Tag Archives: Harvard Square

Russell House Tavern

14 Feb

Most amazing selection of house made charcuterie

Valentine’s Day is here, and again Susan and I will acknowledge its existence, but we won’t be buying flowers or going out to dinner.  I’ve never been a big fan of Valentine’s Day as it always seemed to be more of a greeting card holiday than anything else.  Susan and I came together eleven years ago now, and when February rolled around the first time for us, she expressed the very same feelings for the 14th day of the second month of the year.  “Everyday is Valentine’s Day” she explains, and last Thursday we shared our own Valentine’s dinner at Russell House Tavern in Harvard Square.

Some plans changed at the last-minute for Susan last Thursday night so we decided to take the opportunity to meet in the Square after work for a drink and some appetizers.  I follow Russell House Tavern Executive Chef Michael Scelfo on twitter, and I’d noticed that he had been busy all week preparing some new forcemeats and charcuterie.  With tweets like this, “foie gras, fernet, & duck terrine. country-style and wrapped in bacon @russellhousetav,” Susan and I were very excited.

Everything was amazing.

I arrived at the Russell House early and stopped upstairs at the bar for a drink and some oysters.  Nick was behind the bar and in short order I had a Last Word and six oysters, from Island Creek in Duxbury.  I was introduced to the Last Word, a prohibition era cocktail that has recently made a comeback, at The Russell House and it can’t be beat.  I plan on a full post on the Last Word soon.

Susan's Ozark Heritage Pork Trio with Grits and Sauce Vinegar

Susan had the Ozark Heritage Pork Trio, and it was a tasty plate of perfection.  Served atop grits, the pork loin, belly, and shoulder were prepared in three different manners that complemented each.  My preference was the smoked shoulder, but they were all pretty amazing.  To top it off, I even scored the left-overs for lunch the next day.

Duck Confit

I was going to pick the pork trio as well, but in the interest of sharing, I chose the Crispy Long Island Duck Confit.   It came with a stew of black figs, fresh sage, roasted chestnuts, and pork belly.  The duck confit was done to perfection, falling off the bone as I dug at it with my fork.  The crispiness of the duck skin and the depth of flavor was off the chart good.

Orange Creamsicle

We finished the evening sharing a dessert, an Orange Creamsicle.  A vanilla & orange mousse, with creamy caramel and orange candy on top was the perfect finish to one of the most lovely anti-valentine’s days ever.  Service at Russell House was outstanding, as good as we’ve ever had. We were greeted downstairs by Andrew and shown to our table. Despite the place being full, Steven, our server was efficient, knowledgeable and most helpful.

Remember, Food is Love!

Cheers,

Justin

Wonderful Treat

20 Jan

Duck and Foie Gras Sausage in a white bean salad ... Yum!

I was wrapping up my last day at work this week today, prior to a long week end and vacation, and while monitoring twitter and I noticed Chef Michael Scelfo of The Russell House Tavern in Harvard Square posting that he was “having some fun working on a sausage consisting of duck meat, pork fat, sage, foie gras, & meletti amaro.”   Well since I had just recently spent the day butchering a rabbit and making a rabbit pate for the first time, this caught my eye and I mentioned jokingly that if the Chef need any tasters, that I would be willing to help out.

Not ten thirty minutes later, after this tweet from Chef, “slow poaching some duck/foie/meletti test links, thinking a warm, mustardy white bean salad, w/ vinegar tinged shallots & LOTS of parsley,” I was sitting at the bar in The Russell House Tavern, having been invited over by Chef Scelfo, and shortly after presented with a beautifully composed appetizer.  I cut and tasted the sausage first.  The rich flavor of the foie gras was pleasantly balanced by the duck and pork, and the slow poaching made for a luscious feeling in my mouth.  My next bite included some of the white bean salad, that included a dash of vinegar that added just the perfect amount of acid to complement the richness of the foie gras.

I finished my portion easily, talked about it with Chef Scelfo, and thanked him for the opportunity.   He mentioned that they will be run as specials in the coming days and week, so If I were you I’d head on down and get me some of these wonderful treats.   I know I’ll be back for them soon!

Remember, Food is Love

Cheers,

Justin

Lunch

13 Jan

A view onto JFK Street from my window seat on the square

Lunch in Harvard Square is a smorgasbord of choices.   From pizza joints too numerous to name, Chinese at The Hong Kong,   and most recently the addition of Clover Restaurant, there is a never ending supply of places to grab something quick or linger over a couple of drinks. Since the new year, I’ve been having soup for lunch on a regular basis, and today I thought I would try some place I had never eaten at before, The Russell House Tavern.

I’ve been to The Russell House on various occasions, and although I’ve had oysters there, I’ve never had anything else off the menu. The place is separated into two distinct areas.  Upstairs is a tavern setting, with a bar that will seat about 10 or so, and a number of high top tables that seat couples and groups large and small.

The menu at The Russell House Tavern in Harvard Square

I was seated at a hightop that looks out on JFK street, in a corner where I could see the whole place.  My server was very attentive and arrived quickly with some water, and let me know about the specials.  Potato soup with bacon and onions was the soup du jour, and I ordered that as well as a Mikey’s Spanish Sub, a slow roasted pork loin with pickle salad, harissa-ginger aioli and Manchego cheese.

Potato soup

The potato soup was tasty, once I added a bit of salt and pepper.   The essential flavor was fine, but I found the soup slightly thin.  I assumed there would be chunks of potatoes, which I was looking forward to without even knowing it.

Micky's Spanish Sub

My sandwich arrived, straight from the kitchen (a food runner delivered it, not my server, just like my soup) and the pressed bread was still slightly hot to the touch.   I chose to have my sandwich with mixed greens rather than fries, and the volume of greens was perfect.   Sometimes “mixed greens” means a few leafs of lettuce thrown on a plate, but this was not the case.

The pork loin and pickled salad went perfectly together, and the harissa-ginger aioli added a slight tang and a bit of heat.  I could have used a bit more of the manchego, but I guess the lack of it made for a lighter sandwich which is better for me anyway.

Good Sandwich and a Great Salad of Mixed Greens

Overall I had a great lunch, and I’m sure I’ll be back.  I would have prefered to have half a sandwich and the cup of soup for a bit less cash (the whole meal cost me a Jackson, with only water to drink) but I walked out with my other half of sandwich which I’ll enjoy tomorrow for lunch.   Service was good and it was nice to sit someplace other than my desk while I had lunch.

Remember, Food is Love!

Justin