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Looking for replacement in Harvard Sq. for Chez Henri, Casablanca, etc.

The last one of my regular haunts in the HS area, Chez Henri, closed a few weeks ago, and I'm at a loss... I've never managed to warm up to Grafton St., or Sandrines; I like the Harvest, but I can afford it only rarely... Upstairs on the Square might have done the job, but it will be closing soon too.

The only other place that I've found that's in the same wavelength as the ones mentioned above is Bergamot, which I like a lot, but I think it's outside of the Harvard Square orbit. (Also, as with Harvest, I can't afford it very often.)

I'm open to suggestions.

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  1. The Abbey will be opening in February (fingers crossed). If you don't mind going outside the HS orbit, I always find Highland Kitchen to be good, though it has a different vibe than Chez Henri.

    2 Replies
    1. re: tartandfit

      HK also has a version of a Cubano, which is ok so long as you do not compare it to the ones you've had at Chez Henri.

      1. re: Bob Dobalina

        And then there's Dave's (Pasta) in Davis Sq. where the Cubano is as great or greater than Chez Henri!

    2. The Red House is pretty cozy: not fabulous but solid and comfortable.

      1. Do a CH search for Park. Lots of positive posts about it. We like it alot. Same owners as Russell Tavern, which a number of CHs have liked too. Even though Park is large, it has intimate sections and is dark and comfortable for conversation. While it is a hike, like Bergamot, Ten Tables on Craigie- has its fans, as does Garden in the Cellar on Mass Ave down from Putnam. Also, the Casablanca space's new restnt is soon to open iirc.

        6 Replies
        1. re: opinionatedchef

          we had a very meh dinner at park, which included our waiter arguing with me about corked wine, 3 out of 6 dishes being mediocre at best, and then same waiter disappearing when we were upfront about having a show at 8:00. we finally had to get a manager so we could pay and get out.

          just had lunch at russell house and was shocked to see all kinds of summer cocktails still on the drinks list, watermelon on the tuna tartare app and the wine list was dreadful. i went hoping to get charcuterie (which i've loved in the past) but it's not available at lunch. i don't get that? not like it's made a la minute. our server was lovely though.

          rialto has a very affordable bar menu and $1 oysters in the lounge on mondays

          1. re: hotoynoodle

            I've wondered if there would be a drop off at RH when scelfo left ...

            1. re: jgg13

              I hadn't been to RH in quite a while so my husband and I decided to grab a burger and glass of wine a couple of weeks ago. Our server was fine and we got our wine pretty quickly, and then literally two minutes later we got our burgers. They were dry and cooked medium-well as opposed to med-rare. Fries were fine.

              We were so turned off that we didn't even want them refired. The only explanation I can think of to have them come out so quickly and be so dry is that the burgers were par-cooked and then finished at the last minute.

              No thanks, and I wouldn't be able to drag my husband back unless it appears that something has improved. Hard to imagine that such a terrible burger would come out of the kitchen if Scelfo was still there.

              1. re: bear

                The food has gone way down hill recently in my opinion as well. The fried egg app is OK, and the charcuterie (when you can get it), but the rest of the menu is off limits now. We had a flatbread the time before last that was nearly inedible (was removed from bill).

                1. re: kimfair1

                  at that same lunch one of my dc's had a flatbread and it was so gloppy with cheese it looked too revolting to even have a bite.

              2. re: jgg13

                The food and consistency at RH was in decline before Scelfo's departure. All of the Grafton Group restaurants trend toward just enough above average to maintain their business unfortunately.

          2. Russell House Tavern is very enjoyable.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Trumpetguy

              +1. Russell House Tavern is one of my favourite restaurants in Cambridge.

            2. In the vicinity of Chez Henri, the West Side Lounge is worth trying. Very reasonable prices and cozy atmosphere. If that doesn't work for you, Temple Bar is down the block, also worth a shot. In the Square, I second OP's on Russell House and Park.

              4 Replies
              1. re: katzzz

                If the West Side Lounge counts as being in Harvard Sq., then I'd also add Guilia. And right in the Square is Toscano.

                1. re: katzzz

                  Has something happened to the management and staff at West Side Lounge? I tried to have a drink here last night and everything seems different - the menus are laminated and all prices end in .95. My prosecco was flat. The craft cocktails seem to be less crafty. Is something up?

                  1. re: gini

                    Uh oh. That doesn't sound good.

                    1. re: gini

                      The .95 is a sign of having no clue.