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Sep 20, 2011 12:46 PM

Has anyone tried Catalyst yet ?

I've heard reports that it's now open. Has anyone been ?

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  1. I was going to post similar, but am going Friday for lunch so I thought I'd just add my thoughts after I eat unadulterated.

    BUT if anyone's been, would love any recs!

    6 Replies
    1. re: yumyum

      Tried the wings which were tasty but a bit too understated for me, with none of the crunch and salty kick I was hoping for. The corn ravioli was a robust dish with plenty of corn/cheese/butter goodness, altho not as delicate as say Prezza or Sorellina's ravioli. The sole was on the overcooked side (unlike say at Bergamot) but the creamed leeks/lobster underneath were perfect. I would probably try the burger next time. Ambience at the bar was like sitting at a chemistry lab bench in a stripped down hotel lobby (probably intentional?) but otherwise fine.

      1. re: yumyum

        I had a lovely lunch at Catalyst today. I had the roasted cod over smashed potatoes with mussels and a chowder herb "nage". It was pretty perfect. Little bits of crispy bacon set off the perfectly cooked cod and the rich creamy broth was loaded with shallots, leeks, herbs and scattered with a handful of mussels. I expected competently cooked fish, not outstanding fish. This was the latter. I hope the picture below does it justice.

        Friend had the burger with no cheese, no bacon (and no fun, I muttered under my breath) but she loved it and ate every morsel on the plate. Not too huge, cooked as she ordered it, and placed on a buttery brioche (not my favorite) which seemed to make the meat slip out the back jack when she bit into it. Never mind, the house made ketchup and aioli and pickles were very good accompaniments and the thin crispy frites were also a very nice rendition of the classic style I like.

        The room is gorgeous. Kinda massive in that ICOB way, but with separate eating areas including a sleek bar with high bar tables, a fantastic lounge area with a fireplace (there will be fights soon for a spot in that room) and a light airy dining room with a view of the open kitchen. Service was polished and gracious.

        The menu at first glance is nothing special, when you consider the more interesting (to me) options at Area IV next door and Abigail's down the street. And I've enjoyed my one visit to Meadhall, also in that hood. So, there's plenty of competition, but they execute very well and the overall experience was a total pleasure. Free parking in the nearby garage is a plus as well (they will validate your ticket, details on the website).

        I will probably try to get to the other neighborhood places before I return to Catalyst, but for a new place I think it's worth a look. Bar menu looks especially good for a low-impact investigation of this newcomer.

        Pictures of food (natch):

        1. re: yumyum

          That cod looks like it was cooked perfectly. I've given up ordering it out cuz Ms 9 has the right technique, but Catalyst seems to have nailed it. Keep it flaky and translucent.

          1. re: 9lives

            i'll have to try the cod next time. the sole was inedible when I had it.

            1. re: barleywino

              Sole/flounder is much tougher than cod to nail perfectly. It's so thin and easy to dry out..:(

          2. re: yumyum

            Thanks. It looks great. I made a reservation for tomorrow. Excited to check it out.

        2. I had an excellent first experience at Catalyst. My DC and I ordered

          Baby beets salad - Very good rendition with shaved fennel and some fried balls of cheese.
          Corn soup - Very good as well, but could be a bit too creamy for lunch. I liked the fresh tarragon.
          Roasted cod - This was a rich dish as well with a lot of different things going on including potatoes and chowder. My DC loved it.
          Tournedos of Beef - One of the most tender pieces of beef I have had in awhile. Typical but excellent parsley bordelaise sauce. Perfectly done greens.

          For dessert we had a peach-almond tart which was outstanding. It was delicate and was appropriately buttery. The basil coulis provided a nice contrast.

          The room was beautiful and the service was a bit uneven, but the restaurant is so new. Overall, this was a great meal and I hope to return soon.

          1. Catalyst was great went for dinner the food was excellent and the service was outstanding. I knew William ( owner and chef) from AuJourd'hui and he didn't disappoint. The quality of the food was outstanding. There was music (a little loud) but ok. The bar big and inviting. There were some banquettes, the tables were wooden no table cloths with lots of room and the outside is wonderful on a nice night. l would definitely go back again for dinner.

            Catalyst Restaurant
            300 Technology Square, Cambridge, MA 02139

            5 Replies
            1. re: peach2020

              Went for dinner last night, and will wait a couple months before trying again. A couple of things were good (a pureed onion soup, the chicken liver mousse), the sole failed completely by being dry and flavorless, and all the hot food was delivered cold including the fish, the burger (which was done to perfection and would be dynamite if hot), fries, squash ravioli. We got the rookie service staff who delayed getting drinks, couldn't answer a really simple question about wine, kept trying to clear plates while we were actively eating, and we were even asked 'are you still working on that'. Oh boy. The room is great and so is the music. Really comfortable bar stools! I'm hopeful.

              1. re: sunalso

                Oh bummer! Did you send back the cold food? What did they say?

                1. re: yumyum

                  Truthfully, we did not send anything back as we were testing the waters at such a brand new place, and also trying to have a good time. Next time, I'll be more assertive if there are blatant problems, and I do want to return. But will wait.

                  Noticed that Area 4 was deserted when we left Catalyst, around 9:15pm. I hope Kendall can support all the new night time businesses!

                  1. re: sunalso

                    I did warn that the sole was inedible!

                    1. re: barleywino

                      You sure did. I would have gone for the cod, but was overruled by one of my mates.

            2. The original comment has been removed
              1. I've been, found it quite good with some expected shakedown-cruise unevenness. Favorite dish so far is the corn ravioli: fabulous. Might want to get that one before the local corn is over.


                1 Reply
                1. re: MC Slim JB

                  that could mean today; i went to the farmer's market and noted that there was no corn when i arrived.