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Looking for a nice bar with cured meat/cheese options in Cambridge

I'm looking for a place like Tria in Philly or Bin 71 in New York... ideally in Cambridge. Does it exist?

I recently moved here from Austin, TX and my husband and I used to have a standing weeknight date at a wine bar with fantastic artisanal cured meat and cheese options. The bill for 2-3 meats and 2-3 cheeses and a bowl of olives was usually less than $40 [we always got brooklyn lager on tap]. I'm sure with all the great cheeses coming out of this area, someone must serve it with alcohol somewhere.

Maybe it's a matter of lingo, but I've sought out every place in Cambridge that serves charcuterie (Craigie, Garden at the Cellar, a disaster at CBC) and it's always a collection of terrines and pates. Should I be looking for specifically Italian places with antipasto? I'd like to be able to pick which types, but I'd settle for a well-executed composed plate.

It can be a restaurant bar or a bar-bar, as long as it has a good vibe. I'm thinking of trying Green Street or Blue Room next... but I'd love some guidance.

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Blue Room
1 Kendall Sq Ste B2001, Cambridge, MA 02139

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  1. Harvest comes to mind, but their charcuterie is always on the menu. I'd give them a call to see if they have it.

    1. We always order the wonderful antipasti at the BR w/it's cured meats, roasted veggies, crispy grilled flatbread easily feeding 2, along w/whatever other eclectic apps that catch our fancy at the bar w/a big plus if Reggie's bartending & making his magic.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Taralli

        To Taralli: I assume that the BR refers to the Blue Room (Kendall Square). (The OP may not have known that---better not to abbreviate.) Another option, not in Cambridge, is the Butcher Shop (Boston, South End), which has a good selection of salumi and cheeses. Does anyone know if the bar at Rendezvous (Cambridge) have a salumi and cheese plate? That would be a nice place to try. I'm also guessing that if you asked for a salumi plate at Craigie they might be able to put some good stuff together for you. Just don't call it charcuterie.

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        Blue Room
        1 Kendall Sq Ste B2001, Cambridge, MA 02139

        1. re: bella_sarda

          Rendezvous has a charcuterie plate (it included chicken liver pate, mortadella, and speck the last time I was there) and a separate cheese offering. For the cheese you choose one, two or three types.

          1. re: bella_sarda

            Bella, OP specifically referred to BR in their last line, so figured they'd get it, but thanks in case not: "I'm thinking of trying Green Street or Blue Room next... but I'd love some guidance."

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            Blue Room
            1 Kendall Sq Ste B2001, Cambridge, MA 02139

            1. re: Taralli

              Oh, duh, I didn't see that. Sorry! Abbreviation is one of my PP's (pet peeves, ha ha) so I jump on it a bit.

        2. cured meats are more often referred to as salumi. not cambridge, but bin 26 has very nice selections of both cheeses and meats with a quirky reasonable wine list.

          beware antipasto plates which may just mean salami and hard cheese and roasted peppers.

          2 Replies
          1. re: hotoynoodle

            Bin 26 was my first thought as well- though not in Cambridge. Probably no Brooklyn lager there either ;-) but they do a great job on cheeses

            1. re: fmcoxe6188

              3rd Bin 26 as my first thought. Not Cambridge, but depending where you are, maybe not a bad walk either.

          2. Nothing really fits this bill in Cambridge or Boston unfortunately. Recently back from Italy and dreaming of bagging the current business and opening one up though. Bin 26 in Beacon Hill comes closest, and the food is pretty good, the atmosphere doesn't hit the mark for me though.

            1. Craigie on Main has great charcuterie, it varies over time though so if you are looking for something in patrticular worth calling them to see what's on. Less focus on the "cured" meats I think and more on terrines and pates. nice cheese too of course. And then there are those pig tails!

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              Craigie on Main
              853 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

              1 Reply
              1. re: Zatan

                let's be more clear on nomenclature: the french do charcuterie, which are meats processed mostly as terrines and patés to preserve their shelf-life.

                the italians do a dizzying array of cured meats, which is salumi, and the spanish do some ambrosial cured pork products too. the germans, alsatians, and belgians have a way with sausages and forced meats also.

                sel de la terre does a charcuterie plate, but i've been disappointed it with it, however their cheese selections can be killer.

                eastern standard also great on charcuterie and coppa, not yet open, should also rock the salumi.

              2. Central Kitchen usually has good daily "bar cure" specials and offers cheeses, but not so much an assortment of meats - I think Green Street may also. You can put together an amazing array for home consumption from Formaggio Kitchen on Huron Avenue (but I realize that is not what you are asking..still worth considering because it's SO good).

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                Formaggio Kitchen
                244 Huron Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

                Central Kitchen
                567 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139

                1. This may not be *exactly* what you're looking for--it's a casual place and there is no cheese involved--but Highland Kitchen in Somerville has "The Meat Plate": pork rillettes, Serrano ham, Fra’mani salame, house pickles, marinated olives, grilled bread.

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                  Highland Kitchen
                  150 Highland Ave, Somerville, MA 02143

                  1. I know what you mean. It's hard to find a nice selection of cured meats. I think it's such a pain to do it in-house as it requires a HACCP plan, and not many chefs want to offer charcuterie they didn't make themselves since that's cheating, so you end up with a lot of terrines and mousses and the like. It's something I always keep at home. I think you can get "salami" and prosciutto at Rialto in the bar.

                    1. It is puzzling why there's not more salumi here in town. You could go to the butcher shop but I guarantee you wont get out for $40. I typically get mine at Formaggio for snacking at home but there must be someone doing more cured meat delights in a bar setting.

                      Curiously I just received this email from a friend:
                      Have you tried the dry sausages at Russo's cheese counter? I
                      think they're new. The cheese guy gave me a sample of one with truffles
                      which you would LOVE, and I bought a plain pork one - delicious. You have
                      to peel the rind and slice them yourself. Good mountain-climbing food,
                      probably. They also had a few wine-flavored ones I want to try. Made in
                      Iowa! But Italian-style. Wicked artisanal. Mmm. They're sitting on the
                      counter, above where the taleggio is, just to the left of the cold-cut
                      cooler.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: yumyum

                        Those sound like Creminelli to me. I had them at the Fancy Food Show last January, and they are incredible - definitely worth the trip to Russo's. I haven't seen them anywhere locally.

                        1. re: almansa

                          I think they sound Creminelli insanely good. Heh heh. Couldn't resist.

                          1. re: yumyum

                            Oooooof. That was cheesy, er porky.

                              1. re: almansa

                                Pretty sure I saw a couple of those at Dave's Fresh.

                          2. re: yumyum

                            If it's Iowa, it's La Quercia...Try the Speck Americano...
                            http://www.laquercia.us/

                          3. craigie sometimes has guanciale and lardo...scampo usually has prosciutto and currently has jamon iberico (but it was dried out the time I had it there)...Toro has domestic jamon iberico....i think i've seen bresaola at Prezza...

                            1. Thanks everyone! We went to Blue Room (3 minute walk from the husband's lab) and had the roasted veggie antipasto with cured meat and the perfect cheese. It was great!... and I was happy to have the veggies in addition to the heavier fare. With three beers (we split the 3rd) our tab came to $39 before tax. The bar area was very cozy and we'll definitely go back.

                              I still want to try Bin 26, but Blue Room had exactly what I wanted and the location was super convenient.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: collinsgavornik

                                Thanks for reporting back ... glad you found what you were looking for.