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Searching for a culinary twin

s
SunGlow Jul 20, 2008 07:24 PM

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!

  1. l
    Lynnrookie Aug 1, 2008 07:42 AM

    Doesn't the Craigie St. Bistro (in Cambridge) champion local food?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Lynnrookie
      TPistrix Aug 1, 2008 08:34 AM

      Certainly does. I had the 6-course tasting menu there and loved it. It is a very different kind of atmosphere from the looks of the Ottawa restaurant's website. Because it's in a small basement location, it has a sort of wine cellar ambiance, which I quite enjoyed but is obviously a different feel.

      Not to derail the conversation, but I believe I overheard a waiter saying that Craigie St. Bistrot is moving sometime in late Fall. Not sure if the setting will be similar or not. Perhaps someone else knows more?

      1. re: TPistrix
        MC Slim JB Aug 1, 2008 10:27 AM

        Craigie Street is moving to the former La Groceria space on Main Street outside of Central Square, kind of across the street from Salts. This means they get a lot more room and much easier nearby parking.

    2. rlh Aug 1, 2008 06:19 AM

      I would add EVOO to the list as a very near match - we had a a great New Year's Eve dinner there this year (no special menu, prix fixe requirement, etc. - just a lively place serving great food with great energy/attitudes from the servers) - and thanks for the recommendation in Ottawa, a frequent business destination for me (with very limited Chowhound depth of postings, I might add) - what neighborhood is the Urban Pear in? Can I walk there (even a long walk) from downtown?

      1. s
        SunGlow Jul 22, 2008 08:28 AM

        Thanks all! We are excited to try places out.

        1 Reply
        1. re: SunGlow
          t
          twentyoystahs Aug 1, 2008 10:17 AM

          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.

        2. n
          Novasmurf Jul 21, 2008 09:51 AM

          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. n
            newhound Jul 21, 2008 03:55 AM

            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. g
              gramercyfoodie Jul 21, 2008 03:28 AM

              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
                hotoynoodle Jul 21, 2008 04:58 AM

                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. MC Slim JB Jul 20, 2008 07:38 PM

                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
                  s
                  SunGlow Jul 20, 2008 07:46 PM

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

                  Oh, alright...

                  http://www.theurbanpear.com

                  1. re: SunGlow
                    MC Slim JB Jul 21, 2008 05:33 AM

                    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.

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