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Jul 16, 2007 07:25 AM

Gargoyles on the Square review (long)

We had a lovely dinner with the in-laws on Friday at Gargoyles on the Square in Davis Square in Somerville.

To start, I had the “Slow Cooked Kurobuta Bacon” It was damn good. The plate arrived with a hunk of bacon, the size of a small filet mignon. I've seen entrees smaller than the size of this appetizer. It wasn't anything like a traditional strip of bacon, but more like a pork tenderloin, braised gently and covered in a crispy skin. It reminded me of the bacon and scallop appetizer I had at 51 Lincoln for my birthday. That bacon was a single perfect bacon bite, this was a bacon steak. Hubby got baby calamari stuffed with It was okay, a little bland in flavor. It was my least favorite out of all the apps. My mother-in-law got the Buttermilk Fried Chicken “Oysters”, it came with a red velvet waffle. Nothing like chicken and waffles. The red velvet waffle was interesting, as I think they may have just used a red velvet cake batter in a waffle iron. The chicken, despite being white meat, was flavorful and fried well. My father-in-law had Thai curry mussels. The mussels were tender, but I didn't try the curry sauce so I can't really give a full opinion on this one. The portions on all the apps were huge

On to the entrees. . .MIL had the “signature” Hoisin & Honey Glazed Duck Confit, FIL had the Grilled Kobe Skirt Steak, Hubby had a Veal Steak and I ordered the Grilled Rare Tuna. Everyone's entree came, except for mine, and when it did show up, it was the chicken. I let the waiter know that I had ordered the tuna and he left the chicken for me to nibble on while I waited for the tuna. I seldom order chicken in restaurants. I hate white meat chicken, I think it's dry and tasteless. Plus, I can roast a mean chicken, so why go to a nice restaurant and order something I can do more to my liking at home? But this chicken was surprisingly decent, the breast side was still a little dry, but the dark meat was tender, moist and infused with smoky flavor. It's a good thing my tuna arrived when it did, or else I would have finished the dark meat.

The skirt steak entree was my favorite, it was tender, and so flavorful. The best part is it came with waffle fries! I love waffle fries! I kept sneaking them off of my FIL’s plate. The duck was also excellent; on par with the duck at Icarus. Hubby's veal steak and my tuna were both good, but, nothing special.

We got two desserts to share; Butterscotch cake with black truffle ice cream, and a trio of creme burlees; amaretto, bailey's and grand marnier. The black truffle ice cream was unique, as Hubby put it: “it was like eating ice cream, with an aftertaste of dirt.” I tried to convince him that it was “earthy,” to which he countered, “and what is the earth made of?” Touche. The burlees had nice flavor, but the consistency of the custard was too liquidy for me. I don't want my creme burlee to drip off my spoon.

I really enjoyed our meal, service was good (other than the entree mix-up, but I didn't mind) and refreshingly generous portions. The only thing that was strange was how empty the restaurant was. We were there from 7-9:30 and there were never more than 4 other tables. I know it's the slow summer season, but on a friday night?

Gargoyles On the Square
219 Elm Street, Somerville, MA 02144

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  1. Nice review, thanks. I never eat in the dining room at Gargoyles. Was the bar hopping?

    I have to say your service sounds more than a little flakey to me. Ooops, I'll leave the wrong order here for you to eat while I get your real order? I guess it's better than sitting there making your companions feel wierd about digging in, but that's a new one one me.

    And the brulee should never have been drippy. Do they have a seperate pastry chef? Sounds like the place is inconsistent when Jason is away.

    3 Replies
    1. re: yumyum

      They do have a separate pastry chef; John's been there for awhile, and desserts have dramatically gotten better once Jason arrived. However, I've found the same thing at times with their creme brulee - often too runny. I think they're heating it up under a broiler (?) vs. caramelizing the top with a blow torch. Either that, or the creme brulee is left out at room temp for too long, and the caramelization thins it out even more.

      1. re: LindaWhit

        I work at Gargoyles & I can confirm that they use a blow torch.

        1. re: betta

          OK, thanks for that info, betta. Perhaps whoever is torching it needs to leave it in the fridge until it's ready to go out and be torched. :-)

    2. That duck entree is one of my all time favorite duck preparations. I haven't been over there yet this summer, anyone know if OP's view of tumbleweeds was a fluke or is the place really slowing down? One of my go-to standby favorite places, I'd hate to see it on the decline. I would imagine (or hope) the sacrificial chicken was.... offered.. to OP and not just left there? Being left babysitting an error, without consent, is not ideal.

      3 Replies
      1. re: blacknbleu

        I was recently at Gargoyles for the first time and had the duck and loved it! The skin was so crispy and the meat tender and flavorful.

        1. re: blacknbleu

          No, the server asked if I wanted to keep the chicken while I waited, for which I was grateful, because while we were waiting for the tuna to come out, my DCs were all sitting there waiting for my entree and would not started, despite my insistence that it was okay and that their entrees were getting cold in the process. Having the chicken allowed them to start without feeling guilty.

          1. re: blacknbleu

            Spoke with the owner briefly a few weeks ago at a friend's party; James said the summer always slows down, which is why they're having their "theme nights" on occasion.