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Saturday night at OM in Cambridge

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We decided to give OM in Cambridge a try after checking out their web site. We had a reservation for six oclock so when we arrived we were immediately shown to our table. The restaurant and the bar had very few people when we arrived and when we left at around eight it was still less than half full. This could have been because it was Labor Day weekend and lots of people were out of town. Anyway, here is my report of the good and bad about the place.

Atmosphere:

Very nice atmosphere. The place is decorated with numerous Buddhas which are spaced along the walls of the restaurant in lighted alcoves. There are Tibetan paintings on some of the walls and the ceiling creating an overall pleasant and somewhat exotic dining space. The table are well spaced and even though the floors are bare wood the noise level wasn't bad at all.

My DC also rates restaurants on their restrooms and she proclaimed the ladies room at OM as one of the best in terms of cleanliness and decor.

Service:

In spite of reviews of Om on other sites that criticized the service our waiter and the others that supported him couldn't have been more professional. He ofered good information about the various menu selections as well as the the wines and cocktails. He was attentive and professional without being pretentious or overbearing.

Cocktails & Wines

I had a pomegranite (sp?) Old Fashion to start. It was perfectly mixed and tasted wonderful. The waiter told us that they use Knobb Creek bourbon and instead of the traditional maraschino cherry they us dried cherries that they macerate in brandy. Overall a very nice take on a classic cocktail that you don't see much anymore. The wine list was adequate with a number of imported and domestic offerings across a wide price range.

The Food:

The menu is somewhat limited in choices with roughly 8 appetiser and about the same number of entrees. We thought the portions served were very small when considering the prices. I had a hamachi appetisers that consisted of about 5 very small and thin pieces of hamachi sashimi with a small splash of chilli based sauce on the side. The fish was extremly fresh and tasted good but for $12.00 I thought is was a very skimpy portion. For an entree I had the Escolar which was described as a Pacific fish from close to Japan. In Japan I think this fish would be called Buri but I am not sure what the English name is. There were three medallions of the fish perfectly cooked and beautifully presented along with a grilled prawn, a tempura squash blossom and a sauce made from mentaiko (spicy fish roe). The combination was wonderful but again the portion seemed very small for $25.00. My DC had the deconstructed Ceasar Salad which was a fresh heart of romaine, a coddled egg in the shell, a few fried anchovies, a few croutons and a few shavings of parmesan cheese. The idea was you cut up the lettuce and mixed it all toegther yourself. My DC rated it as just OK. Her entree was the a vegetarian dish that consisted of a small chunk of marinated tofu (which was extremly salty because of being marinated in soy sauce or tamari)a square of black rice and a few veggies. She rated this as so-so at best.

For dessert I tried the Tea and Chocolate which was very very good. My DC had a fruit tart which again she described as just OK.

My overall impression of the food was could be summed up as (1) high quality and fresh ingredients (2) very nice presentation (3)some very good and some just so-so dishes and (4) very small portions.

With one cocktail, three glasses of wine, the appetisers, entrees and desserts along with one espresso and two after dinner cognacs the check before tip was slightly over $200.00. We are very accustomed to fine dining and don't mind paying for high quality food but we both felt the value for the money just wasn't there at OM.

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  1. That about sums up my experience with the place as well. Very small portions at every course.

    In addition, I found that although the menu had very intrincate sounding dishes, none of them were particularly exciting once you realized what they really were. I rarely have a hard time finding anything I want to try on the menu, and that was a bit my case there.

    1. I wonder if you had the same waiter as I did when I went: he was very helpful and very quickly, gracefully and expertly was able to anticipate things we needed and how uninterested we were in hearing about what farm in Italy made the cheese or whatever. Of the new places in Harvard Square I must say I really like except for the price.

      I also had the Power Shake drink when I went, liked it a lot.

      1. we went over the summer for my husband's birthday, and I have to say it was incredibly disappointing. I thought the decor was trying to be hip but not quite making it, service was amateur, food was okay but far from great - flavors were just not that exciting (I also had the hamachi and the escolar; my husband had the steak and eggs and the egg was overcooked). I don't mind spending a lot of money for a great dinner, but for the $200 bill here, I will not ever be returning.

        1. I went for brunch a few weeks ago. The food was good, but we were the ONLY ones in the entire restaurant at 11am on a Sunday.

          The one oddity was the server would NOT fill the coffee cups all the way. We repeatedly asked him to fill it to the top and he smiled and filled it only half way. Very odd and uncomfortable. It was almost as if he was thinking "at Om, we insist you only get a 1/2 cup at a time."

          Oh well. Won't be returning soon.

          1. Gotta say, after two excellent experiences there very early in the year, our last meal there a few weeks ago was similarly disappointing. Apparently Rachel Klein was at some kind of promotional event and not in the kitchen. Given the widely reported inconsistency, I wonder if the quality control is not up to par in her absence.

            BK