodies to its new venue. Decked out ewwith brown & beige walls, chalkboard menus, and a giant 14 seat communal talbe, the 46-seat cafe offers a smilar menu to its other locations which include curried tuna w/carrots,apples, and golden raisins; a goat fheese-topped roasted lamgw/tomato chutney;and roasted red peppers & caramelized onion-smothered grilled chicken w/arugula and brie. The baked goods -- and there's lots to choose from -- offer dark caramel sticky buns paked w.'toasted pecans; an apple spice cake filled w'nuts and raisins;and a brown sugar/pecan/cinnamon-swirled old fashioned sour cream coffee cake. Deliciousness abounds.
190 Massachusetts Ave,
at the corner of Albany St.
Jimmy’s: Joe V’s on Shawmut Avenue is now gone, but its owner, Jimmy Hamelburg, has moved his operation to Brookline. It's re-invigorated casual and classic Italian menu is now available at 1653 Beacon St. near Washington.
Nelson Cognac (that's his real name) owner of the successful Newton eatery "Kouzina" had decided to bring his culinary skills to neighboring Brookline on Harvard Street.A former gas station has been transformed into an authentic French bistro including a full bar Oversized bold french Posters decorate the walls, each poster highlighting the signature drink "cognac". A welcoming seafood bar offers a wide variety of oysters and clams. Shrimp and lobster are also on hand. Make sure to try the fried clams. Delicious. The menu includes pastas, salads,soup (yes, of course French onion soup) sandwiches and even an out of this world macaroni and cheese.There are "Plats du jour"special entress for each day of the week. Favorites an original version of the BLT(Blue crab ,blue cheese, lettuce bacon and tomato) Not your usual "Cog Au viin" features Scottish salmon with oyster mushrooms. Roasted Wild Striped bass ,Pan seared Grey sole ,grilled Hanger steak or veal flank steak seem to gaining favor with the clientele. The wait staff is very friendly and knowledgable, and the moderate priced menu will entice you back again and again. Open for dinner only. Off street parking available.
455 Harvard St, Brookline
French cuisine comes to Brighton at the new Chez Jacky. Jacky Robert and Loic LeGarrec, the two Frenchmen who brought us Petit Robert Bistro, now have added another venue to their expanding empire -- Chez Jacky, a family-style French bistro, lin Brighton's former Zocalo space .The restaurant offers a similar menu but separates the entrees and the sides, creating options for less-expensive, shared meals; the cozy dining room features cream-colored walls, exposed brick and terra-cotta tiles, while the wood bar has become a hot destination for tippling artisan beers and more than a dozen wines by the glass.
1414 Commonwealth Ave., Brighton
Buddachen, an Asian-fusion arrival in Brookline's former Jae’s space (and involving some of its partners), serves a midpriced menu of Chinese, Thai and sushi in a warm, welcoming setting with wood window shades, gold wallpaper accents and a giant Buddha; there’s also a bar area, which doubles as a more casual destination for lunch, plus a private dining room. Open for lunch and dinner. Special bento box lunches includes soup, rice, salad with your choice of chicken or meat.
1223 Beacon St., Brookline
Taberna de Haro
Reviewed by Michael Goodell
Muy beuno. Muy beuno.While Taberna de Haro has been serving their inspiring Spanish tapas since 1998, I've just made my first visit and let me just say right off the bat- Taberna de Haro is one of those "off the radar" gems we all go in search of and if you haven't been, you need to put on your coat and get there. This place is the real deal! A great place to meet family and old friends (or as we did, make new ones), whether it's for a quick stop or an extended stay, Taberna de Haro's authentic Spanish warmth is one you won't soon forget.
Taberna de Haro does not take reservations -but an FYI, they do accept en-route calls to reduce your table wait time.
Taberna de Haro
999 Beacon Street
Zenna Noodle Bar
Now open for about six months, this newest Asian eatery is located on Beacon Street, not far from busy Coolidge Corner. Its bright decor with array of fresh orchids is very welcoming. If the attractive owner Tiam is not cooking in the kitchen, she's there to greet you warmly. Daily specials and choice dishes including chicken satay and spring rolls -- the tastiest I've had in a long time. Rainbow noodles, a unique dish of Italian linguine sauteed with chicken shrimp and vegetables, and their unique version of pad thai are both worthwhile choices. Some of the dishes are ample enough for sharing, and the friendly wait staff is there to help you make wise selections..
There are a plethora of Asian restaurants in the Brookline area, but Zenna's tops the list in my book for overall presentation, taste and affordability.
Zenna Noodle Bar
1374 Beacon Street
Chef/owner Jeremy Sewall (formerly with Great Bay) has gone back to his roots in Brookline in the space previously occupied by Lucy's in busy Coolidge Corner. The restaurant's name pays homage to Sewall's ancestors who were big wheels in Brookline (Sewall Avenue was named for them, not Jeremy). Open not quite a month, the 75-seat restaurant has a warm, neighborly feel to it with the large woodburning oven behind the bar opposite the entrance. The modern American style cooking which Sewall has mastered is evident right from the start. For appetizers there are a dozen choices -- The tuna tartare with sesame, chive, cucumber and red onion was an excellent beginning, while the six island oysters was another wise choice. We even found room to share a thin pizza with potato, crimini mushroom and truffle oil. There's a wide variety of entrees. Sewall's signature dish is the Pork Porterhouse with organic white grits. The Long Island Duck breast served over risotto cake and carrot onion relish was crisp and tender. I opted for the wild king salmon, cooked to perfection and accompanied with toasted orzo, cauliflower and baby gold beets.. If you're still hungry, there are some simple desserts to top off your meal. There's a full bar as well. They're open every day but Monday and brunch is also available Sunday mornings. The wait staff is cordial and knowledgeable and. it's a fee-good, comfortable dining experience. Things are looking rosy for this newest kid on the block.
242 Harvard St.
This little neighborhood jewel nestled right in the heart of busy Brighton Square is "one stop shopping" for those searching for varied and classic, ethnic-styled dishes. You can return again and again and enjoy a different style meal. There are five styles from which to choose -- Near East, Middle Eastern (lamb and chicken kabobs and rice) Mediterranean (cucumber and onion salad), French (beef Bourguignon or chateaubriand) or Hungarian (Wiener schnitzel or beef stroganoff). With appetizers (escargot) and salads (hearts of palm) plus desserts freshly baked on the premises (orange and chocolate or cherry meringue mousse, apple strudel), this cozy family-run restaurant has something for every taste. There are daily specials -- we tried the mixture of 4 different mushrooms and vegetables grilled and accompanied with a tasty sauce. Mom and dad are cooking in the open kitchen while the sons Roy and Ray serve and make you feel like you're one of the family. They both have the gift of gab. No full bar, but wine and beer are available. Dinner only. Suggestion: Instead of serving ordinary toasted bread, "nam" would be more in keeping with the international-styled menu. They must be doing something right, for their "regulars" keep coming back again and again.
412 Market Street, Brighton, MA
The Washington Square Tavern
Within a one-block area in the vicinity of Beacon and Washington Streets in Brookline, so many fun and interesting eating places have sprouted, and it's become a diner's paradise. This one has been open only 5 months and is already building quite a following. With Chef Paul Hathaway in the kitchen, this small (seats about 40) neighborhood pub with old-fashioned ambience features new-fashioned fusion food. Chef Hathaway has some fine credentials, from Blue Room, to Pomodora, to Michelas, and most recently to the now-shuttered Providence. This new dining spot is an American melting pot. For starters we savored the crispy chicken livers with carmelized onions and balsamic syrup (superb!). The salads are inventive and savory. I loved the watercress salad with roasted walnuts and gorgonzola. My entree of pan-seared cod with a succulent lobster sauce raised an ordinary cod to a lobster Savannah level. You can find fish, steak, pork chops, duck, and even vegetarian. There's a varied winter menu with daily specials, and the prices won't make a major dent in your wallet. They have a full bar and a fairly extensive wine list. No reservations. It's your friendly neighborhood pub with a gourmet flourish, and it's a find.
The Washington Square Tavern
714 Washington (corner of Beacon) Brookline, 02146
The former "Five Seasons" vegetarian restaurant occupying the corner space at Beacon and Washington streets in Brookline has re-emerged with new owners, new menu, and an attractive facelift including a working fireplace that creates a cozy warm atmosphere. The two level restaurant features an open hearth and grill, some antique kitchen utensils attractively mounted on the walls along with Will Moses prints. This grill and barbecue-style menu features a wide selection, and according to chef/owner Jim Solomon, "it's rustic native New England cooking." Simple, yet elegant. And there's a full bar and wine list Our sampling of the barbecued half chicken was tender and tasty, the wood-grilled bluefish was sweet and succulent, a mussels appetizer was ample and our group couldn't get enough of the side dishes we sampled, the maple sweet potato mash and the crispy, lightly battered onion rings. The fresh blueberry tart with ginger ice cream topped off the meal nicely. . There is a very warm and friendly atmosphere, from the host right down to the wait staff.-- a welcome addition to the Beacon/Washington area of Brookline that has become its own "restaurant row." (Particularly popular is the Washington Grill across the street.) Ample parking is available on the street, or behind the restaurant. It's only been open less than a month, but the word apparently is out. When we left, there was a line waiting for a table. I suggest you make reservations, since the price and atmosphere will make this one a very popular dining destination.