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Abigail's - food?

I've seen very mixed reviews of this Kendall Square location, with most of the positives for the cocktails, while the food (and sometimes the service) more often rated poorly.

Is it worth going to for dinner? If yes - what are good choices from the current menu?

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  1. The service is fine inside. Never had any complaints. Can be somewhat slow outside.

    The raw bar items are solid. The bbq options are generally excellent. It looks like the dinner entrees may have changed recently, so I can't really speak to those.

    2 Replies
    1. re: mkfisher

      I like their bbq brunch and I like their raw bar, particularly the ceviche and the fish carpaccio. I find the wine list pleasant and well-priced. I haven't had their dinner main dishes: I'd check the menu and see if they appeal. My recollection is they only take reservations for 6 or more but that may have changed. I've enjoyed my few visits here but it's a pretty big menu so I'm far from expert on it.

      1. re: mkfisher

        I've gone to their brunch twice. We loved it once - both food and service. The second time both were mediocre at best

      2. I ate at the bar there recently. Drinks and food were very good. Service was excellent. Friendly and attentive and fun, but not overbearing at all.

        1. Thanks all - I've seen indications that the food and service quality declined with the new menu. Again, this would be a group dinner, so I'm hoping someone has had dinner off the current menu. We would be there on a weeknight, and I find that service complaints are often for a weekend night - and then often for parties without reservations. You're right though - they only do take them for six or more . . . and tack on an 18% gratuitity for the privalege.

          2 Replies
          1. re: velotrain

            I actually ate at Abigail's just this week and had a great meal. My favorite dish out of all we ordered was a salad that contained grilled artichokes, burrata, simply dressed arugula, and a whipped concoction they called a "smoked tomato pesto." it was a delicious, very well-balanced dish. We had to ask for bread because the tomato "pesto" seemed more like a spread. The bread seemed a little sad, but my friends and I all enjoyed everything else we ate, and we are a pretty tough crowd.

            1. re: velotrain

              with regard to adding a gratuity for service for six or more, this is quite common. i also find it's easier than negotiating the tipping policy across six diners who are splitting a bill. as we normally tip 20% on any good or better service, we haven't been offended by this policy when we encounter it. I'm curious as to why you find it objectionable?

            2. I've had pretty good experiences with their lunch menu, but have not tried their dinner items. The one item that was a miss was a total miss for me was their grilled calamari salad under apps. There was something in the salad that was bitter, and not in a slight balance of flavors kind of way. I kept checking to see if it might have been a due to a charring of a calamari, but that wasn't it. Since I couldn't find what it was it was hard to avoid - all the non-bitter parts were good.

              1. I ate at Abigail's this weekend and thought the food was good. Their fried oysters are actually some of the best that I have tasted and they seem to do very well with fish. For dinner I ordered their wedge salad and their shrimp-yucca fritters. I wouldn't recommend the fritters, but the salad was very refreshing (a sherry/bacon dressing rather than the standard bleu cheese). Others in my party seemed to enjoy their dishes as well. To echo what others have said, the cocktails were fantastic. I had the Persian Bellini and it was amazing, great flavor and a good value. I look forward to going back for drinks and oysters.

                1. I've eaten at Abigail's a number of times, for lunch and dinner. There are a few good things on the menu - the arugula, artichoke and burrata salad mentioned above is tasty, the fries are good, they do a perfectly nice cheese plate. But generally I find the food under seasoned and generally lackluster. My last visit there (<2 weeks ago) I ordered fish tacos, which were brought to the table without any sauce/crema (so were battered fish and cabbage on corn tortillas, not a heck of a lot of flavor) and when I asked if something was missing the server brought a garlicky, aoili-like sauce that didn't really fit with the dish.

                  I'm also consistently disappointed in the sandwiches at lunch. The lunch salads are pretty good, but they come with no bread and (at least the times I've tried) there was no way to get a carb with your salad without ordering fries or a baked potato. I agree the cocktails and beer are good, and I've never had any problems with the service - everyone's always been friendly and at least competent. I like it a lot as a place for drinks after work, but definitely not a go-to food spot imo.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: avokate

                    wow, that sounds so strange that at lunchtime, when they have plenty of breads around for sandwiches, they won't happily bring you some bread. that sounds so stingy.

                    1. re: avokate

                      They will absolutely give you bread if you ask. I guess the reason they stopped serving bread automatically during lunch was that they ended throwing most of it out.

                    2. any recent opinions on abigail's? i went way back when and thought the food was solid, but subsequently heard that things were pretty uneven- with a seasonally changing (ish?) menu, that some refreshes were good, some not so much.

                      any contemporary impressions? also, scanning the website, the bbq brunch has more options than i realized and looks fun (love a good scrapple)- so anyone been to that recently? Thanks!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: valcfield

                        We took a friend from D.C. there last week, and he loved it. We had amazing cocktails, shared some raw bar items, oysters and ceviche, and enjoyed our entrees. I will say that the giant shrimp dish that I had, while pretty good, is not deserving of that moniker.

                      2. For some reason Abigail's has fallen out of our usual rotation. We decided to give it a try for brunch yesterday and I'm sad to say that we left sorely disappointed.

                        First off, a complaint about one member of the bar staff. There were two people back there: the woman took the novel approach of doing her job the entire time we were there. What a concept! The man on the other hand, did not. During the course of our entire meal (from the moment we sat down to the moment we left - roughly an hour) he did not wait on a single person at the bar and only made 2 drinks. What could he have been doing that whole time you ask? Well, he was alternating between playing with the record player (he did have time to put 3-4 different records on) and talking to the kitchen staff in what did not appear (but I don't know for sure) to be a work related conversation. At the end of our meal it appeared that the female bartender told him to turn off the record player, put back on the regular stereo that was on when we first walked in, and to get to back to work. What makes me so annoyed is that they're probably splitting the tip I left, and he did absolutely nothing to deserve it. End of rant.

                        Onto the food. Well, really only one item. I used to really enjoy the winsor sandwich they do with burnt ends or pulled pork and a fried egg on an english muffin. The burnt ends in particular were quite excellent. Sadly, they've stopped doing the burnt ends so I was forced to order the pulled pork. The pork itself was grossly under seasoned. They then piled this underwhelming pork on a barely toasted english muffin and topped with a fried egg and bbq sauce. My other big complaint on the sandwich besides the under seasoned pork was how watery the sandwich was. I don't know if they poured braising liquid on top of the meat once it was on the plate, or if they just didn't drain the pork, but either way it was pretty gross and made the bottom of the sandwich quite soggy.

                        I should point out that we have had many a good meal at Abigail's. This is an admittedly small sample, but after a performance like this I don't see it becoming part of the regular rotation.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: mkfisher

                          They still play vinyls? Wow. I was there a year ago and didn't even notice.

                          Our meal was fine, not wow, when we were there and as we don't get into Boston/Cambridge that often we have never been back.

                          1. re: mkfisher

                            We went there on Friday after the shelter-in-place request was lifted and the second suspect was caught. In addition to the camaraderie, we enjoyed our cocktails and our ricotta pie with chocolate ganache and toasted hazelnuts. We had the usual good service at the bar.