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Apr 28, 2008 07:55 AM

Upstairs on the Square, Monday Club Bar: loving the new spring menu

It had been a while since I last went to Upstairs on the Square, but after my recent visit, I'm totally putting this place back in high rotation. Scarcely a false note, but a few highlights:

Spring pea soup - creamy, fresh, and complex; one of those dishes that manages to impress the palette's entire spectrum at once

Hand-rolled tagliatelle - perfectly al dente pasta, with a surprisingly subtle combination of littlenecks, ramps, jalapeƱo peppers, and chorizo

Pan-fried halibut - anything with their ricotta cavatelli is always a treat; a really well-conceived combination of the cavatelli, marinated shrimp, bacon, green garlic, and fava beans

Vanilla ice cream - simple and honest, this was some of the best ice cream I've had in as long as I can remember; totally smooth and unbelievably creamy, my waistline was glad the scoop was small, as I would have eaten however much had been placed in front of me

Wine pairings were great as always; I was especially smitten by my glass of Nicolette Christopher Cabernet.

The usual annoyances: it was loud, the tables were too small and too close together, some of the people-watching made me wince. But it didn't matter. This was one of the nicest upscale meals I've had in a while. I can't wait to get back.

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  1. Thanks for the update. Did you sit in the bar area or the Zebra Room? I'm just wondering if one is less loud and tight that the other.

    1. If you dont' mind me asking, how was the bill?

      1. Yo finlero:

        "This was one of the nicest upscale meals I've had in a while. I can't wait to get back."

        What would the damages be for two? Entrees, appetizers and a bottle of wine?


        Have palate will travel
        Wire Paladin, Boston

        1. chowda and paladin,

          The menu is online, complete with prices. I'm seldom disappointed there.

          1. chowda and paladin: two apps, two entrees, four glasses of wine, and a dessert came to right around $150 after tax and before tip.

            pollystyrene: we were in the Zebra room. I've found that the bar room's noise level is more variable, relatively quiet when empty, deafening when crowded. The Zebra room suffers from a bit of an echo chamber effect, so on one hand I have to raise my voice to have a conversation, but on the other hand the tables are close enough together that I'm always a little self-conscious of eavesdropping neighbors (probably in part to a little inevitable eavesdropping on my part).

            3 Replies
            1. re: finlero

              Good to know. I'll hit the bar room if it's empty, otherwise the echo chamber. Sitting within eavesdropping distance is only good when your DC is boring and your dining neighbors are fascinating, an infrequent scenario.

              1. re: pollystyrene

                Oh - I think that lunch at the Zebra Room is a pretty good place for interesting sightings. Years ago I took some co-workers and we ended up seated across from Tovah Felschuh and her son! A great voice to eavesdrop on!

              2. re: finlero

                My S.O. and I love this place. We almost always eat downstairs in the Monday Club. I agree it's loud, which normally bothers me a lot, but somehow this place is just so special. The "porch" area of the Monday Club might be a little quieter. Check the website for the restaurant, because they have some great special events. For example, live jazz on one Thursday per month, and they clear some space for, YES, dancing! Lots and lots of fun!