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Christopher's in Cambridge - any good?

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Kbee Nov 8, 2007 09:41 AM

Will be going to a show at Toad and wanted to grab a bite beforehand. I know Christopher's is right next door, which would be convenient, but how's the food?

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  1. c
    cricketmoore RE: Kbee Nov 8, 2007 09:48 AM

    Hmmmm...I haven't had the best experiences there. Maybe if you stick with a burger and fries...it should be fine. I find it disappointing, considering all of the great places in Boston to eat.

    Other ideas: Anna's taqueria in porter. R.F. O'Sullivan's is also a close walk from Toad.

    3 Replies
    1. re: cricketmoore
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      BJK RE: cricketmoore Nov 8, 2007 10:04 AM

      I'll echo the "disappointed" sentiment re: Christopher's, even with my low expectations for something as simple as a burger.

      And to my non-athletic legs, the walk to O'Sullivan's would be quite a hike from Toad! Probably a 15 - 20 minute walk.

      If I were going to a show there, I'd plan on grabbing a bite over at the Porter Exchange, either at Blue Fin for some cheap decent sushi or at one of the stalls.

      If you wanted something more upscale, I think it would be a shorter walk to Elephant Walk.

      BK

      1. re: BJK
        jvish RE: BJK Nov 8, 2007 10:17 AM

        Christophers is a good choice if you are watching what you eat, lots of choices that a geared toword healthier options, but the food is middle of the road at best.

        RF O'Sullivans is great but is no where near a quick walk..a quick ride maybe but not walk.....right near by...I forget the name of the building which is awful because I was just there.... but the "fill in the blank" exchange building where Rustic Kitchen was has a great Asian food court hidden inside..a really good spot for a quick lunch or dinner

        1. re: jvish
          delirious RE: jvish Nov 8, 2007 11:58 AM

          I'll follow the rest here. Food is not so great, but has been vastly better then say about 3 years ago. Nice tap selection though with rotating local offerings and an occasional rarity.

          FR O'S has better food, but not as good a tap selection.

    2. gini RE: Kbee Nov 8, 2007 10:14 AM

      The burgers at Christopher's are totally fine and I prefer them to O'Sullivan's, which remind me of eating a softball stuffed between two rapidly disintegrating pieces of bread. I've also had completely non-offensive salads at Christopher's.

      Porter Exchange has a dearth of options, most of which are casual food stalls.

      3 Replies
      1. re: gini
        DavisSquare RE: gini Nov 8, 2007 05:53 PM

        >Porter Exchange has a dearth of options

        You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

        Sorry, I couldn't resist.

        1. re: DavisSquare
          gini RE: DavisSquare Nov 9, 2007 04:42 AM

          You're entirely correct. I meant an abundance. I'm an idiot, obviously:).

          1. re: DavisSquare
            maillard RE: DavisSquare Nov 9, 2007 10:12 AM

            Inconceivable! :)

            I love Ittyo in the Porter Exchange food court. Also Cafe Mami, but for some reason it's been Ittyo all the time for me lately.

        2. hiddenboston RE: Kbee Nov 8, 2007 10:26 AM

          I like the burgers at Christopher's, and the atmosphere is pretty nice. I don't think it would be a bad choice at all, especially since it is literally next door to Toad.

          Other places I like within a 5-minute walk are Boca Grande (Mexican), Passage to India (Indian), Sugar and Spice (Thai), and Tacos Lupita (Mexican and El Salvadoran).

          1. digga RE: Kbee Nov 8, 2007 11:31 AM

            How about Forest Cafe, which is about 4-5 blocks on the same side of Mass Ave? I love eating at the bar there and the food, while not the best Mexican in town, would make a good pre-show meal. Last time I was there, I had a (large) piece of salmon on top of seafood-tinged rice in a light tomato-based sauce. Quite hearty and not a sign of shredded cheese anywhere.

            1 Reply
            1. re: digga
              MB fka MB RE: digga Nov 8, 2007 04:14 PM

              The Forest would be my vote, too. It's solid, nothing too earth shattering. I love the ejotes (fried garlicky green beans) and last week there was a meatball special that was great. Love the chicken vegetable soup for something simple in the cold weather. Full of great veggies (no rice as filler) and a great broth. they used to have a potato app that I really liked, too, but can't remember if it's still there.

              walk another block and you're eating cubans at chez henri, too.

            2. t
              TheScribe RE: Kbee Nov 8, 2007 12:07 PM

              I don't want to be harsh, but the food at Christopher's, well, sucks.

              6 Replies
              1. re: TheScribe
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                cambridgeMike RE: TheScribe Nov 8, 2007 12:11 PM

                i disagree that the food sucks. It's not amazing or very inventive but it serves above average pub food . if you stick to the burgers and steak tips you'll be just fine. and as other posters have mentioned they do have a pretty good beer list. and the convenience to Toad is great.

                1. re: cambridgeMike
                  Bob Dobalina RE: cambridgeMike Nov 8, 2007 01:39 PM

                  I have to agree with CambridgeMike - Christopher's has fine food - nothing amazing or destination worthy - it is what it is. Just a casual dining spot. It does not suck.

                  re: general Porter Sq. dining options - apparently the Tavern on the Square folks are opening a similar venue at the old Rustic Kitchen location on Mass. Ave. in the Sears Roebuck building. Sports bar-ish theme similar to the one in Central Square. (Ain't it cool, they don't even need to change the name! ;)

                  The Crimson used to be the place to watch sports in Harvard Square, but since that turned into the Redline, there has been a lack of options for this kind of place. Spirit serves this purpose in a way, but is not really a sports bar. With its proximity to Tufts and Harvard, it SHOULD do really well, in a spot that has been a black hole to other restaurants.

                  I think the sign on the door says opening in December.

                  1. re: Bob Dobalina
                    b
                    bachslunch RE: Bob Dobalina Nov 8, 2007 01:45 PM

                    I've had both good and very bad experiences at Christopher's. Depends on whether you want to roll the dice or not. It's not my first choice, for sure.

                    Other options I didn't seen brought up on this thread include Addis Red Sea and (pricier than the other places mentioned) Elephant Walk.

                  2. re: cambridgeMike
                    franksnbeans RE: cambridgeMike Nov 9, 2007 03:22 AM

                    Ditto. The food is totally fine. Honestly, it's where we go with our friends who are fussy eaters, because the menu's huge -- which should tell you something right there (they do a lot, but nothing great).

                    1. re: franksnbeans
                      MaineRed RE: franksnbeans Nov 9, 2007 06:00 AM

                      I had to weigh in -- Christopher's has a great tap selection and does the basics well: Burgers, salads, soups...but we've relegated it to a place we go to only when we're exactly right there and just want a bite and a beer. I have had some bad experiences there too with stale/cold, mediocre food...but i also feel the need to defend it, at one time it was really good...I think the kitchen staff sometimes just doesnt care and that will seriously affect average food -- food made with love *does* taste better.

                      Also, i *hate* the upstairs space...i swore last time we got stuck up there that i'd rather leave.

                      In that area, Sugar & Spice and Cambridge Commons (same peeps as Christophers but I like it better) are both ok, or hop into Davis or Harvard. Spirit is a good place to drink/watch the game/play darts but I dont like the food and find the tap selection...pitiful :)

                    2. re: cambridgeMike
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                      Blumie RE: cambridgeMike Nov 10, 2007 04:39 AM

                      I completely disagree that Christopher's serves "above average pub food." It serves average pub food, which is fine if that's what you expect. But if you go expecting "above average" food -- as I did based on previous posts on this board -- you likely will be disappointed, as I was. The Druid, in Inman Square, serves an outstanding pub burger. RF O'Sullivan's has lots of fans who consider its burger a best-in-Boston contender (I'm not one of them; I'm squarely in the Bartley's camp). I have a hard time understanding, though, how anyone can put Christopher's in the same league.

                  3. k
                    Kbee RE: Kbee Nov 8, 2007 12:12 PM

                    Thanks 'Hounds, for saving us from what sounds like certain disaster! I always hope for something better than "non-offensive". Phew... that was a close one. Porter Exchange or Forest Cafe sound like better options.

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: Kbee
                      nfo RE: Kbee Nov 8, 2007 03:45 PM

                      The only place I recommend at Porter Exchange is Cafe Mami - it's really great. I've had mediocre experiences everywhere else, including Blue Fin, Cho Cho, and Sapporo (perhaps Tampopo is worth a shot). You can grab a decent cream puff from the Japanese bakery on your way out.

                      Cafe Mami would be my first choice, otherwise I'd sooner go to Christopher's and at least get a good beer.

                      1. re: nfo
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                        Felton RE: nfo Nov 8, 2007 05:53 PM

                        All this Christopher's bashing is a bit disturbing. If you're up for a burger and a beer I really can't think of a better place to go. I'm not really sure what you're looking to get out of it that you're all so dissapointed. I'd choose a $8 burger from Christopher's over the Porter exchange, A. Red Sea, Seoul Food, Anna's and the Elephant Walk (dollar for dollar). I think this negativity is way overblown.

                        1. re: Felton
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                          bachslunch RE: Felton Nov 8, 2007 06:15 PM

                          I think O'Sullivan's (not too far away from Porter Square, either), Audubon Circle, Charlie's Kitchen, and Bristol Lounge make at the utter least as good or a better burger than Christopher's -- and you can get beer at them as well, though the Bristol will admittedly set you back a chunk of change for it. I'd also venture that Bartley's, Flat Patties, and UBurger do a better burger.

                          I've been to Christopher's several times over the years, and while I've had some decent meals there, I've had some that were horribly inedible, especially at brunch. Addis Red Sea, Seoul Food, Anna's, Elephant Walk, and some places in Porter Exchange (Cafe Mami, for one) all strike me as more consistent.

                          And if we're talking dollar for dollar, it's pretty tough to beat Anna's regardless of the circumstances.

                          Christopher's is certainly not the worst option in the area as long as Kaya, Pizzeria Uno, Dunkin' Donuts and Porter Exchange's Kotobukiya remain open, but it's not the best by quite a ways. I think of it as a decent but inconsistent pub grub spot where you can hit OK or miss by a mile.

                          1. re: bachslunch
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                            Felton RE: bachslunch Nov 9, 2007 03:13 AM

                            Clearly a personal preference thing, but I've had all the burgers mentioned above except Bristol Lounge and Charlie's Kitchen and still think Christopher's is best.

                            1. re: Felton
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                              bachslunch RE: Felton Nov 9, 2007 08:13 AM

                              Felton, you're the first person I've ever seen suggest on this board that Christopher's might make the best burger in the Boston area. Noticed you're a brand new poster here and would be interested to see some elaboration on your opinion.

                              Finlero's post below echoes my experience with Christopher's burgers -- certainly good if not my all-time favorite. O'Sullivan's is the thickest (I've seen the description "ball of meat" used on this board) and is genuinely cooked medium rare if you like it that way. Bartley's is similar in some ways, if not as thick, and will also truly cook to order. Charlie's strikes me as being a step down from these and uses thinner patties, but does a very good and surprisingly cheap bar burger, especially if you want to do a double. Both Flat Patties and UBurger are to my mind excellent examples of the thinner patty type analogous to what I've heard In 'N' Out does outside New England -- they won't cook them medium rare, though. Audubon Circle's was a fancier version of the bar burger when I went a good bit ago, with Bristol Lounge being pretty much a Cadillac version of same; if memory serves both will cook to order, though I haven't gotten burgers at either in a while. I'd personally choose them all ahead of Christopher's.

                              1. re: bachslunch
                                hiddenboston RE: bachslunch Nov 9, 2007 08:23 AM

                                I'm definitely a big fan of the English burger at Christopher's. It comes on an English muffin, and the all-natural beef has some really nice seasonings. I also like the seasoned fries that come with the burgers. The fries are much, much better than those at O'Sullivan's, IMO, but I still prefer an O'Sully burgers over Christopher's.

                            2. re: bachslunch
                              h
                              heard RE: bachslunch Jan 22, 2008 12:26 AM

                              I agree with Felton. While you will not find anything mind-blowing at Christopher's, the burger, fries and salads have always been reliable for me. The vegetarian options are great as well - different than the usual portobello burger.

                            3. re: Felton
                              b
                              BostonCookieMonster RE: Felton Nov 9, 2007 05:19 AM

                              Thank you! I wouldn't say it's The Best burger for miles around, but it's a good burger. And the space is just very gemutlich somehow. (I just wanted a chance to use that word.) There are times when Christopher's hits the spot.

                            4. re: nfo
                              DavisSquare RE: nfo Nov 8, 2007 05:56 PM

                              Blue fin is usually pretty good for sushi, in our experience, with good rice and fresh fish. Every so often, maybe 1/5 times, the fish is less fresh than it should be. 1/5 is too many, but we do still keep going back.

                          2. finlero RE: Kbee Nov 9, 2007 07:12 AM

                            Looks like I'm a little late to the party here, but I'm squarely in the pro-Christopher's camp. I used to live across the street, and it was one of my go-to places for not-horrible-for-you takeout. I've never had a bad meal there, and some items are downright tasty. A few standouts:

                            Burgers - the quality of the beef itself is notable, as it's Coleman hormone-free. The rolls they use aren't anything to write home about, especially because they don't toast them, but the patty itself makes up for it. The wedge fries are hit-or-miss, great when fresh, meh when not. I agree with gini that I'd gladly take a Christopher's burger over Sully's any day (although the Druid is another story).

                            Homemade veggie burger - perhaps my favorite in town, topped with pesto and roasted red pepper.

                            Buffalo tofu - a suprisingly awesome, not weird appetizer, goes great with a beer or five.

                            Salads - all are serviceable, but my favorite is the goat cheese and sundried tomato.

                            As Bob Dobalina said, not a drive-across-town destination, but it's a pretty good neighborhood pub.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: finlero
                              litchick RE: finlero Jan 21, 2008 11:11 AM

                              I LOVE the buffalo tofu. And the homemade veg burger. And the vegan soups. And the eggplant burger. I actuallly like Christopher's in general quite a lot -- it satisfies a group with wide ranging likes and dislikes, and the beer list is excellent. And they have a fireplace! I concur with an above poster about hating the upstairs space, so I choose not to sit there. But really, yes, all you anti-Christopher folks should absolutely go somewhere else. It'll reduce my wait time for a fireplace-adjacent table. ;)

                            2. k
                              Kbee RE: Kbee Nov 9, 2007 08:26 AM

                              Well holy cow, didn't mean to start a big debate... anyway, we ended up finding a parking space down by Chez Henri so we stopped in the bar for some fantastic chorizo w/ mashed potatoes, onion soup and empanadas. Great food and drinks, fit the bill perfectly. Thanks again for all the input.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: Kbee
                                hiddenboston RE: Kbee Nov 9, 2007 08:57 AM

                                On Chowhound, even adding a smiley to a posting can start a debate. ;-b

                                I really like Chez Henri, mainly for their Cubano, but I also like their ham croquettes a lot. Definitely a good call, going there.

                                1. re: hiddenboston
                                  finlero RE: hiddenboston Nov 9, 2007 09:38 AM

                                  > On Chowhound, even adding a smiley to a posting can start a debate. ;-b

                                  Oh, how true (and not necessarily a bad thing). Mark my words, on April 1st, I'm posting a rant about how much I hate Speed's hot dogs.

                                  1. re: finlero
                                    hiddenboston RE: finlero Nov 9, 2007 10:28 AM

                                    And I'll pick April 1 as the day I declare my undying love for Applebee's!

                                    1. re: hiddenboston
                                      Bob Dobalina RE: hiddenboston Nov 9, 2007 10:39 AM

                                      Doesn't this look just sooo yummy? I *heart* Applebee's.

                                       
                                      1. re: Bob Dobalina
                                        hiddenboston RE: Bob Dobalina Nov 9, 2007 10:50 AM

                                        Mmmmmmm, reminds me of the Tuesday special at the reform school....

                              2. a
                                Aphex RE: Kbee Dec 15, 2007 03:52 PM

                                Christopher's does have the best burger in town...best Fish Burger that is. Give it a try(it's not a fish filet).

                                1. g
                                  Gabatta RE: Kbee Jan 19, 2008 12:27 PM

                                  We tried Christophers for the first time today, and I can safely say that it was a first and last visit. The atmosphere was nice enough when we walked in, and we were fortunately be seated right near the fireplace as the room was cold.

                                  The food was mediocre at best all the way around. The veggie chili was extremely bland and served at room temperature. The chicken on the southwest chicken salad was way overcooked, dry and not flavorful. The salad itself was predominantly lettuce with not much else. I tried a salad as I had heard good things, but my idea of a good salad is definitely not all lettuce and no fixins. One of our party had the burger which I tried and was disapointed by. It was overcooked and not too flavorful, the bun was extremely poor. I am extremely confused by the comments that this burger is better than RFO. Maybe today was an off day, but to be the burger was not in the same league. The rest of the food isn't even owrth writing about, non descript, below par bar food served clod for the most part.

                                  The server was nice enough, if a bit too overwhelmed to be prompt. The mug for the tea was dirty.

                                  Oh well, it would have been nice to have another casual option this side of the river.

                                  1. b
                                    BangoBilly RE: Kbee Jan 21, 2008 12:53 PM

                                    Wow - surprised so many people are anti-Christopher's. It is what it is, non-offensive, non-spectacular, but perfectly edible bar food. No - their burger is not as good as RF's although RF's isn't for everyone. I personally like the English Burger at Christopher's provided they don't over cook it. A buddy of mine swears by their Andouille and Beef Burger although it didn't knock my socks off. The homemade veggie burgers are a nice treat if you're into that sort of thing (I'm not, but my girl is). Big menu, lots to choose from, bottom line - it will fill your stomach but you won't end up craving it the next day.

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