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12/1/10 Very Good Dinner at Foundry on Elm

opinionatedchef Dec 1, 2010 09:34 PM

We were considering going to our regular place- Gargoyle’s, because they just started a new menu and it is VERY tantalizing, but then I saw Nadeau’s review of this new place and thought we should try it. Wednesday night 7:30PM and the very large room was 3/4 full. Black/ mahogany, white and red motif. Clubby comfy banquettes, long bar, tall tables and regular height tables. In fact, a type of seat for every customer. If you sit in the back room where we were, the infamous noise is not overwhelming. Young friendly helpful staff. Authentic ,professional, positive and helpful waiter. .

It is a VERY big menu. Like the seating, they seem to want to have something for everyone.While that formula can easily fail, the food we had was inexpensive, generously portioned and tasty. After reading many CH and Open Table reviews as I could, I realized that choosing well is important here. (After previewing the gravy[boring one-note black pepper beef sauce] that accompanies the poutine, I opted out of that dish. ) Everything that we did order was very good. The Arugula salad with beets,chevre, nuts- was a huge portion of greens, easily 4 times bigger than any Boston salad I’ve had ,and the substituted cabernet vinaigrette worked quite well. The Fried calamari was better than any I can remember- the coating was just perfect, and the squid plump and fresh. The Scallops with leek and fennel soubise and lentils- made My Love very very happy; 6 good sized scallops. My Shrimp etoufee brought 5 moist 26/30 shrimp, 3 hushpuppies, a bit of fried okra and sauce,all artfully arranged around the mound of basmati rice. The plate was only lacking in its sauce; just lacked oomph and acid. The highlight was that Spaetzle dish- imagine gnocchi by any other name (but shaped differently)with wild mushrooms, ham, hazelnuts and melted Comte cheese. Beautifully conceived and executed Autumn knockout dish.

Each night they offer some ‘deal’; tonight it was 1/2 off desserts. Lemon sorbet was not the best I’ve had, but refreshing and 3 big scoops. The list of Reds by the glass was good sized and adequate.

At a very similar price point, THIS is the food Johnny D’s should have and I would imagine that they might lose a lot of dining customers to them. It is obvious from the crowds on a rainy Wed. night that Foundry is filling a niche. I hope the best for them.

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Foundry on Elm
255 Elm St, Somerville, MA 02144

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  1. Essex County RE: opinionatedchef Dec 2, 2010 08:27 AM

    My wife and I were there about a month ago. It was bustling at 6:30 on a Saturday, a happy vibe. We weren't too adventurous with the menu. Started with oysters which were fine. I had a burger, served rare as requested. I recall my wife having roast lamb, a special for the evening, and that was excellent. But my major happy was the impressive set of belgian ales and micorbrews they had on tap. I'm glad you posted your experience because it will get FOE back on my go-to list. It would be a good place to bring my kids and their significant others during the upcoming holiday.

    1. litchick RE: opinionatedchef Dec 2, 2010 03:29 PM

      We went on a recent evening and though I found the food to be really quite tasty, I just couldn't take the atmosphere. Maybe I'm getting old (though I seem to be the same age as the other people there), but it was just so loud and ...trendy. I dunno, I suppose I'm just over the "sceney" places these days, and Foundry just seemed to be trying so hard.

      The drinks were so-so -- a bit on the sweet end for my taste.

      2 Replies
      1. re: litchick
        opinionatedchef RE: litchick Dec 3, 2010 08:48 AM

        it's funny; i saw none of that. if you sit in the back room, it's just any regular restaurant. at least it was for me.

        1. re: opinionatedchef
          t
          Tonality666 RE: opinionatedchef Dec 3, 2010 08:52 AM

          From my experience, they tend to seat diners "of a certain age" in the back, which is fine with me because it is quieter.

      2. SOBoston RE: opinionatedchef Dec 7, 2010 10:23 AM

        Went there late afternoon this past Sunday. They stilled had their limited menu out, so we chose a few different options.
        We got littlenecks, oysters, calamari and caesar with chicken. Everything was fine (we stayed pretty simple because we were eating later) besides the calamari---which was a salt mine. It was extremely overpowering and seemed as if they thought it would enhance some flavor of...I don't know? The tentacles? The frying oil?

        2 Replies
        1. re: SOBoston
          opinionatedchef RE: SOBoston Dec 7, 2010 09:22 PM

          well phooey. what a bummer. ours was perfect. when i saw those large long tentacles on the plate, I KNEW this squid was quality. I hope the oversalting was just a fluke.

          1. re: opinionatedchef
            SOBoston RE: opinionatedchef Dec 8, 2010 05:35 AM

            Agreed, I would like to try their more extensive menu, but it could take a while...

        2. m
          morecheesejer RE: opinionatedchef Feb 22, 2011 08:16 AM

          I've been here 3-4 times now and I'm left with wanting to like it more than I do. I really like the space, the service is generally attentive, location is convenient, and the beer list and cocktails are solid. The food rarely seems like anything I couldn't do for myself on most weeknights. A quick rundown of yesterday's lunch:
          Assorted pickled vegetables - A nice start, really can't complain
          A friend had been raving about their pasta so I got the fettuccine. The pasta itself was good, but the tomato cream sauce really didn't taste like anything. The onions in the dish were sweet and a welcome punch of flavor. There were unnecessarily large hunks of chicken breast that I thought added nothing. It wasn't overcooked, but had no flavor to speak of.
          I'm starting to think it's a place best used for a few of the interesting apps, a cocktail, and a burger. It's nice to have those places around, but I feel like it could be so much more.

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          Foundry on Elm
          255 Elm St, Somerville, MA 02144

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