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Westbridge

c
cseshag Apr 20, 2013 07:52 PM

Just had dinner at Westbridge this evening with my wife, and I am curious to know if other Chowhounder's have been as completely underwhelmed as we were.

We started with the much ballyhooed Egg in a Jar and an order of the Lamb with Fava. The Egg in a Jar was pretty good, but didn't even come close to living up to the hype. The egg itself was very well cooked, but lacked flavor (perhaps some salt would have helped), and the puree was fine, but didn't seem like anything to generate the amount of buzz I have heard about this dish. The lamb with fava was quite nice (and my favorite thing we ordered).

After this, we ordered a couple more small plates - the octopus and the burgundy snails. And we also ordered the Venison with plans to share all the dishes. Consistent with the Egg in a jar, I think everything was quite well prepared, but the flavors (or lack thereof), just didn't impress or add much to the meal.

The octopus was nice and tender (not rubbery), but as a dish, none of the components (fennel, chorizo, and farro) seemed to complement each other in any meaningful way. It was like a dish of random components that sounded good, but really didn't work together well at all. Same for the burgundy snails. I've had escargot several times, and this was probably the least memorable.

Finally, the venison was very nicely cooked and had a slightly smoky quality about it that was nice, but it was on a bed of grains that were very sweet and had an almost maple syrup-like quality that just didn't work for us.

The service was very nice, and the atmosphere was pleasant, and very Kendall Square appropriate. However, given the price point, I just felt totally underwhelmed and slightly robbed by the end of the evening.

Given the proximity to Hungry Mother, Oleana, and Puritan & Co, I can't for the life of me understand why anyone would choose to go here and spend this kind of money, when for similar (and sometimes lower) prices, you could get a truly inspiring meal at any of the aforementioned restaurants.

I apologize for the negative rant, but in all honesty, after reading a lot of praise of Westbridge, I just left the meal feeling underwhelmed by the flavors and balance in the dishes and somewhat cheated by the price point of the restaurant.

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  1. opinionatedchef RE: cseshag Apr 20, 2013 09:08 PM

    We felt the very same after our one visit last year. We rarely feel 'gypped' but we both felt that way at Westbridge.
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/849158

    Of the area restnts you mention, we are only fans of Oleana,
    but we have long admired the EVOO team and we would like to try Catalyst next.

    1. enhF94 RE: cseshag Apr 21, 2013 12:18 PM

      I've only visited once, but on that visit left with little impression beyond "I'm sure they have a sous vide setup" - which explains the skilled doneness of the meat and also the eggs. Otherwise I found the product underseasoned, and problems with gluten (in gnocchi and desserts crusts) and unexciting cocktails.

      After that, meh. And the noise bounces everywhere. I didn't like the room at all.

      But it's only one visit, so I am open to giving it a couple more chances, uh, sometime.

      6 Replies
      1. re: enhF94
        m
        mkfisher RE: enhF94 Apr 22, 2013 11:14 AM

        Unexciting cocktails? Really?! What would you consider exciting? Taking Drink, Backbar, Hawthorne etc. out the equation for a minute because they're not real restaurants, what's better than West Bridge? Eastern Standard has a great program for sure (where the WB bar manager used to work), but what else? I know this sounds quasi snarky, but I really want to know what places have better cocktails so I can go there

        1. re: enhF94
          r
          rlee21 RE: enhF94 Apr 22, 2013 01:11 PM

          I concur with mkfisher, the dozen or so cocktails I've had there have all been on par with some of the better restaurants in town. I personally think there are a few on the menu that are even more interesting than Drink, Backbar, or the Hawthorne.

          1. re: rlee21
            maillard RE: rlee21 Apr 23, 2013 07:24 AM

            I also liked the cocktails a lot. The food not at all, though.

          2. re: enhF94
            n
            nickls RE: enhF94 Apr 22, 2013 01:22 PM

            I'm with mkfisher. The cocktails and bartending were the things I liked best about my visits to Westbridge. I've been there four times or so, and two were spent at the bar on quieter nights and the service and the drinks were exemplary. On a par with Eastern Standard and Island Creek.

            As to the food, I for one did enjoy the egg in the jar, but the prices were an issue for me too, and I didn't feel like I was getting good value. I've had a couple things I liked there, but on my last visit did leave feeling underwhelmed with no need to return for dinner for quite a while.

            1. re: enhF94
              enhF94 RE: enhF94 Apr 23, 2013 06:05 AM

              After only the one visit, I could be wrong on all counts. It's tough to remember, but my sense of the "unexciting" cocktail was lots of fancily-named ingredients adding up to boozy fruit juice. It should be noted that I am not a cocktail weenie but I do respect cocktail-ween-ness. I'll back down a bit on this claim since I can't back it up better.

              I'll confidently hold tight to the food-based claims, though ;)

              1. re: enhF94
                v
                valcfield RE: enhF94 Apr 23, 2013 07:27 AM

                May have a longer post soon, as I have quite enjoyed the food I've had at West Bridge for the most part (I agree with remarks above that the 'to share' plates are a strength, though I think there are a number of really taste small dishes as well, including the lamb and fava that OP mentions, which i think is excellent).

                On the cocktail front- I think you are right enh that by and large WB's drinks are on the 'refreshing' side, not very spirit forward. In a few trips, it took me a while to find any cocktail that i thought was spirit-forward. that said, on the new list, the snake in the grass is excellent, as is the Eagle Hill, a surprisingly complex and serious rum drink. as for much of the rest of the list/s i've tried, i think interesting, but light, is a very apt way to describe it.

            2. Pia RE: cseshag Apr 22, 2013 10:49 AM

              We didn't eat there, but had a drink at the bar and were very happy with both the set drink menu and the bartending. I'd go back again for that.

              1. lipoff RE: cseshag Apr 22, 2013 11:40 AM

                I like the atmosphere, location, and hours, but have also been underwhelmed by the food, in general. What I do like there, however, are the steak and lamb dishes under the "to share" section. I think the version of the lamb that's on their menu currently is a little different than what I had last summer and fall (pictured below), but I think in general the best things at Westbridge are these larger meat dishes, rather than the more intricate appetizers. The "to share" dishes seem both less complicated and better executed than the "large" dishes --- I (barely) remember very unremarkable venison, lake and fluke dishes from that section. I'm usually a fan of intricate, complicated food, but I'm happy to adapt a restaurant's strong suit. They also made me a really delicious non-alcoholic cocktail featuring pineapple juice and orzata syrup.

                 
                1. Small Plates RE: cseshag Apr 23, 2013 07:35 AM

                  Yeah, same here. The Egg in a Jar was such a let down. I'm trying to remember what else we've had beside pig's head - which was just OK - a little dry. The fact I can't remember anything else from my 4 visits and probably about 20 dishes speaks to the "yeah, it's just OK-ness" of the food. The service is wonderful, however. Spent about $150 each visit. Not cheap. But, strangely, I don't feel ripped off either, I just feel underwhelmed.

                  1. Small Plates RE: cseshag Apr 23, 2013 07:37 AM

                    Here is the pig's head - rememebered I had a pic.

                     
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