Russell House Tavern – New American

14 JFK St. Cambridge, MA 02138

www.russellhousecambridge.com (617) 500.3055

*In Harvard Sq. near the intersection of Brattle St and JFK St

Seth & Ren, +2 guests

  • –Drinks–
  • Always Sunny cocktail20130223_174513
  • My Triumphs cocktail
  • Burgundy Nights cocktail
  • Fratelli Sling
  • Pretty Things Ale
  • Racer 5
  • Irish coffee
  • –Plates–
  • Oysters (x9)
  • Braised Beef Tongue Meatballs
  • Roasted Bone Marrow
  • Steak Tartare w/ Toasted Caper Brioche and a Quail Egg Yolk
  • Small Dirty Caesar salad
  • Shredded Lamb’s Tongue Pizza w/ Preserved Lemon, Mint, Capers, Sardinian Cheese
  • Crispy Pork Belly sandwich w/ Green Curry Aioli, Pickled Carrots & Jalapenos, Mint, Cilantro, Basil Leaves
  • 16oz. 40 Day Aged Bone In NY Strip w/ Harvard Beets, Marrow Butter, Crushed Fingerlings
  • Berkshire Pork Trio w/ Herb-Grilled Loin, Confit Belly and Smoked Shoulder with Anson Mills Grits and Sauce Vinegar
  • –Desserts–
  • Sticky Toffee Pudding
  • $231.66 w/ tax ($66 in Drinks)

Seth: After finding out about this place from an experience with the chef we made reservations and took the Red line out to Cambridge. We were sat immediately at a round 20130223_181408table for four. We ordered our cursory first round of drinks and started picking our appetizers to share. We split the steak tartare, roasted bone marrow and beef tongue meatballs. Ever since Cragie on the Main I’m a fan of the marrow. On a nice toast it was rich and a great start. Ren, Makeda and I split 9 oysters and we ordered our entrees. I went with the Crispy Pork Belly sandwich as I don’t think I could have really chosen anything else. I wasn’t disappointed as the aoili and pickled veggies made for something incredible. John’s streak was as an aged steak should be. Cooked nicely too. Makeda’s lamb tongue pizza had a richness to it that was enjoyable and finally Ren’s pork trio was excellent. The confit belly and smoked shoulder were especially well done. After the first cocktail, I followed up with a delicious Pretty Things beer and we ordered one dessert to split. The pudding was ok but not really what we were expecting. We took our time here, the waitress great a fantastic job and we had one of our better meals in a while. Well worth a visit. My favorite thing: my pork belly sandwich

Ren: An excursion the previous week filled with delicious lamb at the Lamb Jam in the Charles Hotel lead us to discover the Russell House Tavern; the winner of the evening. Thus we decided to venture there this week for our blog night. It was an excellent discovery. I started the evening of with a ferenet cocktail to prepare my stomach. Then for20130223_183559 our appetizers we ordered steak tartar, bone marrow, caesar salad, and beef tongue meatballs. Our waitress also brought us the deep-fried broiled eggs. Everything was incredible and well prepared especially the meatballs which melted in my mouth and were deliciously cheesy. For my entrée I ordered the pork three ways which was shoulder, loin, and confit belly over grits topped with arugula. It was truly amazing one of the best dishes I have had in a while. The best part was the confit belly which had a slight crisp on the outside and tender melt in your mouth center. The grits were a perfect pair that acted like a sauce. The only defect in my eyes was the pile of arugula on the top of the dish which I thought should have been more of a garnish the a salad on top of the dish. The steak John ordered was well cooked and tender, Seth’s sandwich was juicy and flavorful, and Makeda’s pizza I though lacked flavor dynamic but was still good.  We finished the evening with a toffee pudding which was ok but more like a bread pudding and not exactly what we expected. I also had a Irish coffee which is my favorite finish way to an evening. My favorite thing: The incredible pork belly confit was truly out if this world. Russell House Tavern is really worth a visit

Food: Seth 8.5 Ren 8.5 Food Average: 8.5 *Certified Dericious* Great meal all around with original uses of ingredients and attention to detail

20130223_183606Service: Seth 8.5 Ren 8.5 Our waitress made good recommendations, she brought us a free plate when she notice how much we enjoyed the others, and our napkins were folded when we left our seats. Great Service

Decor/Atmosphere: Seth 8 Ren 8 There’s the ground level bar then the dining area is one floor down. A little darker there with a nice atmosphere. Nice place for a first date or friends gathering

Total Average: 8.333 Tasty food, nice place, good service. Next time you’re in Harvard Sq check this place out.

One bad thing: Perhaps the misstep with the dessert

Tupelo – Modern Southern

1193 Cambridge St. Cambridge, MA 02139

www.tupelo02139.com (617) 868.0004

*In Inman Sq. in Cambridge at the intersection of Cambridge and Tremont St

Seth & Ren, +3 guests

  • –Drinks–
  • Cote du Rhone
  • Abita Amber
  • Monk’s Blood
  • Ommegang
  • Peak Organic x2
  • Abita Turbodog
  • zombie killer
  • Mulled Red Wine
  • –Plates–
  • Fried Oysters w/ Tabasco aioli and house pickles
  • Pork Belly Corn Dog(!!!) *Night Special*
  • Triple-Fried Chicken wings *Night Special*
  • Deep fried Crispy Grits squares
  • Small Cajun Gumbo w/ pulled chicken, fresh okra and smoked andouille sausage
  • Southern Fried Chicken w/ hominy mashed potatoes, collard greens and pickled red cabbage
  • Crawfish Chowder *Night Special*
  • BBQ Pulled Pork w/ collard greens and hominy mashed potatoes
  • The King’s Favorite Meatloaf w/ jalapeño mac&cheese, collard greens and pan gravy
  • Texas Style Beef Chili w/ cheddar cheese, sour cream and pickled jalapeño peppers
  • –Dessert–
  • Apple-Pear-Cranberry Pie
  • Mississippi Mud Pie
  • $211.86 w/tax ($65 in Drinks)

Average Price/Person: $20-30 w/ Drinks: $30-45

Seth: Back out to Cambridge we went to check out some Southern food this week. Our search had put us to this location as well as a spot on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. We had a reservation and arrived a little late but was promptly sat. Our server was energetic and excited about our dinner. We decided on splitting four appetizers and got our first round of drinks. I had Peaks organic first and was especially excited about the Pork Belly Corn Dog(!!!). When it came it was delicious but the pork wasn’t as tender as I was hoping for. The oysters and wings were really good and I liked the originality of the deep-fried grits squares. For my entrée I decided on the meatloaf. It had good flavor and was tender enough. The accompanying collard greens were perfect and the mac & cheese was good though reminiscent of Velveeta. Bites of the Southern fried chicken highlighted the tasty crust and the Chili was good spicy, nice and hearty and flavorful. Ren’s BBQ pulled pork was cooked well and with one of the pickles proved an enjoyable mouthful. I had a another beer as I finished off my dinner and once again, though quite full, we decided on splitting a couple of desserts. I really liked the pie, which had a fantastic crumble on top. The Mississippi mud pie was decadence and too much for me after a couple small bites. My favorite thing: Either the pulled pork or those fried oysters

Ren: The smell of BBQ and the yearn for grits brought us over to Tupelo in Inman Square. Southern style comfort food is just what we needed to warm our bellies and incite conversation. I started the meal with a delicious Saison. For appetizers we split a pork belly corn dog, deep-fried grits, triple fried wings, and fried oysters. Everything was incredibly delicious, succulent and paired with excellent sauces. For my entrée I chose the bbq pulled pork with collard greens and hominy mashed potatoes paired with a cherry mead. The collard greens were the best I have ever had and the rest was pretty good. Everyone else’s dish was very good especially John’s craw fish chowder with Gruyère biscuits. We ended the meal with a slice of cranberry apple pie and a slice of mud pie. Both were a little sweet for me but definitely tasty so I ordered a glass of mulled wine to finish my meal. Tupelo is definitely worth a visit for anyone looking for delicious southern food. My favorite thing: the wonderful crawfish chowder

Food: Seth 8.5 Ren 8.5 Food Average:  8.5 *Certified Dericious* Delicious appetizers, great concepts of the food, some Southern classics and some modern updates. Execution on a few dishes fell a little short, but awesome overall

Service: Seth 8.5 Ren 8.5 Our server was friendly, original and gave us as much advice and recommendations as we asked for, plus some. The service was timely and he worked with our requests for timing and bill splitting

Decor/Atmosphere: Seth 7.5 Ren 8.5 A cute little place in Inman Sq. Good place for a date. I’m glad they took reservations as the place was pretty filled up. Decor on the walls was well done

Total Average: 8.333 Really good food, fantastic service and another great Date Night spot

One bad thing: A couple of food execution errors. The Southern Fried Chicken was a little over done and the Chowder may not have been seasoned as well as it could have been

Union Bar & Grille – South End Eatery

1357 Washington St. Boston, MA 02118

www.unionrestaurant.com (617) 423.0555

*On Washington St in the South End between Union Park and Waltham St

Seth & Ren, +4 guests

  • –Drinks–
  • Kona Firerock
  • Scottish Daisy
  • RW Red Wine
  • Southern Tier Double IPA
  • Verano de Amor x2
  • Ethereal Gin x2
  • American Classic
  • Berkshire Brew
  • RW White wine x2
  • Truffle Martini
  • Bourbon Flip
  • Anchor Steam beer
  • –Plates–
  • PEI Mussels
  • Grilled Flank Steak w/ Salt Baked Fingerlings, Marinated Zucchini Salad x2
  • New England Clam Bake w/ Grilled Corn, Red Bliss Potatoes
  • Tuna Tartare
  • Grilled brandt flank steak w/ chimichurri sauce, hand cut fries, pea shoot salad
  • Crispy calamari w/ “green goddess” aioli, pickled fresno peppers
  • Lobster cavatelli w/ heirloom zucchini, tiny tomatoes, basil & creme fraiche
  • IPA grilled chicken w/ chorizo cornbread, baby carrots, ketuckey bourbon sauce
  • Sweet Corn Fritters w/ Rock Crab Salad, Coriander Aioli x2
  • –Desserts–
  • Toasted S’more x2
  • Chocolate & hazelnut terrine w/ creme fraiche sabayon & salty caramel
  • Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee
  • Tasting of artisan cheeses w/ fresh fruit, toasted baguette
  • $327.00 w/tax ($107.50 in Drinks)

Average Price/Person: $30-45 w/ Drinks: $50-70

*Note: This was a restaurant week stop with 3 of us taking part that brought down the cost by at least $40.*

Seth: Off to the South End for Restaurant Week to a place we’d been before but never got to review on here. My friend Ryan and his girlfriend Jen came to join the normal crowd of the 4 of us. We made a reservation the day before and when we arrived we were sat in a circle high-back booth. We poured over the special menu and  half of us stuck to it while the rest went with the regular one. We all started with a round of drinks before picking out each of our appetizers, main courses and desserts. My tuna tartare was a little under-whelming but tasty; not as much flavor as I was hoping for. I tried a mussel that had a great sauce and the calamari was really tasty with a great dipping sauce. Next came the perfectly cooked flank steak with a chimichurri sauce that was quite tasty. John’s cod was cooked perfectly as well and had great flavor. Desserts were last and my S’more was ok. Not enough graham cracker and the I think it would have been better with the chocolate softened or melted. A pretty good meal, with good company and an all around enjoyable evening. I’d like to get back here again some time. Maybe I’ll take my fiancée here on a date soon. My favorite thing: The bite of calamari I grabbed

Ren: We took a hop, a skip, and a jump right into the chic booths of Union Bar & Grill this week for the ever tempting restaurant week menu. Though only three out of the six of us ordered off the special menu as some were lured by delicious regular menu items. This was my third visit to this dining establishment and I’ll have to say probably my least favorite visit; though it was still quite an excellent experience. I started my evening with a drink called a new American Classic that contained bourbon, bubbles, and bitters (a delightful combination). My first course was corn fritters topped with crab; a decent beginning, though I thought my boyfriends mussels was the tastiest appetizer on the table. My entrée was the steak with fingerling potatoes and zucchini paired with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. The dish was decent, the meat perfectly cooked but a little over salty. I wasn’t wowed by anyone else’s entrée though my boyfriend’s fish was excellently cooked. I topped off my evening with a cheese platter and a bourbon flip both were extremely delightful and made for a perfect end to the evening. My third experience to this restaurant leads me to think fish and cocktails  is definitely what they do well and everything else is fairly average. My favorite thing: The well paired cheese plate

Food: Seth 7 Ren 7.5 Food Average: 7.5 We’ve been here before and it was tastier then. Still good tonight, some unique takes on dishes

Decor/Atmosphere: Seth 8.5 Ren 8.5 Great round booths that fit our party of six. Nice decorations and a vibe that was comfortable and trendy

Service: Seth 8.5 Ren 8.5 Service was attentive. The waiter was on his toes and accommodating as a busy Restaurant Week had a few items out of stock.

Total Average: 8.083 A great place to take a date. Better than average food that may have missed a half-step due to the business of Restaurant Week. Still worth a check

One bad thing: Ren and Makeda’s steak was a bit over salted and the potatoes under-seasoned