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Temple Bar Update

StriperGuy Jun 25, 2009 06:55 AM

Saw MCs recent review, and agree that the Risotto is a marvelous dish. By coincidence my DC and I shared that same plate last night.Very generous portion of perfectly prepared risotto.

I had a large nicely done bowl of mussels with chorizo. Decent dish, but not fabulous. Could have used a bit less tomato and a bit more winey-brothy-garlicky goodness. Also the chorizo seemed to have been simmered so long as to lose it's texture. A bit more garlic and broth with some crisped chorizo on top and the dish would have been a winner.

The shrimp toast was basically a miss. Very oily, nicely crispy, but not that flavorful. Almost leaden, just missing something.

Also had a nicely done side of asparagus.

The service was a total miss. Our waitress, while nice enough, disappeared completely for 90% of our meal, never checking in on us. Asked the hostess for bread 2X in a nearly 15 minute interval and the second time she gave us attitude before bringing it.

On the way out I did mention the service issues to the manager and he offered to comp me something or other next time I was in...

On a side note, the place was only 1/2 full the entire time I was there. With Scelfo in the kitchen this place has a shot. For the last 3 years or so it was on my "cocktails only" list and I would eat at West Side or Chez Henri. Might keep it on the food rotation, but they are definitely a bit rocky right now.

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  1. yumyum RE: StriperGuy Jun 25, 2009 10:21 AM

    beetlebug and I tried it lately too .... seems we liked it more than you did

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/628707

    1. hotoynoodle RE: StriperGuy Jun 25, 2009 11:06 AM

      the chef isn't going to have much impact on the foh service.

      1. Alcachofa RE: StriperGuy Jul 1, 2009 07:11 PM

        Had that dreamy risotto tonight. Yeah, that's right, I said dreamy. Mrs. Alcachofa had a decent burger. Her fries were great, also. WTF! I'm having risotto and the wife is having a burger! Need to go pump some iron and go watch some football or something.

        The "Coca Cola Wings" or whatever they were called were good, I'm glad I tried them, but probably won't ever get them again.

        Service-wise, after getting our drinks at the bar, our waiter was very nice and efficient. Checked in with us, the usual good things.

        Snark-wise, I ordered a martini, and was about to be given iced gin. Had to ask for vermouth.

        I would go back for the food, stick with basic drinks.

        1. MC Slim JB RE: StriperGuy Jul 1, 2009 09:03 PM

          Crispy fried whole-belly clam appetizer is really good, and gigantic: a bargain. Nice gussied-up tartar sauce with it, too.

          http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

          1. b
            Bluebell RE: StriperGuy Jul 3, 2009 06:21 AM

            We were tempted by the recent reviews so went to TB to check it out.

            I think we just didn't pick right w/ the menu choices. Husband had eggplant sandwich., which only reached the level of OK. I was tempted by the tuna tartare, but decided to try the veggie plate. Just a very weird combo--1/3 of the plate was taken up by plain steamed broccoli. The middle was some sort of plaintains over an enormous bed of frisee with a mustardy dressing, and the final third (the best part of the plate) was good but salty spinach and the carrot latke w/ nice morels.

            They were out of the cocktail I had hoped for (Violet flame) but the tequila cocktail I tried instead was tasty though not really cold.

            Had the same service issues, though the waitress was nice. Our bread showed up from another runner., so didn't have StriperGuy's problem w/ that.

            Maybe we'll try it again in a few more months, but West Side Lounge is a better option for us, at least for now.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Bluebell
              StriperGuy RE: Bluebell Jul 3, 2009 06:37 AM

              You report confirms my feel that they are not consistently firing on all 8 cylinders. Some hits, some misses, but not really on top of their game.

            2. wellington RE: StriperGuy Jul 3, 2009 07:51 PM

              I have been disappointed by the Temple Bar for years. I have always rooted for the place to be a nice upscale Irish bar in Cambridge with good drinks and even better food. Alas the food has disappointed for as long as I have gone there, which seems like 10 years or so. I will blame this on the chef and kitchen...
              There is a new chef at TB from what I have read. I recall the previous chef at Temple Bar worked at the Mohegan Café on Block Island early in his career after graduating from Johnson and Wales. I experienced the Mohegan as another place with a much better bar than restaurant after summering there for the last 15 years. I should have seen a pattern here when I read the chef’s resume at the Temple Bar.
              I am willing to try the new Temple Bar menu under the new chef to see if it's any better than before. Otherwise I will continue to eat at my favorite Chinese, Cuban, and Mexican restaurants in this foodie Cambridge neighborhood, namely Changsho, Chez Henri, and The Forest Cafe.

              1. f
                fadeout54321 RE: StriperGuy Jul 18, 2009 08:16 AM

                Had dinner her for the first time ever last night. We sat at the bar so we had no real service issues. Food was way better than what i was expecting. Started with a torchon special that they were running. Came with a small salad of greens and shaved fennel, brioche toast and an apricot and saffron marmalade. It was really good and surprising to me that they would have such an item on their menu even if it was a special. After that we got the gorgonzola fondue. It was another hit. The best part was it came with these bacon wrapped figs, as well as some other stuff, for dipping and hot damn was it good. After that my lady had the caesar salad, she said it needed more croutons, and i had the pork belly app.. The pork belly app was out of control good almost so much that i contemplated getting another order. For dessert we had these ice cream sandwiches that were a special as well. I think one had cherry ice cream w/ chocolate chip cookies and the other was strawberry rhubarb w/ sugar cookies. It also came with a little spritzy drink that was nice and refreshing.

                Over all i had no idea what i would be getting into dinning here but needless to say the food was a hit and i will most definitely go back again.

                1. Alcachofa RE: StriperGuy Sep 1, 2009 10:21 AM

                  August update: they just introduced these merguez sausage sliders which are incredibly delicious. Definitely worth stopping in to have these, even if you're on the way somewhere else. Probably the best sausage anything I've ever had, but that's just me.

                  Don't let the "slider" part deter you. The bread they used was the perfect complement to the sausage slices, and the size was the perfectly balanced amount. I.e., it was a slider because it should be, not because they're following some bar-food trend.

                  Important: they are on the *BAR* menu, not the regular menu.

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: Alcachofa
                    StriperGuy RE: Alcachofa Sep 1, 2009 11:26 AM

                    Those were truly AWESOME.

                    1. re: Alcachofa
                      yumyum RE: Alcachofa Sep 1, 2009 07:54 PM

                      House-made brioche buns that were soft but substantial and a slice of pickle to cut the fat. So good!

                      1. re: yumyum
                        n
                        Northender RE: yumyum Sep 2, 2009 11:45 AM

                        yumyum - Is Mike Scelfo still the chef there?

                        1. re: Northender
                          yumyum RE: Northender Sep 2, 2009 11:55 AM

                          Yep. Full disclosure -- we recognized each other which is why he forced the merguez sliders on my party just to "try them out".

                          He's also doing a Pork Belly appetizer that is gob-smacking.

                          1. re: yumyum
                            n
                            Northender RE: yumyum Sep 2, 2009 12:03 PM

                            I think I need to go and get "recognized" as well. I have always enjoyed his menus and he is always pleasant and engaging if he has time to chat. Thanks

                            1. re: Northender
                              yumyum RE: Northender Sep 2, 2009 12:22 PM

                              I really didn't try .. more like he recognized the slightly deranged chick who used to bug him at North Street Grill.

                              He walks the floor quite a bit at Temple Bar.

                      2. re: Alcachofa
                        m
                        MissCheese RE: Alcachofa Sep 2, 2009 08:12 AM

                        It's really helpful to hear from others what has been good at Temple Bar lately (and what not to bother with). I actually had my birthday dinner there a couple weeks ago (since it's good for a group) and was pleasantly surprised by the food. I had scallops, with asparagus and risotto--not amazing or anything, but straightforward and fine. And the fries that came with my friend's burger were really good--thin and crispy. They brought a nice creme brulee for a bday dessert. Overall, surpassed my expectations.

                        1. re: MissCheese
                          yumyum RE: MissCheese Sep 2, 2009 12:49 PM

                          The flatbread pizza with truffle oil is really good.

                          1. re: MissCheese
                            c
                            cmary RE: MissCheese Sep 2, 2009 12:55 PM

                            I live right down the street from the Temple Bar but had avoided it for years after one mediocre appetizer get together with some people from work. However I recently tried it out again and loved it! I've been back again since. Both times we sat in the bar area, so no reservations and no wait (and service was great). Things we love: tuna tartare app, includes a very nice presentation of tuna, seaweed salad and avocado (love it so much I got it twice). First time we got the whole belly clams, huge serving and delicious. Disappointed to not see it on the menu the second time but got the calamari instead and it was just as good. Risotto is delicious. We've also had the caesar salad, which is good (admittedly, I'm not a huge fan of this in general, but my husband seemed to enjoy it) and it's large enough for two.

                            I love the atmosphere. It's dark and cozy but also not clausterphobic feeling since there are big windows all along the front.

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