HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >
Do you create unique foods? Get great advice
TELL US

Highland Kitchen ????

b
Buddernut May 19, 2011 08:02 PM

Hi .... Looking to meet up with some couple "friends" in Somerville area. Thought of Highland Kitch., but I've never been. I like what's on the menu and have read reasonable reviews. The possible problem is that one couple lives in a very rural area and gets freaked out by overcrowded restaurants. Is the seating and set-up really tight in there. As a reference point, they refuse to go to any North End place because of the sardine-style seating. The other couples live Boston, Cambridge and Burlington. Any insight would be appreciated.

-----
Highland Kitchen
150 Highland Ave, Somerville, MA 02143

  1. Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. s
    somerville01 May 19, 2011 08:38 PM

    The tables are pretty well spaced particularly if you get a booth. The bar area can get crowded. It's certainly not like the north end where there is 2 inches between tables. The food is solid as are the cocktails. It does get crowded so maybe plan on being there earlier in the evening to cater to your friends comfort zone? Great place though. I go there as often as possible.

    1. opinionatedchef May 19, 2011 10:48 PM

      It is VERY loud, just fyi. The Independent is a cozier more intimate feeling place, though still casual. Small place; bar in one half of room, banquettes and tables in other half.Excellent food/ notches up from Highland which is more home-style comfort food.

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/778291

      -----
      The Independent
      75 Union Sq, Somerville, MA 02143

      1. b
        bear May 20, 2011 03:26 AM

        I personally love Highland Kitchen, but think it would be too hopping for someone really sensitive to a bustling place.

        -----
        Highland Kitchen
        150 Highland Ave, Somerville, MA 02143

        1 Reply
        1. re: bear
          enhF94 May 20, 2011 03:59 AM

          Yep. I'd recommend it for the food without hesitation, but the tables are a little close for me. Although if you go at 5:30p, you're fine! That's when I go.

        2. g
          gramercyfoodie May 20, 2011 03:38 AM

          If I were you I'd go to Highland Kitchen and send the "friends" somewhere else :)

          -----
          Highland Kitchen
          150 Highland Ave, Somerville, MA 02143

          4 Replies
          1. re: gramercyfoodie
            Bob Dobalina May 20, 2011 06:05 AM

            Any North End place? That's bordering on pathological - how are they going to eat at a table for 8? They are going to be seated elbow-to-elbow with other friends, but that doesn't bother them? Honestly, they need to get a grip...

            In any case, the larger table settings at Highland Kitchen are a little more set aside from the rest of the tables - think corners, nooks, etc. - the tightness comes from the two rows of 2 or 4 seats where you can hear everyone's conversation around you, which frankly could be a little bit uncomfortable at first (esp. depending on the topic of conversation!) but now that I'm married, we have nothing to talk about and listen to everyone else's conversation, so it's no problem. (Just kidding, honey!)

            Last night had the special swordfish with fingerling potatoes, tasso ham, baby artichokes and an artichoke aioli - was great.

            1. re: Bob Dobalina
              b
              Buddernut May 20, 2011 07:02 AM

              Many thanks for the responses. I think I"ll push for Highland Kitchen. I don't think these folks mind sitting close with their own group, but they get freaked being on top of strangers at dinner. I do get their point .... but for me, Its usually about the food.

              -----
              Highland Kitchen
              150 Highland Ave, Somerville, MA 02143

              1. re: Buddernut
                yumyum May 20, 2011 07:40 AM

                Buddernut -- I love Highland Kitchen but I think you would do well to reconsider, unless you are going to be arriving very early. It gets WICKED crowded and loud and even waiting or eating at the bar can be stressful with people banging up against you and vulturing for your seat. In fact, I mentioned this to the hostess last time I was there ... knowing she couldn't really do anything about it but also knowing she should know how claustrophobic it can be.

                I honestly hate to write this because I'm an HK supporter and I'd love for more people to experience it, but for this particular krewe you might do better at a more spacious place like Russell House Tavern.

                Whatever happens, let us know how it goes.

                -----
                Highland Kitchen
                150 Highland Ave, Somerville, MA 02143

                Russell House Tavern
                14 JFK Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

              2. re: Bob Dobalina
                opinionatedchef May 20, 2011 09:40 AM

                hmmm, that sounds terrif. gotta go try their specials.thnx.

            2. m
              mmeadow May 22, 2011 04:41 PM

              Agreeing with Yumyum. I took a friend out to dinner at Highland Kitchen on a random Thursday night last November and it was packed with a 30-minute wait for the closely-spaced tables. Went to Russell House Tavern on a Friday night with a party of 7 (including flavor-cautious Route 495 denizens) and was seated immediately at a spacious table--I found this most impressive for any place in Harvard Square. The food at HK was OK but less interesting given how much people love the place; I felt the reverse about Russell House--a conservative menu executed with a quite a bit more flair than I expected.

              -----
              Highland Kitchen
              150 Highland Ave, Somerville, MA 02143

              Russell House Tavern
              14 JFK Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

              3 Replies
              1. re: mmeadow
                opinionatedchef May 22, 2011 05:28 PM

                very helpful; th you. what dishes would you recommend?

                1. re: mmeadow
                  d
                  DoubleMan May 22, 2011 07:26 PM

                  My few visits to Russell House may have been off nights, but my experience was the opposite of yours. No flair whatsoever, totally uneven execution, and everything all seemed really heavy - the apps were uniformly better than the entrees, though. And I've found that unless the drinks are made by the guy who used to work at Drink (Aaron?), the dilution levels and temperatures are all over the place. It's a shame that these newer places (Russell, Woodward, Foundry, and some others) promise a lot with their cocktail programs but can't maintain consistent quality among bartenders.

                  I'm a big HK cheerleader, but mostly because I think it's a consistently great value and a fun place to go out. HK has a really fun energy, one that I think Russell lacks, but that might be a better fit for the OP's group.

                  1. re: DoubleMan
                    m
                    mmeadow May 22, 2011 07:37 PM

                    The drinks were excellent at HK, and it's definitely a rockin' place, but inappropriate for folks who are overwhelmed by the North End. The food was better at HK, but on the night I was there Russell House exceeded my lowish expectations. Can't recall what we ate at either place, but aren't the apps usually better than the entrees no matter where you eat?

                2. p
                  postemotional1 May 22, 2011 08:10 PM

                  Do not go to Highland Kitchen if friend gets "freaked out by overcrowded restaurants." HK is crowded and very loud. I like the place but it definitely not for everyone.

                  If you want to show them some class go to Upstairs at the Pudding.

                  -----
                  Highland Kitchen
                  150 Highland Ave, Somerville, MA 02143

                  Show Hidden Posts