Sunday, April 17, 2011

Garden at The Cellar

For over a year now, I've had a gift certificate burning a hole in my wallet and I'm not quite sure how it sat around for so long. Given to me as a birthday gift from two of my dear friends back when the blog was just a baby (barely a month old!) and up-and-coming chef Will Gilson was just a name in an article that Lisa handed me along with the gift certificate. Since then, I've heard nothing but fantastic reviews of Garden at The Cellar and constant praise for Chef Will Gilson. Now hes up-and-come; there is no denying locals know this James Beard Award nominee chef by name. Whether for his dedication to cooking with local, sustainable food and family grown herbs, or his successful efforts to rebuild his mothers greenhouses, or his recent embrace for the Pop Up dinner trend, his name gets around. Joined by my sister this past Wednesday, we experienced firsthand his creative cuisine in the relaxed unassuming gastropub situated in between Cambridge's Central and Harvard Squares. They take limited reservations for parties over six, otherwise seats are on a first come first serve basis. The place was fairly busy around 7:30 but we managed to get seated right away at an open copper top cafe table in front of some overflowing succulents and potted herbs. I spy a recycled St. Germain Bottle behind the aloe plants.
We started with two slices of bread each and some herb infused butter. A nice touch with the herbs!We got down to business with a Dark & Stormy ($7.50) each as we studied the menu. (Made with Gosling's Black Seal Rum & Ginger beer, perfect.)The $7.50 price tag didn't have me wincing. Actually, all of their cocktails clock in at a reasonable $7 - $10. We chose two appetizers to share. The Seared Scallops ($12) presented three garlicky scallops plated over thick brush strokes of earthy black trumpet puree. Contrasting bites of Meyer lemon in tiny gel form added a zesty punch.The Foie Gras & Doughnuts ($13) was a far fetched idea pairing two delicious ingredients together at random. It works. And amazingly well at that. Fluffy round balls of cinnamon sugar become a vessel for rich, buttery bites of seared foie gras, paired with cocoa nibs, orange and ginger.Leah ordered the Grass Fed Hanger Steak Frites ($26). The generous portion of hanger steak came well seasoned plated over a bed of parsnip puree and garlic spinach alongside the perfect frites; crispy and buttery seasoned with restraint - just an accent of rosemary and truffle oil.
I debated between the Buttermilk Poached Chicken ($23) and the Duo of Heritage Pork ($26). I asked my waitresses for a recommend hoping she'd be able to offer some insight and sway my decision one way or the other. She remained indifferent, and without exclamation or passion stated "they're both good." (Well obviously they're both good! Thanks!)I went with the pork. It was a good call. This is a dish I'd get excited about and tell you to order if I were a waitress here!! 
Plated over a violet mustard sauce, the thinly pounded cutlets were cooked scallopini style with garlic and black pepper. The grilled belly was extremely tender with a rich glaze atop the crispy skin exterior. And finally, the ramps with a pungent oniony taste served to add some sharp contrast to the white heavy meal of pork and potatoes.
There was definitely another round of Dark & Stormies ordered during the meal. These drinks go down way to easy. I guess that's why I love them so.No dessert menu here (bummer!) but they look to satisfy your sweet tooth with a plate of Taza Chocolates (redemption!) Showcasing local food in creative dishes without the luxurious atmosphere or price point, Garden at The Cellar remains affordable and relaxed. No matter what, I would not hesitate to order a side of those rosemary truffle fries and to remember that adventurous eating most definitely pays off at this modest neighborhood gastropub.
Garden at the Cellar on Urbanspoon

19 comments:

Fun and Fearless in Beantown said...

These close up shots have me drooling...especially that perfect sear on the scallops!

Emily @ A Cambridge Story said...

My 'hood! I love this place and am glad you got to experience it. The truffle fries are, indeed, excellent and they also do a great job downstairs with homey classics like tomato soup and grilled cheese. Funny I've never ordered cocktails here but that D&S looks killer!

Elizabeth said...

I fell in love with GATC back in college and it has been my go-to restaurant for the past several years. I love that it doesn't break the bank, and they have great veggie options too.

Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic said...

Oooh I want that duo of pork too! I didn't know there was no dessert menu there but good thing they serve Taza chocolates! Nice review!

Jammer said...

Honestly, I was sold at herb butter - ha! Each plate just looked soooo pretty!!

leah said...

This meal was so good! Now, realizing that my friend lives right above the place I am definitely going back for a dark and stormy and an order of french fries.

Michelle Collins said...

Wow, great photos and review - looks like a luxurious (yet affordable) meal!

Megan said...

Love GATC!! So glad you finally made it there. I'm glad you went with the pork too because that would have been my recommendation. Those fries are amazing. Anytime you want to go back, you know where to find me. :)

Jen said...

Looks delish. I love a good dark and stormy myself.

Melissa said...

I've been dying to go there! It looks fantastic. Blogger meetup spot perhaps?

MOLLY GALLER said...

I LOVE Garden at the Cellar and have a total chef crush on Will. As a vegetarian I usually go for the comfort food there - grilled cheese and tomato soup and the homemade tater tots! Total heaven. Glad you had such a superb trip!

Gretchen said...

Reviving the debate between Tom and Elia over grass fed vs. corn fed beef! So glad you finally made it here. Looks delicious!

Melissa said...

I'd love to try those fries! I am surprised they don't have a dessert menu! Ooh just noticed Molly commented about their homemade tots - I'll need to try those too!

In and Around Town said...

I have been meaning to go there for awhile now...great review!

this free bird said...

I'm so hungry I could eat a big ol' piece of steak after reading this post. The food looks incredible!

xo,
C

Jennifurla said...

I sort of feel tortured after reading this...I need every single bite on a plate in front of me! Love the dessert too, eating chocolate is like sampling wine.

Amber Blue Bird said...

herb infused butter sounds divine. This place looks like a winner. Good prices, tasty food, bangin drinks, my kind of eatery.

Meghan@travelwinedine said...

I love Garden at the Cellar so much! It is incredible and so reasonably priced.

Jen said...

Ooh, the chocolate and bread (and donuts!) look amazing. I don't think I've ever been able to keep any kind of g/c for a year, haha.