Monday, December 31, 2012
The Sinclair (and I'm back from hiatus!)
It's the last day of 2012, and I know that I have been on quite a hiatus these last few months. My resolution for the new year is to get back into the swing of things here, because I miss it. Sometimes it's easier to drop something you love doing, rather than having to fit everything into those 24 hours we have each day, but I need to make time for this, thus my resolution. My inspiration was easy! We have a friend who has had an integral part in opening a new restaurant/music venue in the Harvard Square area, called The Sinclair. Not yet open to the public, they invited friends and family to join them this weekend for a delicious meal, on them! We couldn't pass up an invitation like that, and I'll tell you one thing - it may be my new go-to place in Cambridge!
I'm not sure of the opening date yet, but I do know that the first concert they will host is taking place on January 12th, and it's a big name! Howie Day will be in Cambridge! I haven't gotten to see the space for concerts yet, but I'm sure I will soon! For this post, I'd like to tell you about the delicious food we ate, and the wonderful cocktails we imbibed! Michael Schlow, of Via Matta and Radius fame, had a hand in the menu collaboration and back-of-house set up, and he was even there, overseeing the Friends and Family event. It's a plus to have such a big name behind them, and the menu does not disappoint. I immediately realized that I wanted one of everything!
We started by looking at the drinks menus (there were several), and both of us decided on cocktails for the occasion. I opted for the Whiskey Smash, which is made with George Dickel Tennessee Whiskey, muddled mint, lemon, sugar and Angostura Bitters. It was the perfect drink for the cold and cough I've been nursing for the past few days. Matt decided on the North X South, with Mezcal Vida, Hellfire Honey Sassafras Syrup, Carpano Antica and lime. We both really enjoyed the flavors, but also the creativity of the drinks menu. It was a pleasure to read, and choose from!
Our lovely waitress, Carla, came over to take our appetizer order so we asked for the Local Crab, the Steak Tartare, and the Grilled Artichoke Salad. They all came out within minutes of each other but we dug into the Artichoke Salad first. The bitter greens atop the tender, grilled artichoke hearts were balanced really nicely, and the topping of crispy onions added some great flavor. The dressing of an herb emulsion was quite satisfying, and there was just enough to add flavor, without over dressing the greens. It really was a delicious salad!
As for the Steak Tartare, and the Local Crab - both were yummy! It was a bit of the same type of consistency in both dishes, but with very different tastes. The Local Crab came with some chopped green apple and celery, along with a little gelee, and purple potato chips! When I had a bite of every flavor together, the result was fantastic! Separately, the flavors were just kind of there, but together, they just popped! It was a wonderful pairing! The steak was delicious, mixed with cornichons and accompanied by these tiny little baby mushrooms (adorable!) and truffle aioli. My only complaint - I needed more crostinis so that I could eat more of it!!
Before the entrees arrived, it was time for a second round of cocktails, and we both decided on drinks that would follow well from our first choices, but also allow us to try something new! I opted for a Sazerac (I love the oldies!), with Rye Whiskey, Sugar, Angostura Peychaud's Bitters, and an Absinthe rinse. It was straight-up, and delicious! :) Matt decided to move from Mezcal to Tequila, with the Bull Fight, which used el Jimador Reposada Tequila, House Falernum, Drambuie, lime and ginger beer. Again, the creativity of these drinks is really appealing, and the concoctions work!
Okay, second round of drinks - check! The entrees arrived and the award for Prettiest Plating of the night goes to, ding ding ding, the Grilled Prawns, with Tasso Ham, Spinach and Creamy Grits. It was such a beautiful plate that I almost didn't want to eat it, but wait, yes I did! It looked SO delicious! The grits were creamy and flavorful, the spinach was resting atop a delicious tomato sauce, and the prawns, well, they were cooked perfectly! All the flavors were so interesting separately, but then melded so well together without overpowering each other. It was a very balanced dish, and really a plate full of southern hospitality! It was so comforting!
Matt opted for the Branzino (my second choice), which is a delicious fish, served with the skin, cooked until crispy, atop white beans, smoked bacon and a shellfish broth. It was a hearty dish with great flavors. He cleaned that plate!
This was a fantastic meal, and the space is very cool. Dark woods, caged lighting, and a relaxed atmosphere made it a really attractive place to hang out! And the fact that there's a music venue in the space as well - amazing! This is exactly what Harvard Square was missing, and I can't wait to go back! I think those Prawns and Grits just became by go-to cold weather comfort meal! Keep an eye out for it's opening dates, because this is one you'll want to check out!
I'm back, baby! :)