Fourth and final stop for Summer Restaurant Week 2011, tear. Much like Harvest, I heard this Cambridge eatery was a must-try so I crossed the river yet again to see if it was worth the drive…
Bread: The iron bread basket came with small slices of white along with herb bread sticks. On the side was a small square dish of pesto EVOO with grated parmesan. I always prefer EVOO to butter, and it’s even better with a cheesy twist.
Menu: EVOO regularly has a 3-course pre-fixe menu that changes daily, as well as a few staples that remain consistent on the menu. The Restaurant Week menu was in fact their standard daily pre-fixe (but for $33 instead of $42) so we had about 6-8 options per course. For Starters I was stuck because there were too many temptations to choose from (salad with nutty granola crunch & creamy yogurt dressing.. gazpacho with all the fixings.. smoked rabbit.. the list goes on!). Deciding on an Entrée wasn’t any easier…
Pate with Jam, Pickled Fiddleheads, Dijon Mustard, and Crostini
I’ve had pate once or twice and it was when I was in Italy last year. I think there needs to be a general food rule that whatever you eat in Italy is going to be 10 times better than its counterpart in the US. Nothing against EVOO, but the pate I’ve had in the past was a smooth creamy spread, and this was more like a minced meat medley. It wasn’t bad, especially after I spread in on the bread with all the accompaniments. Glad I tried a fiddlehead though!
Braised Lamb Croquette with Roasted Eggplant Puree, Purslane, Pickled Cauliflower, Kalamata Olives, Mint and Lemon Cream
Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture, but it wouldn’t have done it justice anyways. The lamb was flash fried, crispy on the outside but more importantly tender on the inside. I wish there was more eggplant puree but I think that was more of a garnish. This dish definitely made up for my faulty appetizer order.
Chocolate-Banana Bread Pudding with Warm Buttermilk Caramel
Oh wow. The bread pudding was sitting in a shallow pool of warm caramel (my dream come true!) and topped with powdered sugar. Heavy and so rich, I could only eat about ¼ of it. But really amazing.
Blueberry-Peach Crisp with Almond-Oat Topping and Sour Cream Ice Cream
Thank God mom got this b/c I was torn between the bread pudding and this dessert. I love anything “crisp” and this wasn’t any different. The warm fruit was covered with the almond-oat crisp and topped off with cool ice cream. I love fruit but the crisp can make or break the dessert and this was really excellent.
Nectarine-Basil Sorbet with Randy’s Lime Sugar Cookies
Dad opted for the sorbet which was 3 scoops in an old-fashioned ice cream soda glass. I love when they have interesting flavors (ahem, pay attention Aragosta!) and basil fro yo/sorbet happens to be a favorite of mine. I enjoyed it, but the other 2 were more up my alley.
Bathroom: Cool tones with blue tiled walls and dark grey countertop. There were 3 or 4 stalls that weren’t pretty enough to take a picture of. Nothing super fancy but I liked the mirrors!
Service: Our waiter was essentially the encyclopedia of EVOO. I knew it was a “farm-to-table” restaurant but he was able to describe each meal from soup to nuts: how/where the meat was raised, how it was cooked, how it was prepared etc etc etc. Very impressive and knowledgeable. Mom thought he was slightly impatient with her hundreds of questions – the menu had a lot of uncommon terms/foods – but I think he handled it just fine!
Overall: After my first visit I can confirm that EVOO is known for their exotic meats and the way they’re prepared (and the pickling of any vegetable!). It’s definitely a popular spot – the bar/lounge area was packed by 6pm. I’d tell you to check the menu before making a trip to Cambridge only because it’s not a typical chicken/beef/white fish kind of place. But if you’re adventurous with your food choices then EVOO is a must!
The Perfect Bite: I’ve never had lamb prepared that way before. Topped with some eggplant puree, really excellent! But I do need to say that the 1st two desserts mentioned were to die for.