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Apr 9, 2010 06:26 AM

Highland Kitchen Last Night - Long

Tables 2/3 full by 6:30 w/room still at the bar. Seated immediately at a deuce under the specials board. Decided to go w/apps this 1st time. Bowl of tasty, craggy slices of crusty bread arrived. Asked & rec’d 2 more tiny cups w/soft ball of sweet butter. Big bowl of sweet, plump mussels in broth w/fresh cilantro sprigs & scallions arrived next – plenty for DC & me. Altho’ we didn’t’ taste much coconut, the broth was delicious & sopped up w/the bread. Sinful shrimp & grits arrived next – rich, buttery grits, chock full of lean bacon nuggets, savory mushrooms, scallions & tender, butterflied shrimp – so comforting, I would happily eat this for breakfast any day. We, honestly, could have stopped there & been satisfied, but I wanted my DC to have a 1st experience w/pork belly. Glad we soldiered on cuz the pork belly app was to die for. Perched in the center of a lake of savory, rich toasted sesame hoisin braising liquid was a 4” tower w/a glossy, mahogany top and layers of belly w/a surprisingly goodly amount of tender meat at the base. DC was awed. Thinking that the best pb rendition I’d had twice at Fuloon was the standard, I found this seriously contested by HK’s rendition. I had picked this particular treatment off the menu, because of the kimchi side, but found it not pickled enough & too salty. My DC, on the other hand, liked it for just these characteristics. In retrospect, I wish we’d ordered the special pb that was accompanied by roasted asparagus, ramps, etc. We were getting pretty full by this time when the calamari arrived. Generous plate of rings & tents, lightly dusted and fried, but no great shakes. We started w/glasses of the red Farina, Barbera D’Asti and wouldn’t recommend. It was warm & acidic – ?open bottle sitting around. I tried the Dogfish IPA and really liked it. DC had a Belgian ale. Service was great, water glasses refilled, mussel shell bowl emptied when full and told to take our time finishing our beers, even though, by this time, room was full of couples, multigenerational families w/infants, toddlers, small children and a bar full customers on a chilly, windy, misty weeknight. I’m going to call to see how long that pork belly/roasted asparagus, ramps app is going to be available. Tab $76 including t&t.

Highland Kitchen
150 Highland Ave, Somerville, MA 02143

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  1. Thanks for the review - glad you liked it. we go there about once every two weeks - it's pretty much as you describe every time.

    1. Their shrimp and grits is indeed fab; AND on the brunch menu -- so you CAN have it for breakfast!

      1. great review Taralli. I haven't been yet but now I need to go!

        1. We've been for brunch and I was amazed that at 10:50am (they opened at 11am), there was already a line outside. A good, good sign.

          Haven't returned for dinner, mostly because they don't take reservations and have always been hesitant due to antipacation of a long, long wait. Would you suggest going at around the 6pm timeframe to get seated promptly?

          1 Reply
          1. re: mbasnack

            Yes, around 6-6:30pm, especially on a week night. Young co-worker & SO tried on a Saturday night, btw 8-9, but place was packed.

          2. Oh, but you missed the buffalo style brussels sprouts!
            I'm a big Brussels Sprouts fan in any preparation except frozen and microwaved, but these are really inventive. I know it sounds decidedly odd, but it's an excellent pairing.

            1 Reply
            1. re: cpingenot

              haven"t been is about a year[est 4dinners] because the times we went weren"t as good as everyone describes--but this looks promising again.will give them another shot.