Cambridge One / Garden at the Cellar
Met some friends at Cambridge One the other night -
A fine salad with some chicken on it - four "halves" to split - my order of most to least favorite was pepperoni, chicken, a bolognese and a potato. Would love to tell you more details but I can't really remember and I can't seem to find their website if it exists. Nothing ground-breaking - as Harvard Square options go, it's reliable enough.
Me and my gf sat at the bar at Garden at the Cellar - man, is that place LOUD! The voices just bounce off the bricks, but hey, we're young enough. (Note to the grad students standing behind us - go to Grafton St. if you want to YELL!! Funny, as soon as they were seated, they got quiet - thankfully....I would have had to offer some food to them had they not been seated.)
So we got a smorghee of items at the bar:
First the circular food items:
Chicken croquettes - 3 large fritters with some sort of dipping sauce and arugula
Cod cakes - 3 large fritters with some sort of dipping sauce and arugula
Homemade tater tots - with ketchup (Heinz I think) - Liked all three but the tots were my favorites - essentially deep fried balls of mashed potatoes. mmmm....but note, will not travel well in pockets.
Side of roasted beets - plainly dressed - very generous serving of beets - if you like beets, you would like these beets. If you like your beets to taste like something else AND beets, you would not like these beets.
then out came what were supposed to be the first round, but came out as the second round. Bartender was nice about trying to get these to come out first, but the circular food and beets (cubed food) came out first.
Caesar salad with big homemade croutons - excellent, fresh.
Tomato-herb soup with grilled cheese sandwich for dipping - soup was excellent, but looks like it included cheese so it had almost a tomato sauce consistency, which was still good, but thought tomato-herb implied brothy. Note that grilled cheese was included in price for this soup - three other soups on menu w/o but for $2, can get.
3 glasses of red wine from various Italian regions - I had a Barbera which was fine - the Nero from Sicily was much heftier. Gf had a glass of Montepulciano which I thought was quite tart.
Anyhow, all this came to $65, which we thought we quite reasonable.
I second your comments about Garden being loud. Yikes. I sat at the bar last night with my husband and we could barely hear each other sometimes. This place is definitely not what I expected -- loud, seemed to be full of students/grad students, had bad service (the bartender was our indifferent server). And the food was just ok. I thought the big deal here was that all/many of the veggies were grown in a garden on the premises. Is that true or did I make it up?
We started with the mussels. They had a nice flavor, a little salty, but were in a creamy, tomato-y sauce, which is kind of different for the area. Lots of fennel. Very good. For entrees, I ordered the sides sampler -- $15 for 4 sides. I got the homemade tater tots, the roasted beets described by bob, sauteed spinach, and truffled french fries. Hub got the pork chop with cooked apples, spinach, and mushroom bread pudding. I had heard about the tots from a coworker and was dying to try them, but they were fairly mushy on the inside. I expected some texture inside the crispy shell and was let down. The beets were fantastic, as were the fries. Spinach was ok. Pork chop was massive! Almost too big. But decent, and nice with the apples. I ate all of the mushroom bread pudding, my hub thought it was awful.
So, the food was good, but nothing outstanding or new.