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Has anyone been to T.W Food?

in Cambridge? I've heard one good feedback through a friend. Wondering is any other chowhound has visited this newish establishment?

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  1. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/405326
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/401331

    Since the search function here finally got repaired, it's much easier to check things like this.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Allstonian

      Ha! Thanks!

      * feels all embarrassed *

    2. Actually, has anyone been more recently and tried their autumn menu? Would love to hear if they have toned down the rhetoric...

      1 Reply
      1. re: Bob Dobalina

        I went for the first time last week. I loved the oyster shooters with fennel and champagne. My entree was squash and lobster bisque with scallops. That had to be the most tender and delicious lobster I've had. I had the scotch and cigars for dessert, and at first wasn't sure if I liked it, but by the end of it I wanted actual scotch and cigars. I really liked the place - one of the few quiet restaurants around. The price is a bit steep, and as such, it's not someplace that I can go to on any kind of regular basis.
        I would definitely go back for a special occasion.

      2. I was there about a month ago. Before going, I decided that the best strategy for enjoyment would be to tune out as much of said rhetoric as possible. Diregarding the copy on the website, it really is the sort of place I *want* to like: a small, sincere neighborhood bistro with a fairly progressive menu.

        As I see it, T.W. Food has two smaller problems that combine to form a big one: (1) its Cambridge location puts this little startup in perhaps the most competitive arena for small bistros in all of Boston, but the food isn't 100% there yet, and (2) TWF's price point is more or less identical to its more established contemporaries in town.

        I see a lot of similarities between T.W. Food and Ten Tables across town in JP. Two reasons Ten Tables works so well are that it's unique in its neighborhood, and the prices are a shade lower than at other similar restaurants around town, making it both a great neighborhood restaurant and a legitimate all-metro destination. TWF has neither of these selling points; it's got tough competition nearby (Salts, Criagie Street), and it's pretty darn pricey.

        I'd definitely like to give this place another chance in six months or a year. But as things stand right now, unless TWF lowers its prices or finds the next level in quality, my main reason for going would be that Salts and Craigie Street were booked.

        4 Replies
        1. re: finlero

          FWIW, Weichmann (TW Food) also cooked at Ten Tables so that could explain the similarities. Boston Mag has a mixed review of the place this month.

          1. re: finlero

            Spot on, bro. That's what I feared, based on my reading from earlier hound posts.

            1. re: finlero

              I agree with finlero's review...I had the same desire to love this place but nothing about the food makes me want to come back. It was good, not fantastic. A lot of the dishes were really trying too hard - to the point of being overdone.

              I ate there most recently in July and had the tasting menu which was fine, but given what we paid, I would have hoped for more. I actually thought the dessert, which had real tobacco and whiskey in it (since when did it become appropriate to put this in a dessert when people have no other option?), was not good and remember the amuse-bouche tasting like grass (perhaps intentionally, but again, why is this a good thing to do?).

              1. re: MaggieMuffin

                I too wanted to like it, given its tiny size and buy-local ethic. When I had the tasting menu a couple of months ago, though, there were a few dishes that were just not good. In particular, there was a scallops and shiitake mushroom "main" course where the flavors really didn't go together at all. I recall the soft-shelled crab being tasty but the fried toast served with it pushed the butter quotient over the top for me. There was one standout course, but it's slipped my mind at the moment. So, given the relatively high price, I think I probably wouldn't go back anytime soon.

            2. I finally tried it last week. The 'rhetoric' is as thick as every. The was all pretty good, but nothing outstanding.

              As far as Ten Tables similarities, Ten Tables recent menus have all been very down to earth, as is the chef Dave Punch. Ten Tables has more substance than flourish, and is a great value every time I've been. TW seems to be exact opposite.
              Though I've only eaten there the once, TW's tasting menu can't touch others in the city quality or substance wise. I know others have had better experiences, but i was unimpressed. I really don't care about Michelin kitchens you've staged in. Amazing how a chef's arrogance can bleed onto the plate.

              1 Reply
              1. re: vinovino

                Well, since I've never tried Ten Tables, it seems like I'll have to try that before T.W Foods. I'm always in search of the new bargain place in town and from all accounts, this seems to be the current one.

                1. I went for my anniversary. Oops. I'm not one to be bothered by rhetoric, prices (to a degree), portion size or preciousness, but it just seemed to me like the chef was out of his league - like when you order a daily tasting menu at a restaurant on the chef's night off and the new sous chef can't quite pull it off. The amuse bouche was a good case in point: I don't think that for my introduction to the evening I should be served broiled Alsatian munster. The oyster shooters and lemon tart, though, were quite good.

                  .

                  1. I've been several times now. I think the food is improving. The pheasant duo I had on a recent visit was pretty amazing. It's hard to call it a great value: the premium for all that local, organic, biodynamic, Slow Food business is pretty high. The wine list hasn't wowed me, either -- at least one of those biodynamic whites was a thin, flabby loser.

                    I too have to squint to ignore the chef's self-puffery, pretentious rhetoric and abuse of quotation marks -- which do him no favors, as they either invite mockery or set too-high expectations. He'd be better off saying he's trying to improve on what he did at Ten Tables, instead of invoking "his mentors" at Michelin three-stars that he merely staged at for a few weeks. Underpromise, overdeliver is a much better tack.

                    I'm still likelier to go to Ten Tables six or seven times for every visit to T.W.: Ten Tables is such a great value, though its stated ambitions are less lofty. But judged on the food alone, I'm liking T.W. a lot more now than my early review visits for the Dig in its first couple of months. And it is part of a movement that deserves some support.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                      Speaking of Ten Tables, going there with friends and girlfriend for my B-Day (the Big 29, heh-heh-heh, lie-lie-lie).

                      I've dined there multiple times, and have had the Tuesday wine dinners on many occasions, but never the Wednesday "Pick Any Three."

                      Do you recommend one over the other? Price isn't an object (obviously, this being the incredibly reasonable Ten Tables).

                      1. re: Bostonbob3

                        I don't believe I've done a wine dinner or the Pick Three at Ten Tables. I've always ordered a la carte. I have gotten the four-course veggie prix fixe, which is terrific, but not available on Wednesday.

                        1. re: Bostonbob3

                          I'm going tonight. Will report back. Wait -- you're not going tonight are you?!

                            1. re: Bostonbob3

                              Bob -- I put my review of TT under that thread, not this TW Food thread, just to keep it on topic. Bottom line, I think you'll like it very much.

                            2. re: Bostonbob3

                              Bob, here's the main difference: you either get to choose your meal, or you don't. Also, if you do the wine dinner, everyone gets the same thing, so there's no sharing. I've done both and really like both. The wines on Tuesdays are thoughtfully chosen and the four courses are almost always fantastic - sometimes the dessert is not great though. Pick three is fun, but I think sometimes the menu is slightly abbreviated. You probably can't go wrong with either. Since you're going the week of the 19th, I might pick Tuesday, since Wednesday is right before another huge eating day.