Highland Kitchen – Southern Twist

150 Highland Ave. Somerville, MA 02143

http://highlandkitchen.com/ (617) 625-1131

*At the intersection of Highland Ave and Central St, few blocks from Porter Sq

Seth & Ren, +2 guests

  • –Drinks–
  •  Mai Tai Dragon x5
  • Seelbach (Makers Mark cocktail)
  • Highland Fling (Gin cocktail)
  • BBC Coffeehouse Porter
  • Coffee x2
  • –Plates–
  • Pork Belly duck confit with hoisen sauce (!!!)
  • Smoked Bluefish cakes
  • Ricotta & Mozzarella Fritters
  • Handmade Potato Gnocchi w/ shortrib ragout and parmesan
  • Mussels (Returned and removed from the bill)
  • Spicy Jambalaya w/ duck confit, shrimp, andouille sausage, tasso ham and cornbread
  • English Style Beer Battered Fish & Chips
  • Fried Chicken w/ mash and collard greens (Monday Special)
  • –Dessert–
  • Warm Banana Bread Pudding
  • Beignets (a french donut of sorts) w/ cinnamon and sugar (FREE)
  • $171.05 w/ tax ($63.00 in Drinks)

Ave Price/Person: $18-25 w/ Drinks: $25-45

Seth: I’ve been here a few times before and have always loved it. A friend introduced me to this place a few years ago and when another spot we were going to wasn’t going to work this week, this was the next place on my mind. The wait was about twenty minutes but some bar seats opened as we walked in, so we sat for a pre-dinner round of drinks. I knew from before that the Dragon Mai Tai was the way to go. After sharing a sip of mine, everyone else’s second round of drinks were the Mai Tai. We were sat pretty quickly after that. For appetizers, we started with the Pork belly duck confit, smoked bluefish cakes and the ricotta & mozzarella fritters. The pork belly was smoky and amazing with the hoisen sauce. As you may be beginning to learn, pork belly is one of my favorite appetizers EVER! The bluefish cakes were really nicely done and came with an interesting sweet & sour sauce. The fritters were really light, crispy and tasty. For my entrée I got the Monday special: the Fried chicken! The chicken was moist and the batter light and crisp with a slight heat to it. The collard greens were done just right and accompanied nicely with the mashed potatoes and gravy. I had bites of everyone else’s dishes as well. The fried fish was done just right without too much breading. I really like the coleslaw that came with it too. The jambalaya was full of meat, from scrumptious duck confit to nicely cooked shrimp. I had a couple bites of the potato gnocchi and wish I could have had more! It was soft and tasty and the short-rib ragout was awesome. I loved my chicken choice but was a little jealous of Ren’s gnocchi. We also ordered the mussels but unfortunately it was a bad batch and we had to send them back. The waitress and manager were very accompanying with us though. We demolished the food in short order. Which is a little change; we often have a few leftovers. We decided to close out with a dessert and a couple of coffees. We often order bread pudding if a place has it and this one had a banana bread version that was sweet and divine. A couple of minutes into dessert and the manager came back with a free dessert! A french beignets with cinnamon and sugar. Maybe it’s that free is always more tasty but they were really good. Our stomachs quite full, we left sated and satisfied. My favorite thing: The pork belly confit w/ hoisen sauce.

Ren: I’m adding to our dining tails a story mixed with utter bliss and just a pinch of woe by recalling our experience at Highland Kitchen. We were here just one time prior to starting our blog and our previous experience left us excited to return. Even on a Monday night we were told that our wait would be about 25 minutes so we headed over to the bar for pre dinner cocktails. I chose a variation on Highland Fling which was quite refreshing and prepared my palate for the tastes to follow. After a minute of near excitable discussion we were finally able to narrow our appetizers down pork belly, ricotta & mozzarella fritters, and bluefish cakes. The pork belly was succulent with a touch of crisp which was a nice surprise and twist on a dish that is usually described as juicy and tender. The other two apps were simple exquisite delights both flavorful and tender with the perfect amount of breading and cooking time. I ordered the gnocchi with short rib ragout and mussels for my entrée. Unfortunately the mussels had long past reached their prime and I alerted my server who was quick to take it away. A short minute later the manager eagerly rushed to my table to rescue the situation. In short: I had no time to be frustrated and was very pleased by how attentively they dealt with the situation that could have turned ugly. I was very satisfied with my very tender gnocchi and filled the cracks in my stomach with  bites from all my cohorts flavorful dishes. We finished the meal with superb bread pudding, a cup of coffee, and complimentary beignets which tasted a bit like mini fried dough. My favorite thing: The pork belly!

Food: Seth 8.5 Ren 8.5 Food Ave: 8.5 *Certified Dericious* Such good food, all with a hint of southern flair. Nice local food joint with Daily Specials

Service: Seth 8.5 Ren 9  Great service. When the mussels were bad, the manager came over to apologize, took them off the bill and later gave us a free dessert! Our server was good and attentive as well

Decor/Atmosphere: Seth 8 Ren 7.5  Cute place with really neat light fixtures. A blend of old school, a little southern and some hipster for good measure

Total Average: 8.333 Great food, great drinks, great service. With this comes a wait at dinner time, but it’s worth it.

One bad thing: The mussels

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Blue Inc – Quirky American

131 Broad St. Boston, MA 02110

www.blueincboston.com (617) 261-5353

*Downtown, right off the Rose Kennedy Greenway, near Rowes Warf

Seth +1 guest writer

  • –Drinks–
  • Fizzy Lifting Drink (Cocktail with fizzy salt; fun!)
  • Stone Ruination (IPA)
  • Gouden Carlos Tripel (Belgian beer)
  • –Plates–
  • Tuna Tartare w/ taro chips
  • Buffalo fried oysters w/ frozen blue cheese beads (!!)
  • Signature Honey & Hoison Glazed Duck confit w/ sweet sticky rice, mango, cashews, and coconut milk
  • Grilled Tiger Shrimp w/ lobster dumplings and fried sweet potato
  • –Dessert–
  • Creamsicle Milkshake w/ liquid Nitrogen
  • $108.07 w/ tax ($23.00 in Drinks)

 Ave. Price/Person: $30-45 w/ Drinks: $40-60

Seth: This week I am without my writing and dining partner Ren. Ably standing in is my girlfriend and often guest for these dinner, Makeda. She’ll be writing her own take; hope you enjoy. Tonight we went to Blue Inc. I’ve been here once before and enjoyed it quite a bit and tonight was no exception. The service was good right from the moment we walked in the door. The bartender was the first to notice and was sure to say hello and let the waiter know we were here. The service continued exceptionally throughout the night. From  making great recommendations, to re-folding my napkin when I left the table, to making a well-timed joke on something that happened during the dinner service. The food was no less well done. Starting with the perfectly fried oysters: they came with a little buffalo sauce on the side, as well as puréed celery and these little nitrogen frozen blue cheese drops that melted when you dipped the oysters on them. Our other appetizer was a tuna tartare with absolutely delicious tuna. It was tossed with, for what we could tell, at least seaweed, ginger some chopped onion. The fish was firm, fresh and really tasty. For my entrée, I got the grilled tiger shrimp. The shrimp couldn’t have been cooked better and they lay on a bed of well done lo-mein noodles. Also on the plate were some very nice lobster dumplings and some tempura batter fried pieces of sweet potato. This came with a phenomenal house made sweet and sour sauce of sorts that worked with all the elements on the plate. Makeda had the hoisin and honey glazed duck confit on a bed of sticky rice with mango and coconut milk. I tried a couple bites and the duck was some of the best I’ve had. The glaze cut through the fattiness of the duck really nicely and the mango was a great contrast of texture and flavor. Through dinner I had two nice beers. Anyone familiar with Stone brewery from California knows how good they can be. The Ruination is an incredibly hoppy and bold IPA with a little higher than normal ABV (alcohol by volume) count at 7.7%. Makeda had a nice cocktail that I tried a sip of. The bubbly salts on there were really neat and it was a well made drink. Their cocktail list here is really well done with some definite originals. I’d love to come back here sometime for a couple and a snack or two sometime soon. Blue Inc actually has a couple different menus. Including one just for the bar and also a late night option. Which reminds me, I have to go back to the beginning of the meal for a second. With out water when we first sat down, came these pretzel dough rolls with a ground mustard butter that was to die for. There were only one apiece and we didn’t have to eat and write about an entire meal, I think we both would have  eaten 5 of these. So good! I digress. After the entreés we decided to order dessert. They had a few good-looking options but we went with what they called a creamsicle milkshake. Not quite a milkshake but more an ice cream-less flavored drink. Don’t get me wrong; it was both tasty and neat. It came nitrogen frozen and as we broke into it, it melted down to a thinner drink. We liked it, but both decided it’s not quite appropriately titled as a milkshake. My favorite thing: Writing this now, I’m thinking of the firm, perfectly cooked tiger shrimp

Makeda:  Before I even entered Blue Inc., I was ready to dislike it. I was a given a mediocre review from a friend a few month before, but I am happy to say I was pleasantly surprised. From the moment we arrived, and throughout our entire meal the service was exceptional. As the host stand was empty when we walked in, we were immediately greeted by the bartender and quickly seated. The wait staff was attentive and friendly, which made for a great dining experience. To start the meal off a cocktail was in order; the Fizzy Lifting Drink brought me back to my childhood, flavored with cranberry and topped off with pop rocks, it was tasty with a touch of whimsy. We followed with appetizers, the tuna tartare was cut in larger chunks than I am traditionally used to which created a wonderfully rustic texture, tossed with seaweed and finely sliced onion I devoured it with my fork paying no attention to the taro chips it was served with, but I must note, they were a nice crispy addition to the plate. Our second appetizer was the buffalo oysters, this was a truly creative dish, the oysters were perfectly fried served with a celery cream, and frozen bits of blue cheese that melted down seamlessly as we ate. As we moved on to entrées the meal continued to impress me. Keeping the theme of the menu going, the duck confit was a delightful twist on a classic. The crispy skin was lightly covered in a tangy hoisin sauce that perfectly complemented the fatty duck, making a usually rich meal almost delicate. This came on a bed of sweet sticky rice with mango which together made for the perfect bite. I had to try a bite of the Tiger shrimp provoking me on Seth’s plate, and I was not disappointed, they were well seasoned and juicy. I saved room for dessert and this was the only part of meal that was even mildly disappointing. We ordered the orange creamsicle milkshake, which was yummy, but I don’t think qualifies as a milkshake, more of just a frothy cold drink. Overall I would definitely come back to Blue Inc., there were an array of enticing items on the menu that I can’t wait to try.

Food: Seth 8.5 Makeda: 8.5 Food Ave: 8.5 *Certified Dericious* Quirky, delicious, well done menu. An original cocktail list

Service: Seth 8.5 Makeda 9 Great service. Very attentive and friendly staff. I dropped my napkin at one point, he happened to notice, and came over and gave me a new one. Gave good recommendations and was generally nice.

Decor/Atmosphere: Seth 8 Makeda 8 Cute little space. Place may fit 35 people tops but doesn’t seem crowded. The bar and eating area has a little separating wall and there are mirrors on some of the walls which gives the impression of more space. Very clean and neat.

Total Average: 8.416 Good solid food, really nice service and pleasant atmosphere. Good place to take a date for dinner or go have a cocktail and a snack with some friends

One bad thing: This place was such a good entry we had to search out something bad. Our conclusion: I guess it’s the milkshake not being really what we expected