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West Bridge - Kendall Square

I heard that New Bridge, a french inspired restuaruant fronted by Aquitaine alumn, is opening this week. Anyone have any particulars on menu, price point, bar focus (cocktails, craftbeer), ect ect, ect?

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  1. I don't know any details beyond the fact that the restaurant's name is WEST Bridge, not "New Bridge."

    West Bridge, 1 Kendall Sq., Cambridge, 617-945-­0221

    1. First off, it's called West Bridge. You're correct that it's an Aquitane alum. I believe he spent time in New York at some pretty big name spots (I think it was Eleven Madison Park). I took a look in the window, and there seemed to be 8 or so beers on tap. My eyesight is terrible, but I remember seeing a Pretty Things and BBC. Don't recall what else. Also, I believe Grub Street had some sample dishes from the menu last week. I'm sure you can find it online.

      1. Correct name is West Bridge. No particulars on their website, http://www.westbridgerestaurant.com/
        Someone on the restaurant's fb wrote that they ate there, liked the duck, egg in a jar, and cucumber cocktail.

        3 Replies
        1. re: CookieLee

          They had a private party on Friday night. I'm guessing that's where the comment came from (sign on the door said it was closed for a private party but would open this week). I'd take any comments from last week with a huge grain of salt since I'm assuming that was an invite only special event.

          1. re: mkfisher

            is this in the complex with the Blue Room etc?thx.

        2. According to Grub Street the bar will be managed by Eastern Standard alum Josh Taylor, so I would guess that they will feature some fancy cocktails.

          Here is the link to the article which includes the menu: http://boston.grubstreet.com/2012/05/...

          1 Reply
          1. re: nickls

            nick, thx so much for posting this. looks terrific, eh?! the duck egg, cod, and duck plates have my name all over them!!

          2. I stopped in last evening and liked every bit about this place. The menu is definitely a bit meat heavy, but the dishes are small enough so that you don't feel too overwhelmed. The proseco on tap wasn't ready last night but the cocktails and wine list kept me happy.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Snowflake

              we almost went here last night but did Lonestar instead (mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa). particular dishes you loved?

            2. Small plate $7-$14
              Entrees $20+
              Entrees to share $40+

              Bad dining experience there, but excellent customer service and enjoyed the food. Highlight was the pig head (described as being like a head cheese cake) and the duck terrine. Low point was the calamari.

              15 Replies
              1. re: viperlush

                Curious - if you liked the food & the service, how could it be bad?

                1. re: jgg13

                  My dining companions. Thankfullly it was my last meal out with one of the couples. But the manager Patrick handled it well as did our waitress. And although I felt guilty eating the comped food I did enjoy it.

                  Surpisingly all the yelp reviews are on point. I wish it was a little less expensive and the portions a little bigger, but I do intend to return. And it is a great addition to Kendall 1.

                  1. re: viperlush

                    We went last Friday and my wife is stil talking about the lobster entree with french gnocchi, brussels sprouts and bbq sauce. Totally agree that it's priced a little high, especially for those smaller plates. I stuck with beer (mildly underwhelmed by the selection - Jack D'or, Notch Session, Allagash White and a few others), but my wife loved the Proscecco they have on tap.

                    1. re: mkfisher

                      When I was there, the Prosecco on tap was catalytic. As soon as one glass was poured at the bar, the bartender got requests for 2 or 3 more.

                      We definitely liked our round of drinks we had. The bar manager Josh took his training from Jackson Cannon/Eastern Standard with him and executed the drinks to the same high level of quality.

                      Unfortunately, the food menu was rather veggie unfriendly, so we'll stick to visiting for drinks only.


                      1. re: yarm

                        When we seated the waitress asked if there were any allergies or if anyone was a vegetarian. I wonder if we said yes would they have prepared veggie friendly dishes that aren't on the menu.

                        1. re: viperlush

                          Most can do it if asked, but out of all the restaurants in town, I don't want to specifically go some place where they have to do something special for me. When the restaurant choice is out of my hands, then I am glad when they can help me out.

                          With enough pestering, the veggie unfriendly Citizen Pub & Oyster Bar (replete with their pig roasts) put together a rather good vegetarian menu. It's by request and not attached to their regular menu, but it does appear on their website in full glory. So hopefully someone at West Bridge is reading this (and often restaurants do).

                      2. re: mkfisher

                        mk, we made it here 2 wks ago I very rarely mention pricing in my CH posts about a place but I do agree w/ you about the small plates being too high priced. We had quite a few small plates(only) and the bill was high for our not leaving full. ( We had the duck egg, foie gras,jerusalem artichoke chowder, scallop ($14. One.) , and the only dish that wowed me, flavorwise, was the ' Peas & Favas, shitake bacon, goat cheese cream, red quinoa . ' Service was fine and we enjoyed seeing the co-owner/former Aquitaine GM .Wine and bar drinks were v good. The room is bright and sunny, well laid out and comfortable , but the decor is disappointingly white, w/ black and brown. Def needs color imo. Nothing to rush back for but it will be interesting to see how it grows, and i wish them the best.

                        1. re: opinionatedchef

                          O.C., we were there on Saturday and we second the wow factor on the fava and pea dish as well as your other comments . We also agree that portions were small even on the full size plates. I did enjoy my char with some type of intense citrusy sauce and some very flavorful artichoke hearts. One other observation: this place is LOUD, even when only 3/4 full, probably due to all the hard surfaces. Otherwise I do think it has a lot of potential.

                          1. re: GaryK

                            Gary, I also enjoyed the char (the crispy brioche substituting for crispy skin was a whimsical touch). I would probably pass on the cauliflower next time (not much evidence of the bone marrow listed as an ingredient). The smores dessert with miso graham crust was pure indulgence, not to be missed.

                          2. re: opinionatedchef

                            actually, opinionated chief, you often mention pricing - see your recent post on Bergamot - nothing wrong with mentioning pricing if you think the value to quality to cost ratio is off.

                            1. re: teezeetoo

                              funny, tz2, i did mention pricing on posts for these 2 places (and for the bargain wings night at Soul Fire ) but i rarely do. I think it's because we don't eat at overpriced spots in general.

                        2. re: viperlush

                          Haha, fair enough. I didn't consider that! :)

                          1. re: jgg13

                            Yeah, its never fun when you are the only nondrinker surrounded by loud opinionated drunks. I figured that the least I owe the restaurant for the seven comped Small plates is a positive Chowhound review. I truly appreciated it and I give them mad props for the way it was handled. We had already asked for the check for the round of drinks and calamari with the intention to go across the courtyard when the manager offered to bring us "their best dishes" because he didn't want us to leave hungry.

                      3. re: viperlush

                        I was there Friday and really enjoyed the calamari (however I wish I had some bread to soak up the broth). Thought it was an interesting presentation and the flavors were outstanding. While there I also had the radish toasts, pigs head, cauliflower and sweetbreads and thoroughly enjoyed everything. Thought the room and service were outanding too.

                        1. re: mats77

                          Funny it was the lack of bread (though clearly written on menu that it is requestable) that lead my drunk waitress of five years dining companion to lecture the waitress and her manager. Also she assumed that it would be large enough for six of us to share and felt that the waitress should have clearly explained that we would need more food (even though the waitress repeatedly asked if we wanted anything else).
                          Those radishes toasts were also very tasty, though I wish that the mushrooms were more evenly distributed. Some had none and others had a lot. Definately a good value. I'm looking forward to stopping by after work for a coupled small plates and a glass of wine. And I encourage anyone who orders the duck terrine to not overlook the chutney on the plate. Unfortunately it wasn't until the last bite did someone think to smear some on the toast with the terrine. According to him it completely transformed it from great to excellent.

                      4. What's the latest? I'm intrigued by reports of meaty menus. Thanks!

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: yumyum

                          I tried the veal chop, sadly it was tough/ overcooked even on a re-do (probably pre-cooked and then warmed up?)

                          1. re: yumyum

                            Also tried the pigs head cake and found it to be dry, lacking the unctuous quality one expects from pigs head, a la Craigie or Russell house, didn't finish it. Enjoyed my drink though (Aegean Sunset)

                            1. re: barleywino

                              Wow. Sounds like this place isn't hitting it for you. Shame. I want you to eat well.

                              1. re: yumyum

                                I did enjoy their smores dessert! If you're looking for something meaty, may I suggest the suckling pig trio at Troquet-- the pork belly and rillette were not particularly special but the 3rd item, loin wrapped in fatty skin and deepfried, was spectacular

                          2. Egg in a Jar: for god's sake, go to the bar immediately and order yourself one of these. Duck egg, duck skin, mushrooms, pureed potato (possibly?), the whole thing is how I want to eat breakfast for ever, except that I ate it for dinner.

                            I remembered I was supposed to have some veggies, so we also split a scallop/oyster/black pepper/escarole plate - a light counterpart to the rich egg.

                            The kitchen was kind enough to send out some seaweed/rice crackers and bacon/maple butter - other than having the consistency of soft frosting, a cool combination.

                            1 Reply
                            1. This Zagat Boston roundup of fall dishes includes the short rib at West Bridge (last slide), which is indeed phenomenal: http://blog.zagat.com/2012/09/bostons...

                              I'm also one of those people that was floored by the Egg in a Jar dish, featured it in my Stuff Magazine review back in June. I just like their food all around, and the bar program is terrific, probably the best in the vicinity of Kendall Square.


                              1 Reply
                              1. re: MC Slim JB

                                Finally got to West Bridge. Thought the egg in a jar was very good. The best mashed potato dish I have ever tried, but I do think it is really primarily a mashed potato dish and people should know that going in. Thought the uni butter with the mussels was very tasty. Too much potato in the clam chowder (I guess potatos was my big gripe). Had the lamb shoulder for two, which I really liked, but you need to be ready for a cut of meat that will have a lot of chewy gummy bits (kind of reminded me of some of the sharing dishes at Persephone). The bar program was outstanding. Tried three diffierent drinks and I must say that the bar program is wonderful. Had a drink (actually 2) that was a house made cucumber vodka with rice vinegar and green tabasco. Was hesitant to try it, but on one taste it was clear they had really knocked it out of the park. The acidity and mild spicy bite paired perfectly with the very cucumbery base. Best mixed drink I have had in years.

                              2. I've been to the bar at West Bridge a couple of times recently, and I have to say the bar staff really rocks! Great service both times and great drinks. Very friendly and personable, didn't bat an eye when someone down the bar ordered a vodka soda, but also really knew their stuff. I like the selections they have on their cocktail menu as well, a nice range of different types of drinks.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: nickls

                                  Visited for the first time on Friday and was also quite impressed by the bar. Even coming directly from a pre-dinner drink (or two) at Brick & Mortar, I didn't feel there was any noticeable dip in the creativity or execution of the cocktails after moseying on over West Bridge. Not much a surprise though, considering the ESK pedigree of their bar manager.

                                  I was particularly enamored with the Wheelwright cocktail. Wray & Nephew Overproof rum tastes a bit like vanilla-flavored jet fuel on its own, and it takes a deft hand to mix it into a cocktail and not have it completely dominate. I felt that the Sea Plane was less successful, but then again Last Word variations always have a lot to live up to, and I rarely find them to be as compelling as the original.

                                  The food was quite good as well. The egg-in-a-jar definitely lived up to the hype (and it certainly had a lot of hype to live up to). Thought the venison entree was excellent, three very rare slices of loin with a nice smear of a raisin puree served on a bed of a somewhat chewy whole grain with which I was not familiar. They also had a very tasty special that was chewy little bits of pork belly and slices of apple, served in a paper bag "like popcorn" (the waiter's description, not mine).

                                  All in all, it is a welcome addition to a neighborhood that is really coming into its own. I still remember years ago when the Kendall Square theater first opened and that whole area was basically abandoned warehouses and vacant lots. It seems like these days you can't walk a block in the Central-Inman-Kendall triangle without stumbling across yet another place doing creative, thoughtful, and delicious food and/or drink.

                                2. Just went tonight. We had six small plates for two, which were all super flavorful without being salty. The egg in a jar was great but came out with two other very rich dishes, which made it a little harder to appreciate. The calamari was very nice, although quite different from how you would generally expect calamari; they were a lot like thin noodles. The cocktails were excellent; we were going to bar-hop but decided to stick around for another round. I particularly liked the Francis Dana. Very loud - I wouldn't send my parents here even though they would like the food.

                                  1. Went again on Friday, the Peas & Leeks (w/sweetbreads) and the Lamb & Fava were exceptional appetizers and the two fish mains we had (fluke & trout) were perfectly done and the flavors were more complex than the lamb for 2 we had the last time. This place is really hitting on all cylinders. The 4 Snakes in the Grass that the two of us had didn't hurt either.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: ScotchandSirloin

                                      We recently went here for the first time - everything was really great - the service was outstanding - we sat at the bar and ordered a couple of small plates when our friends called about a spontaneous night out - the staff held a table for us all on a busy night - just super friendly and accommodating throughout. The bartender Josh was also quite pleasant.

                                      We had the cauliflower, carrots, seafood potage, a soft shell crab special, asparagus, lamb and fava and the venison - executed well all-around. My faves were the cauliflower - nice charred and piquant flavors - good interplay. Soft shell quite perfectly fried with a good lemony sauce, attractive presentation. Carrots we were told were braised in carrot juice and then grilled to order - very good "carrot-forward" dish as Josh remarked. Seafood potage was so flavorful - the uni-ness had us dredging our bread for every drop. Also, venison was tender and smoky, and there were about 7-8 slices, not the 3 that were noted before (although ours was tenderloin, so the prior reported quantity could have been a different cut.) This was my favorite of the night, surprisingly.

                                      Generous pours, well made cocktails.

                                      Appreciated the care given to the two or three veg dishes.

                                      I feel like I have read some downer reports on this place, and it is loud and a touch pricey, but you get value. I would return here in a minute.

                                    2. I went to West Bridge last night. It wasn't quite what I expected, but still enjoyed myself.

                                      1. It is a seriously, seriously loud place. If you can, try to get one of the booths in the window. Otherwise you'll be in the back in the dark or right next to the bar. At least on a Thursday, that bar was hopping.

                                      2. This might be blasphemy, but I was quite unimpressed by the egg in a jar. I had extremely high expectations, but it just didn't deliver. The dish was served somewhat lukewarm and was extremely salty. The egg was poached perfectly and the potatoes were enjoyable, but the mushrooms had almost no flavor and added nothing.

                                      3. The cauliflower and carrot dishes were amazing. I really enjoyed both of them, and would highly recommend them. The carrots were so flavorful (others have said very carrot-y, which I agree with) and the cauliflower was paired with some very interesting and complementary flavors.

                                      4. Seriously, no s'mores?? That's what I was most excited for. The ice cream was good, but it wasn't what I was looking for.

                                      All in all, I'd give it another try. Definitely not on a Thursday though - maybe a Sunday or Monday when the bar scene didn't make the whole place too loud to hear.

                                      1. We finally made it to West Bridge for cocktails and dinner tonight. The place is nice to look at with a good energy level - the new full bar-equipped patio will be a hit in warmer times but it seemed pretty cold out there tonight.

                                        Inside bartender Mike was great - executing delicious, interesting, balanced cocktails from the the house menu (Fear and Love was the overwhelming favorite - can't wait to whip up some pineapple clove syrup and make it at home!). The draft rose was also a fun addition - and tastier than the by the glass options from Austria. The service was top notch from him all evening as we dined (his only patrons) at the bar instead of at little tables with stools nearby (the 3 very inviting booths by the window were full). The beer list was uninteresting / uninspiring for me - literally nothing that tempted me.

                                        Unfortunately, we had mixed to not great results with the food (six small plates for two adults - enough, but just barely). The housebaked, crusty warm sourdough bread which we had to request was the best of all the food we were served (recommend that everyone ALWAYS request it!). We also enjoyed the roasted radish, fresh cheese, and anchovy salad along with the daily special of manila clams - fried as well as steamed with a smoked mussel aioli sauce with flavorful cherry tomatoes - the bread came in very handy here. The only complaint here is that four tiny fried clams and seven tiny steamed clams is not much of a portion, even for a small plate.

                                        The much-hyped egg in a jar was a TOTAL disappointment - it was a nicely seasoned, smooth potato puree with some crispy duck skin shards, but there was NO discernible egg (duck or otherwise) or mushroooms as detailed. We would not order this again.

                                        The beef brisket was fork tender but underseasoned and accompanied by a cloyingly sweet red cabbage braise and we literally had to ask Mike " where is the horseradish?" -- apparently it was in the tiny little flavorless white chips we had already eaten on the edge of the plate. There were also a few forgettable gnocchi on this plate.

                                        We would not have ordered the potato dish had we realized it was so redundant with the so-called egg dish - this was the total failure of the evening - bland and dry potatoes of several varieties, some were riced, some were roasted, and some were fried as chips in a large bowl on top of smears of powdered nori and reduced worcestershire sauce-this was a complete fail - no melding of flavors, unappealing textures -- we did not finish it and would never order it again.

                                        The farro and pumpkin was very tasty and a generous portion but my wife thought the honey was too sweet and needed to be balanced with something salty (cured pork of some sort) or bitter (greens?). I would order this again just the comforting, well-cooked farro.

                                        Dinner for two with two cocktails and a glass of wine each with a generous tip for Mike totaled $180 - I'd rather (and will) spend that amount at Bergamot for future dinners. The food here seems fresh and local, and generally prepared with a high level of skill, but at the same time it seems to be an unfocused menu with a little bit everything, especially trendy stuff, going on and would really benefit from more focus and intensification of whatever flavors are actually envisioned to be showcased.

                                        Given the uneven food experience, we opted to skip dessert options and head to Toscanini's, where there was amazing saffron and salty caramel ice cream to be had (burnt fluff was temping and tasty as well) - Tosci's is SO back on top of the ice cream game - wow.

                                        West Bridge is not going to be an addition to our destination dining list (Bergamot and Rendezvous win in this category, but we also need to try Bondir if we can ever plan far enough ahead to secure a table) -- if we are around Kendall Square, we will most likely stop in for cocktails and their awesome bread and possibly a snack - just not for dinner again.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: rlh

                                          r, thx much for taking the time. we had been once and were not wowed and had been looking to see if any of their dishes really inspired us to return.

                                          1. re: rlh

                                            Thanks for the great write up. We went about a month ago and left with mixed feelings as well. We went on a Monday (not a night we normally dine out) and I felt like everything had potential but it just wasn't there. It's tough because I was left wondering if this was just a Monday experience or an overall experience and it sounds like it's more the overall experience.

                                            I thought the space was very nice and another time when I went for a drink, I really enjoyed the bar and the bartenders. Very knowledgeable and friendly and I love that they have Chartreuse VEP for $13 a glass (great deal!).

                                            This time when we got a full dinner, I left feeling underwhelmed by the service. When my dc ordered a glass of the sparkling Malbec (which we both found interesting unique), he poured 3/4 of a glass which finished the bottle and then said he would be back to top it up. He then forgot to come back so we reminded him, at which point he poured mixed the new wine into the old one.

                                            Similiary, we asked for bread when we ordered and it was forogotten until we reminded him. When the bread came out it was stale. I asked if they baked daily and he said that they did, but there is no way the bread we were served was baked that day. Considering the extended life of levain bread, I wouldn't have been surprised if it was baked two days before and left out.

                                            We had four dishes. I remember loving the kale salad which had a wonderfully bright and delicious dressing - it was a great dish. The seafood potage was good and I thought the squid "noodles" were a cool idea but the broth tasted like they didn't reduce the wine. The brisket dish was a well designed dish, but the gnocchi were hard and the entire thing just had this feel like it was a pale version of what it was supposed to be. Everything was luke-warm and the sauce had solidified a little. The whole plate felt like it had been sitting around. It had all these little elements, but each element was only a bite or two. It was five little gnocchi and maybe a quarter cup of red cabbage with a small portion of brisket. I can't even remember the fourth dish we had.

                                            We left underwhelmed. I like the space and would definitely go back for drinks at the bar. The wine and cocktails definitely look interesting. The dishes all seemed interesting in concept, but the execution just wasn't there and we definitely found the portions small for the price. I kept finding myself getting excited more by the idea of the dish than the actual flavor.

                                          2. I'm sure getting a lesson in speaking up despite the public opinion, considering this collection of recent meh reports. Everyone loved West Bridge, so I shut up - but on my two visits I was left with the impression that the standouts (nicely cooked meat, that egg) were the result of standard sous vide techniques, and the rest of the food was underseasoned and, sometimes, undercooked.

                                            My sincere hope is that ten years from now, someplace cooking like West Bridge will open and folks will be bored, because sous vide will be so commonplace.

                                            FDA guidelines are updated every four years, and 2013 is the year we're due (in fact, they were supposed to be out in May). Low-atmosphere packaging (aka vacuum-sealed food) is included for the first time ever, meaning that municipal health codes will begin to incorporate SV into their codes, obviating the need for a $35K-$50K HAACP plan.

                                            I did like one of my cocktails, and I did get the impression that the entire staff is aiming high and cares about the drinks, food, experience.