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OBSESSED with West Side Lounge, gnocchi and homemade doughnut holes

t
tommy Dec 4, 2001 03:11 AM

Hi all-
Made multiple trips to West Side Lounge in Cambridge this past weekend, to sheer delight. had a late dinner on saturday night there, with roommates, and we were reminded about how quality this place is. I can't say enough about the gnocchi dish w/ arugula and tomato-fairly simple seeming, but the gnocchi were simply ethereal-they really did just melt in your mouth. the centro da tavola, an appetizer sampler was solid, with some bruschetta topped with olive tapanade and some with smoked eggplant and goat cheese...the butternut squash soup my buddy dan had was also top-shelf. Small menu, but they really seem to focus on making each dish wonderful...

so, i decided to go to brunch the next day, which was pretty reasonable, i must say. i had to start out with homemade warm doughnut holes (which i saw on the menu the night before), one topped with rich bittersweet chocolate, the others were cinnamon sugar. fresh berries were a pleasant touch. my sister had french toast that was also solid-the bread kept its form, didn't get soggy, and they had a "jack daniels butter" that gave the french toast a real uniqueness to it. a bit of a lemony flavor to it too that sparked it a bit. finally, i had the pasta special which was a penne in a duck confit cream sauce topped with baby asparagus and cherry tomatoes. great balance of herbs and pepper in the sauce as well. it was a shame that i left any remnants of that sauce on my plate (not to say i didn't devour the whole thing, which i certainly did).

portions are healthy, laid back and classy atmosphere (for the longest time i figured that it would be pretentious as hell), REALLY good music selection (miles davis for brunch, i think it was old iggy pop at night), nice wine list (they also make pretty good cocktails, if that's your thing). with the quality of everything and their overall demeanor they just give off a great vibe--great for any occasion.

so hungry right now.
-tommy

  1. v
    vivacious D Dec 4, 2001 03:36 AM

    I must admit that the food at Westside can be great at times, although I have had some pretty mediocre experiences. I used to go a long time ago when they had Tim Partridge from East Coast Grill as their chef (he now owns Perdix in JP which is an awesome restaurant and an entire new category) But the Westside has changed chefs three times since then I hear. I hope it is much improved...the atmosphere has been dismal when I have gone in though. I sometimes feel like I'm eating in a morgue.

    1. j
      Joanie Dec 4, 2001 06:57 AM

      Sounds good. I'm finally going tonite after meaning to try it forever. But I don't understand the "ease up on the morphine drip" comment. If Tommy were hitting the morphine too much, I don't think he'd be this excited about the restaurant.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Joanie
        v
        Viviacious D Dec 4, 2001 05:20 PM

        The restaurant is the morphine drip...not the reviewer. Sorry about the mix-up. I don't mean to bad mouth the place, I simply had a so-so experience and the atmosphere was kind of depressing.

        1. re: Viviacious D
          t
          tommy Dec 5, 2001 01:00 AM

          hehe-yes, it would actually be crack rock that i'm on...but i digress...

          -t

          1. re: Viviacious D
            j
            Joanie Dec 5, 2001 07:17 AM

            Well, I went early last nite and it wasn't jumping but it got relatively busy for a Tues. nite. I like the feel of the room, comfy seats, nice bar. Didn't pay attention to that back area. My meal was okay, not great. Got jumbo sea scallops ($18) with slivered carrots and zucchini on top of some round grain. The scallops were decent but had some grit and the sauce was too oily. A problem I've had a lot recently. My friend got roast chicken, I only tasted his polenta which was good. Good bread w/ olive oil. The best part was the choc. bread pudding for dessert. Nice waitress, prices were $16-21 (with a couple specials at $21 and 23), nice atmosphere. Decent, esp. if you're in the neighborhood (which I seldom am).

            BTW, didn't Tim Partridge leave that place shortly after it opened?

            1. re: Joanie
              s
              Seth Ditchik Dec 5, 2001 04:15 PM

              The kitchen at the West Side had a revolving door for a while; first Tom Tenuta, then Partridge, and I think one other chef before the current one. Haven't been there since opening night, but I hear that the place is very bar-driven.

              1. re: Seth Ditchik
                j
                JCooper Dec 11, 2001 04:30 PM

                I lived around the corner until a few months ago and it is definitely a bar-oriented place. It's good for drinks if you live near by, but that's about it. I don't think the food is worth traveling across town for.

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