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West Bridge

Going for a special birthday meal to West Bridge in two weeks and was wondering whether anyone has any thoughts about the place/how to make the evening there more special.

P.S. Me dressing up like Brad Pitt and surprising her didn't work the first time so that is out.

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  1. I would make it more special by going to somewhere else (Bondir, Hungry Mother, Bergamot, to name a few.) I was there only once, but didn't have a great meal. The cocktails and service were fabulous, the chef's tasting menu hit-or-miss. Many odd combinations of ingredients and techniques (neither of which I am opposed to, in general) that seemed to be trying a little too hard and did not produce a delicious result. Perhaps an off night, but I'm not in a hurry to go back.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Ruprecht

      I second your take. I have been 4 times and each time the service was lovely, and the food looked really nice and prepared with care, obviously. But the flavors and overall dishes were just OK. Even the highly touted Egg-in-a-Jar fell flat. I mean, it was O..K.. but nothing that sent my taste buds or my appreciation soaring.

      Bergamot, on the other hand... I swoon. Everything you eat at Bergamot is excellent. Warning - some complain about the portions. I think they are just right. I never feel overstuffed.

      1. re: Small Plates

        Ditto experience at West Bridge; nothing i wanted to eat again, but exc drink. Oleana or Sarma would be my own suggestion- lots of choices and v interesting food.

    2. Tell them it's a special meal ahead of time. They're nice folks and will take good care of you. It's not more complicated than that.

      1. Agree that the service and cocktails are top notch, but my food experience (small plates at the bar) was forgettable at best - if you do go here, get a Love & Fear cocktail - it's balanced and delicious.

        1. Contrary to other posters, I liked our meal there quite a bit. I believe we asked the waiter for suggestions, which were helpful. The menu is a "list of ingredients" style, so make sure you ask for more detailed descriptions of ones that look interesting. The egg in a jar got a lot of raves here, but I liked the bright flavors of the Tuscan kale salad a lot more.

          I think they have limited number of portions of some of the big meat dishes, so if you have a hankering for the lamb neck, for example, you might want to see if you can "reserve" a portion.

          I thought it seemed a couple bucks too pricey given the portions on several of the dishes. It's also very loud.

          1. We were much more impressed with our meal at West Bridge than Bondir or Hungry Mother, both of which we felt didn't live up to the hype. Just to put in context, other restaurants we've been pleased with recently: Puritan & Co, Kirkland Tap and Trotter. And also not as pleased with Ribelle, while we absolutely adore Strip T's. Your experience may vary, but I think West Bridge is a fine choice for a birthday dinner and am surprised to see so many naysayers.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Parsnipity

              I'm with you on Puritan, Ribelle, and Strip T's (haven't been to Kirkland) so I'm willing to chalk up our experience to the chef taking risks on the tasting menu which didn't work out on that particular night. However, it seems I'm not the only one who felt that way.

              1. re: Parsnipity

                I agree with this sentiment (if not the exact like/dislike list).

              2. One of my favorite restaurants in greater Boston!

                I wonder if you can sit in the private room just off the main, if it's not rented out? Maybe not.

                "I would go somewhere else," lol. Frankly, I'm surprised someone hasn't recommended Troquet yet. Or New York.

                1. I'll throw in another vote for West Bridge being a very good restaurant. It's not my all-time favorite, but very good at what it tries to do. No sure why the negative reaction here, but maybe you should go to Rendezvous, which this board has annointed the greatest restaurant on earth, ever.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: ScotchandSirloin

                    Another vote for West Bridge. Have not had the egg in a jar - have had anything that is vegetarian and liked it liked it. I think the place is decent and fun.

                    1. re: Bob Dobalina

                      Same. I know it's common to automatically knock anything that becomes wildly popular, but I love the egg in a jar dish! It's like....upscale stoner food.

                  2. I'm in the fan group as well. One of my favorite spots

                    1. excellent cocktails, interesting wines -- bar manager cut his teeth at eastern standard.. great service. not everything i have eaten has been a home-run, but overall good stuff.

                      the only downside to me is the noise-level can be DEAFENING.

                      1. per below, obviously just let them know it's a special event.

                        I think the only big choice is if you're going with the tasting menu or not, and I'd probably base that on whether you're a couple (at least, reading that from your post) who likes to share food and have different plates, or if you prefer/are used to eating your own dishes and won't mind you have the same items.

                        If you aren't going with the tasting menu, you might want to read some other threads to see what dishes are recommended and plan a course of attack- as you can see, not everyone has come out with a positive impression, and while i like west bridge quite a bit (agree with parsnipity that i've liked it more than hungry mother, bondir, and i'd throw a few other places on that list), i do agree that not every dish is a hit, and it's worth the time to do some research.

                        some of my faves:

                        duck liver toast- large piece of toast with a very thick layer of duck liver spread on top. crazy value at $3, and just a fun, decadent way to start the evening.

                        lamb belly- has all the things i like about pork belly, but with lovely gamey lamb flavor. i haven't had this prep of the dish, but the last one they had on their menu was great.

                        lamb neck- another lamb dish, but a great share plate to finish the meal. i'll admit that sometimes it's come out more tender than others, but even when it's not perfect, it is still fall apart/juicy/fatty.

                        a lot of the items are newer and i haven't had, but i'd say the seafood potage and black tuscan kale are skippable; the former as just not as interesting as it sounds, the latter because it's a fine salad... but for a celebratory night out, you can probably find a more interesting veg dish (like the eggplant) if you need one.

                        1. We love West Bridge!

                          It is just above our usual price point, and with two children now, it's a little harder for us to pull it together these days, but we took our daughter several times when she was 2-3 years old. We went twice very early on, when crispy chicken skin was the amuse bouche, and the third time, when it wasn't but she asked about it, the kitchen was so kind as to send out some pieces, which they typically reserved for the Egg in a Jar, just for her. I think we also went a fourth time, when she had forgotten about it. Many of the small plates were stunning, and I remember the fish dishes being particularly well-made. The Conant's Island cocktail has been mentioned, deservedly so, in reviews.

                          Anyway, the effort on the part of the staff to accommodate our daughter was particularly endearing to us. We hope you'll enjoy your experience there.

                          1. snark warning, but I suspect that West Bridge lovers vs. haters may split along the exact same line as “unfamiliar with immersion circulators” vs. “knows sous vide.” (booze excepted; I’ve heard only good things about their booze).

                            The West Bridge boosting I hear is often focused on the egg and properly-cooked meats, and those are where immersion circulators excel. In other metrics, such as “remembering to use salt,” they do not excel so much.


                            1 Reply
                            1. re: enhF94

                              "remembering to use salt..." heh heh heh - my sentiments egg-zackly!

                            2. Tried West Bridge for any early dinner after a movie at Kendall

                              Liked it, didn't love.

                              2 of us split 4 small plates and a duck liver toast. Delicious duck liver.

                              Hits.lamb belly, calamari which was sliced thin squid and served in very rich clam broth.

                              Kale with duck confit and mushrooms with snails were fine but not memorable.

                              Our server didn't seem into it but the overall staff was friendly and fine, if a little disjointed.

                              My overall take is high quality ingredients, mostly we'll prepared but no real "wow" factor.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: 9lives

                                9, if you are a major foie fan, treat yourself to a major high, and take the train to Newton Ctr and Sycamore. If they still have their foie terrine, you may be happier than you can imagine. (Had I the powers of Leave It to Jeannie, I would evaporate and smoke my way through the restnt and back into the walk-in where, the next morning, i could be found perched on the top shelf rear corner with a spoon in my sleeping hand and an empty tub of that foie gras.)

                                1. re: opinionatedchef

                                  OMG....my two favorite TV shows from the 70's were "Leave It to Jeannie" and "I Dream of Beaver".

                                  1. re: Infomaniac

                                    As a young teen male, I had dreams of beaver al lot!