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Mar 28, 2011 08:28 AM

Bergamot - Nice Place, But not quite up to the level of Ravings I've Read

Had dinner there 2 weeks ago, and had been meaning to post.

We had:

Beet Salad - Oh well, another beet salad

Pea soup - Truly delicious

Shrimp salad - oh well shrimp salad

The two salads were very nicely executed, but nothing out of the ordinary.


Steak - Fine rendition

Flounder - Very Nice

Plantain Gnocchi - Clunky, odd texture/flavor combo, would not order it again.

Dessert - Panna Cotta and sherbet. Texture on the Panna Cotta was a bit too gelatinous. Would not order it again, and I LOVE panna cotta.

Service - Very good, almost TOO attentive.

Honestly, a delightful place, helpful staff, good food. But nothing really shined for me. There was not a single morsel in the whole meal, with the possible exception of the pea soup, where I felt, WOW, I have to eat this again.

Certainly better than Dali across the street which I generally dislike.

A nice addition to the scene, but in my book, another higher end place with not that much to distinguish it from a dozen others in Boston area. The night I was there, which was a Wednesday, it was 80% empty even when we left (after an early dinner) at about 7:45, which should be prime dining hour. I am concerned for the future of this place. I will add that the one other night I was in that neighborhood on a week night I poked my head in the door (also about 6:30) and it was 3/4 empty. This was over a month ago...

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  1. Most times I have been there before 9 or 10, the place is packed.

    We only sit at the bar and the service there is great regardless of how crowded it is. I cannot speak for the experience on the regular dining area.

    While I will not argue your experience or opinions of the food/service there, I will say that the place is not hurting for business from my observations.

    8 Replies
    1. re: yarm

      Glad to hear they are generally doing well. Again, I liked the food, it was just not quite as RAVE worthy as I had imagined.

      1. re: StriperGuy

        stripes, i'm a little confused because i think of you as an adventurous eater. what about the steak and flounder dishes attracted you to order them? what was their treatment? just saying 'steak dish' and 'flounder dish' doesn't tell us anything.

        1. re: opinionatedchef

          There really was not anything on the menu that was CRAZY adventurous. The one other thing that called to me was the duck, but the sides were a bit boring, swiss chard I think.

          Bavette steak medium rare, nicely sliced with (potatoes) I think.

          Flounder served skin free, but on the bone, well cooked, with a side of flavorful red colored rice.

          Both well executed.

          The one adventurous dish was the plantain gnocchi which, as I mention was not a particular hit.

          In short, almost nothing on the menu felt like anything that I would not be able to whip up in short order, on a not even so ambitious night of cooking at home.

          Some thread recently had Bergamot down as one of the top 3-4 restos in all of Boston right now; so my expectations were rather high.

          Again, there was not a single dish that made me go "I MUST eat here again."

          And seriously on the service front, they were doing the "fold your napkin when you go to the bathroom" trick which felt contrived in a mellow Cambridge setting. Even in a very high end place it is a bit much, in that sitting it was just silly.

          1. re: StriperGuy

            FWIW Craigie does that too. I don't remember if other cambridge spots do or not, but those have been the only two I've definitely noticed it. It kind of annoys me when they do that, particularly if you're at a table for two, so now it's just you and the server who is folding up the napkin.

            Apropos of very little, I don't know if he still is, but I'm 99.9% sure that akimenko was a server there the last time I ate there a month or so ago. Going back to the thread here about what happened w/ the kickstarter rewards, should have asked him and reported back :)

            1. re: jgg13

              Yah, the napkin thing feels silly, old school, and intrusive.

              Even in a higher end place, the 2nd time they do it, it drifts to annoying. At Bergamot it just felt incongruous.

              1. re: StriperGuy

                You know, I posted last week looking for a "low key" kind of place for a celebration, and I almost put in, A place with really good food, but where they don't re-fold your napkin when you go to the bathroom. It feels a bit starchy and overly fancy for the kind of place I was looking for.

                1. re: cpingenot

                  Too funny. Guess it is a pretty good barometer...

        2. re: StriperGuy

          (a) My DC has had the salmon pastrami appetizer twice and has not stopped raving about it.
          (b) It's been packed or nearly so every time we've been there. Close to ten times now, as it's in my hood.

      2. I think you more or less described it well. A lot of the people I've seen with negative comments about this place fall into the category of, "I liked it (a lot, sometimes) but was expecting more due to the hype". If that's the worst thing someone can say about a place, that ain't bad :)

        I find it to be a solid place that fits into the category of a nice night out that won't break the bank at the same time. I don't think they're really doing anything all that super innovative, and sure some dishes are better than others (their pea green salad last spring was awesome!). But as opposed to say, craigie, which seems to go out of their way to carve their own niche food-wise, to me, bergamot has always felt like they were trying to do simple, higher end food backed by attentive service and a non-stuff atmosphere.

        2 Replies
        1. re: jgg13

          I have to comment as Bergamot is one of my favorite go to places. Pricing is reasonable enough that I can go frequently and don't need a special occassion. Food is consistently good, often amazing, and the daily blackboard specials allow for creativity and variety. The thing that really makes Bergamot my "go to" place is consistency. Too many restaurants I've tried you have a great meal one day, and the next time you go back everything is different or off. Bergamot is good every time. And I have to give kudos to my favorite server there, Jason -- he does a tremendous job, is just attentive enough but never intrusive, and can fold my napkin all he wants.

          1. re: dlibes

            Don't get me wrong, I like it a lot. I would prefer to go there over some of the other places I was thinking of when I mentioned Craigie - largely because I think they try to foster a non-stuffy atmosphere, which I appreciate. I think it's a solid place, with reasonable prices for what you're getting. I was just agreeing with the sentiment that it doesn't have a real stamp on the world, food-wise, that defines it.

        2. pretty much exactly how I felt about Bondir last week. Good, but unspectacular.

          279 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139

          15 Replies
          1. re: rchudy

            I've had very good to pretty good food there. What really impressed me, though, was the front-of-house feel—a bunch of people who seem to really believe in the place and enjoy working there. And the interestingly angled wine list: I'm such a fan of Bandol reds!

            I suppose it does tend to receive more than its share of hyperbole. But I'm rooting for it.

            1. re: Jolyon Helterman

              Kai their wine guy is rather amazing. Here's an interview with him:


            2. re: rchudy

              spectacular to us these days is consistent and delicious. somewhere you can keep going back to (and can afford to), where you feel welcome, with interesting and delicious menu offerings. i felt that way at bondir and bergamot. have not felt that way at lots of places in boston.

              1. re: gramercyfoodie

                I keep wondering how everyone considers Bergamot moderately priced, and how it's not just for a special occasion. When I ate there a couple of months ago two of us spent over $100 with just 3 glasses of wine between us. When did this become moderately priced? The food was good, but not spectacular, Perhaps I was expecting too much because of the fuss, but that's just another way of saying that it's not all that fabulous. There are restaurants that you can get consistently great meals at that price.

                1. re: GrillDawg

                  personally, i thought bergamot expensive when i ate there, but then again we usually have 'bistro' or 'upper bistro' meals that consistently run us $125 for 2, including gratuity; including apps(mid $teens) and entrees(upper$ 20's) and 2 glasses of wine ($20); rarely/occasionally dessert.

                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                    I guess these days this is considered moderately priced. Is that the general consensus? How high does the check average have to be before the joint's considered expensive?

                  2. re: GrillDawg

                    Unfortunately we've found most places pricing entrees at <$20 a plate....including local places that are just upscale bars. For quasi-fine dining I'd happily pay a bit more and feel that it's reasonable.

                    1. re: GrillDawg

                      Yah, seriously.

                      Three of us had dinner and a decent bottle of wine and with tip we broke 2 bills (think it was $220 and we only had one dessert).

                      If that's reasonable for Camberville, what's expensive?

                      1. re: StriperGuy

                        Craigie on Main, Salts, Rialto, TW Food, Hi-(P)Rise, Journeyman...

                        1. re: Bob Dobalina

                          I guess. I found the prices fairly comparable to Craigie.

                          1. re: StriperGuy

                            I have found the prices for starters and mains to be $5-$10 more each at Craigie than at Bergamot. And the Bergamot three course blackboard menu is definitely affordable dining in my book. Your mileage may vary.

                            1. re: dlibes

                              Just for the record, the blackboard special the night I was there was $2 different then ordering a la carte as long as you did not get the priciest entree.

                              1. re: dlibes

                                Craigie has 4 courses for $40 on Sunday nights. Ten Tables has 3 courses for $33 or 4 course for $40! How would you compare Bergamont with these two at these prices?

                                Ten Tables
                                5 Craigie Circle, Cambridge, MA 02138

                  3. We enjoyed our meal very much, but not a year later and I can't tell you without looking at a menu what we had. My experience was colored by the extreme heat in the restaurant the night we dined there. I'm often warm, my wife is never too warm, and she was too warm that night. I would like to go sit at the bar, but I can't remember how many seats it had, and what time I'd need to be there to snag two. I'd really like to try the food again when I don't feel I'm the eventual entree.