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Jul 20, 2008 07:24 PM

Searching for a culinary twin

My husband and I had an amazing meal recently in Ottawa and I am hoping someone will help me find a place where we can have a similarly great experience here in Boston. We aren't necessarily searching for the exact dishes or price point just a place where we might have another great meal.

The decor was simple - apple green walls with art from local artists. Lots of windows made the place feel open and bright. The overall feel was clean, streamlined and welcoming, with no hint of fussiness. It was the kind of place where you just feel comfortable hanging out.

The food was inventive and well executed - the restaurant emphasizes local, organic and sustainable food sources. I had a simple beef tenderloin with a side spring roll filled with organic quinoa, smoked bacon and caramelized onion, as well as roasted heirloom carrots. My husband had pickerel (fresh water fish) with roasted red pepper sauce, broccoli and cheddar spaetzle and the tiniest, tenderest baby fennel I've ever seen. For dessert I had a smoked cheddar, sage and honey creme brulee with an apple-basil compote and lavender short bread cookie while my husband had a chocolate sampler.

Service was great - my husband and I cannot drink and they got extra points when the service continued to be awesome even after it became clear we would not be having wine. We paid 36 and 34 dollars for our entrees and 10 for desserts. The experience was well worth the money!

My husband and I would love if someone can suggest a "culinary twin" in Boston!

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  1. What's the name of the place in Ottawa you're describing? I ask because I spent a lot of time there not too long ago.

    2 Replies
    1. re: MC Slim JB

      We'll trade you the name for one in Boston :)

      Oh, alright...

      1. re: SunGlow

        That's not one I got to, but looking at the menu, it reminds me of many New American places in Boston. You could almost argue that touting locavore sourcing at your restaurant is becoming as ubiquitous (and as slightly suspect in my mind) as a lot of corporate green marketing.

        A couple that come to mind include Garden at the Cellar (which is a bit more informal) and T.W. Food (which seems about as elaborate and expensive as The Urban Pear.) Icarus has been doing this kind of menu for 30 years, thought the setting is relatively fancy and formal.

        But there are dozens of Boston restaurants that are doing similar menus and touting local sourcing.

    2. The Hungry Mother in Cambridge comes to mind -- they haven't connected with local artists (yet?) but the vibe is very relaxed, inviting and "organic". The food is also wonderful too. I found their menu to be slightly limiting (I have a few food allergies and a larger menu helps combat this) but other than that I think it could be the right fit for you.

      Hungry Mother
      Cambridge, MA, Cambridge, MA

      1 Reply
      1. re: gramercyfoodie

        i love hungry mother and think the owners are just wonderful.

        persephone has more of a *hipster* vibe, but is committed to local and organic. garden at the cellar in cambridge is very much about local and organic and gets much of his stuff from his father's farm. vibe is very laid back. both have terrific food.

      2. Looking at your description and Urban Pear's menu, Oleanna sort of come to mind. They do a lot of local produce (Chef Ana Sortun is married to an organic farmer) and there are middle eastern influences that make the menu varied and interesting. Atmosphere is as you describe, though not as much light unless you eat on their back deck.

        1. Rendezvous in Central Square, Cambridge. This is a favorite spot for me, and I think you'd find the menu similar to the restaurant in Ottawa . Service is always friendly and efficient, the chef/owner is usually in the dining room checking on folks, and the menu is created to make the most of fresh ingredients.

          1. Thanks all! We are excited to try places out.

            1 Reply
            1. re: SunGlow

              As MC said, the majority of worthy restaurants in Boston now have their focus on local, sustainable food. Not a bad thing at all, in my opinion, but as a result, you'll find all the recs here to fill that requirement. One that isn't on this thread, but is one of my favorites --Ten Tables in JP. I've always found it to be top-notch food and service in a really relaxed environment.