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

Teranga – South End Senegalese

1746 Washington St. Boston, MA 02118

www.terangaboston.com (617) 266.0003

*In the South End, on the corner of Washington St and Massachusetts Ave

Seth & Ren, +4 guests

  • –Drinks–
  • Bouye juice
  • Tusker x4 (Kenyan beer)
  • Grimbergen Double x2 (Belgian beer)
  • Steinlager classic x2 (New Zealand beer)
  • –Plates–
  • Croquettes de poisson (Pan fried fish cake served w/ cilantro and garlic sauce)
  • Nems (Spring rolls stuffed w/ chopped chicken, ground beef, rice vermicelli, grated carrots, scallions, and dried mushrooms served w/ nuoc mam dressing)
  • Brochettes de Crevettes (Marinated grilled shrimp on skewers w/ sriracha sauce!)
  • Michoui (Marinated roasted lamb shank w/ caramelized onion sauce and Moroccan couscous)
  • Coquelet Braisé (Citrus & garlic marinated grilled Cornish hen served w/ vermicelli)
  • Dibi (Grilled marinated lamb shoulder chops w/ a pickled-onion and mustard sauce served with sweet potato fries)
  • Brochettes (Grilled skewered cubes of filet mignon served w/ yucca fries and homemade honey-mustard sauce)
  • Thiébou Yap (Seasoned lamb cubes cooked w/ mixed vegetables and served w/ broken jasmine rice)
  • Yassa Guinaar (Marinated grilled chicken cooked in a lemon and caramelized onion sauce and served w/ jasmine rice)
  • Side of Plantains
  • –Dessert–
  • Beignets Dougoup (Crispy fried millet donut mixed with vanilla bean and orange flower water served w/ crème anglaise sauce)
  • $188.50 w/tax ($47 in Drinks)

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

Seth: Always trying to keep with a rotating variety of cuisines, we made our way to the South End again. This time for something we hadn’t done yet: Senegalese food. I arrived after the rest of our party had already sat; a little late from class. I ordered a drink and dived into the menu. Ren had suggestions on appetizers and I thought they all looked great. With 6 of us there tonight we decided on 3 different ones and each got a small bite. Everything was impressive so far and I was looking forward to my lamb. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m always a little nervous on the lamb because it can so easily be overcooked. I was able to request it medium-rare which I was excited about. My Dibi (see above receipt) arrived cooked perfectly!! So excited. The sweet potato fries that came with were good as was the delicious dipping sauce. I grabbed bites of everyone else’s dishes and wasn’t disappointed anywhere. Mike’s Thiébou Yap had an excellent sauce to it and Makeda’s Cornish Hen was cooked just right. The whole table had that excited vibe to it as we all demolished everything on our plates. I’m pretty sure there was a scrap of food remaining on anyone’s plate. Given it was a late dinner and we were all hungry, but that was a good meal. Nothing of real note on the dessert. My favorite thing: My perfect lamb chop

Ren: A longing for exotic and new tastes brought us to Teranga a traditional Senegalese restaurant owned by a former Chopped contestant. We started the evening off with
croquettes de poisson: fish cakes, Nems: spring rolls, and Brochettes de Crevettes: shrimp skewers. Every single bite delighted my senses and left me wanting for more: a shame I had to share with five other people. I washed the appetizers down with a delightfully refreshing Kenyan beer called a Tusker while I longingly awaited my entrée. After a wait my Michoui and Moroccan couscous arrived. As it was placed on the table my eyes widened and stomach growled. It was one of the most beautiful looking dishes I’ve seen in a while and also one of the tastiest. The lamb literally melted in my mouth and the couscous was perfectly cooked and perfectly paired. I am seriously coming back for seconds of this dish! Everyone else’s dish was also incredibly delightful, rich, and full of flavor. I absolutely loved the array of delicious sauces that came with the meals. I washed dinner down with a refreshing Steinlager beer from New Zealand. We then decided to finish the meal with a variation on the beignets which I’ll have to say while not bad were probably the least exciting part of the night. All in all I would absolutely recommend this place to anyone; in fact I would insist on a visit. My favorite thing: the jaw dropping delicious lamb shank.

Food: Seth 8.5 Ren 9 Food Ave: 8.75 *Certified Dericious* Original, fabulous and delicious African food. You must come and try this place soon.

Decor/Atmosphere: Seth 8 Ren 7.5 A cute little place with a good vibe. We went on a week night and we stayed late, ending up the last ones out of the place by ten

Service: Seth 7 Ren 7 The service started well with good recommendations and attitude. The a few slip ups were noticed with missed orders and such. The end was a little rough with splitting up our order (we did mention this in the beginning of the meal) and paying. My bill was actually switched with Ren’s and we had to work it out on our own

Total Average: 7.833 Excellent food and cute place. A good date spot. Had the service been consistent this would have been a contender for our top 5

One bad thing: Perhaps the few missteps with the service

 

Petit Robert Bistro – French Lite

1414 Commonwealth Ave. Brighton, MA 02134

www.petitrobertbistro.com (617) 274-8687

*On the eastbound side of Commonwealth Ave near the intersection of Kelton Street

Seth & Ren, +2 guests

  • –Drinks–
  • Franziskaner (German beer)
  • Imperial Red IPA
  • Magners Apple cider
  • Cremant champagne
  • Bottle of Sipp Mack Pinot Blanc, Alsace 2007 
  • –Plates–
  • Sliced red beet and goat cheese salad
  • Creamy lobster bisque
  • Soupe à l’Onion Gratinée
  • Trio of Homemade Patés with assorted Condiments
  • Cape Cod Oysters on the Half Shell with Mignonette Sauce
  • Six Escargots Bourguignon
  • Fried Mashed Potato Croquettes
  • Sautéed Scallops over Mushroom Risotto
  • Boston Bouillabaisse with Hake, Baby Clams, Mussels, Bay Scallop and Shrimp
  • Beef Short Rib Bourguignon and Roasted Potato
  • Baked wild trout with a butter sauce
  • –Desserts–
  • Mousse au Chocolat with Langue de chat x2
  • Vanilla Crème Brûlée with Palmier Cookie
  • One Giant Profiterole with Vanilla Ice Cream and Fudge Sauce
  • $207.59 w/ tax ($62.52 in drinks) Had a 4 person Groupon that made it $100.72

Ave Price/Person: $45-55 w/ Drinks: $55-75

Seth: Came across a Groupon for four people that included an appetizer, entrée and dessert apiece. Having been to the Kenmore Sq location previously and enjoying it quite a bit, I thought this would be a great place this week. While none of the food was bad, almost none of it was what we expected. Especially given their higher price. As you can see in some of the photos the extra few seconds of attention were not given the plates just to make the presentation a little nicer. Each of us picked out an appetizer each and added a couple more. I picked the beet salad. The cheese was nice along with the drizzling of balsamic. The beets didn’t seem as fresh or firm as they should have been. Ren and I had two oysters each. They were tasty enough. Perakis had the bisque which I tried and really liked its richness. Makeda’s patés were incredibly rich and quite. Sharing them among the four of us we still were not quite able to completely finish them. Ren’s onion soup was rich and nice and the escargots, while inexplicably green, were pretty good. There were a side of fried mashed potato croquetts were really good with a crunchy exterior. My entrée was the sautéed scallops over a mushroom risotto. The scallops were cooked perfectly and had great flavor to them. The risotto was ok. I think the last batch Makeda and I made was better.  Perakis’ trout was cooked well, Ren’s Bourguignon nicely flavored. Makeda liked her Bouillabaisse well enough, but thought most the seafood items were a little over cooked. We closed out with a dessert apiece. I really liked my Crème Brûlée. It had that perfect thin sugar crust to it and ended up sharing a bunch of bites to the others. Makeda and Ren really liked their Mousse and Perakis’ Profiterole was really big with a really nice chocolate sauce on it. I doubt I’ll be back to this particular location but I think I’d like to compare the Downtown location some day. My favorite thing: The perfectly cooked scallops.

Ren: One delightful discount via groupon tempted us over to Brookline for some french cuisine this week. Though I’ll have to note that the cuisine itself was less than delightful. One of our dining guests remarked that it was more like french lite. A suiting title for french food that was just a smidge over average and lacking in buttery rich flavors that we have come to expect from Parisian dishes.  My french onion soup appetizer managed to be weak in flavor and strong in onion presence. The escargot lacked enough butter and garlic but the oysters were delightful and my friends trio of pates finally gave my taste buds the richness they desired. My beef short rib bourguignon entrée was the biggest disappointment mostly due to presentation with broccoli cut far to large and average tasting beef. Surprise, surprise the wine pared with our meal also seems to lite on flavor. My chocolate mousse finish was good but just a little too sweet for me.  All in all the food wasn’t bad just a little under rich and a little over priced. My favorite thing: The fresh tasty oysters.

Food: Seth 7.5 Ren 6.5 Food Ave: 7 Some good food, some decent food. Not really worth the price.

Decor/Atmosphere: Seth 7 Ren 6.5 The waiters/manager spoke a little French. The decor didn’t really live up to what they were charging. Not a bad little place though

Service: Seth 8 Ren 7.5 The waiter was good.  A little new perhaps. Plates were taken and waters refilled often. They worked with us when we needed to rush the last little bit and get out of there.

Total Average: 7.167 I’ve heard better things about their Downtown location and I’ve been to their Kenmore Sq location so this spot was a little bit of a disappointment. For a French place it had too much Americanization to it. For the quality it was too expensive. As a group we felt we had spent too much even with the Groupon cost.

One bad thing: The price to quality point