Porter square must-visits?
When we lived in Somerville over five years ago, our favorite neighborhood places were the West Side Lounge and Cambridge Common, with Chez Henri and Evoo for fancy dinners. We're going back in April and have one night for a dinner out without kids. We would like to go somewhere in the old neighborhood - what is good these days? or should we go with an old favorite?
There've been some recent downhill alerts for Chez Henri. You might want to do a search for recent threads and decide if it's still worth going.
if you do end up doing chez henri, they are offering a 3 course meal for 2 (shared dessert) for $55 on buywithme.com/boston. i bought one and plan on making it out there sometime in april/may to give it a shot.
Sort of in the same neighborhoods would be Gran Gusto if you are interested in Italian. It's in North Cambridge.
We recently went to the West Side Lounge for the first time, and loved it. I had the Tuna Tartare appetizer and Paella, and my wife had the Spring Roll appetizer and the Pumpkin Ravioli. All four dishes just listed were outstanding. We also had the yummy Sparkling Concord Grape Martini. You'll be well-advised to make reservations. We lucked out getting bar seats.
In case it's not obvious, this is a strong recommendation.
West Side Lounge
1680 Mass Ave, Cambridge
In my opinion Cambridge common is not worth it.....my experience is the food has gone down hill from not such a great level to begin with. However, it is a neighborhood bar with that same student/neighborhood feel and you may want to step in just for nostalgia. I have not experienced it myself but some have said here that Temple Bar food has improved.
I have been at Chez Henri twice this month, both of groupons. If you check out this board and yelp, you'll see that most of their business these days is coupons of one sort or another and that seems to be working for them. I have heard that the Cuban has gone downhill, but didn't get to try it as the bar is always mobbed right when they open and you can only order the bar menu in the dining room after 9 pm. My first visit, a week night, we were a table of four in an almost empty restaurant, arriving at 6 when they opened. It took 45 minutes for the wine to appear and then another 30 at least for any food. That wasn't very smart as we would have ordered more wine had it come earlier. Bread came with the meal, not before, and it took at least 45 minutes to get the check. I was not thrilled with either of my two appetizers: a special of corn arepa with lobster on the top (corn too dense, cold, and lobster was tasteless) and the wedge salad was completely bereft of the promised serrano ham. My companions seemed thrilled (with the criolla bouillabaisse) and just ok (goat stew and steak frites). Second trip was Friday night arriving just after they opened at 5:30. Two of us, service was very prompt and attentive and bread came right away. Dining room was 85% full when we left a bit after 7....we got tostones as an app (it's a side)....very disappointing, stale, greasy, cold, with something that looked and tasted like thinned out tomato juice (supposed to be salsa). we shared the cod cake appetizer...scant lobster topping tasted like nothing, dish was a bit cold, romesco sauce good but not nearly enough of it. Like my friend, we found the bouillabaisse outstanding, wonderful broth, lots and lots of fish and shellfish, wonderfully spicy aioli. Very good value for the $29 price. If you decide to go, make a reservation even if you are going very early.
also there are new places in union square...journeyman, CasaB, a new outpost of TW Food opening soon where the Thai restaurant used to be...do a search.