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T.W. Food, Cambridge

 R and I had a fabulous meal last night at T.W. Food in Cambridge. It was delicious from start to finish, which seems to be a rarity these days (re: bookend meals). They have a $39 prix fixe menu on Sun – Thurs nights. It’s the kind of prix fixe structure I like; not a separate “special” menu, but the option to order 1 app, 1 entrée and a dessert off the regular menu for one price. T.W. Food doesn’t even do the cheesy “supplemental fee,” for the pricier offerings.

 

I started with a salad with fiddleheads, beets, mascarpone and greens. Fiddleheads are one of the first greens of the spring and taste somewhat like a cross between asparagus and broccoli rabe. As a salad, it was fundamentally the weakest part of the meal; but it was still an excellent dish with the sweetness of the beets offsetting the fiddleheads. R got a scrambled egg with blue cheese. This sounds like a simple dish, but the egg (from Chip-in Farms) was perfectly creamy and soft with bleu cheese overtones. We also got a pig trotter and foie gras tartine off the larder menu (smaller bites for $6 each). A tartine is basically an open faced sandwich. The pig trotter and foie gras topping was rich and unctuous, a really delicious bite (probably closer to five bites; it was a large slice of bread).

 

I had the potato gnocchi with a fantastic Bolognese sauce. The gnocchi were cooked and then pan fried giving them a soft fluffy texture inside and a contrasting crispy outside. The sauce was delicious; the menu states that it was made with boar, pork jowel and wagyu beef. It also came with sautéed ramps with pecorino cheese. R’s beef tenderloin was cooked perfectly and he liked the sauce on it, but the star of his plate was a beef cheek lasagna; it was layers of soft pasta with tender, succulent, braised beef cheeks.

 

We cleared our plates and I turned to R and told him we should just go home now; dinner was perfect so far and bad dessert could only bring the meal down. He laughed, because R never, ever skips dessert. I’m glad we didn’t because it was terrific as well. He got “Scotch and cigars,” a strange choice for a man that doesn’t ever drink or smoke. It was dark chocolate mousse with a tobacco infused crème anglaise and it came with a shot of scotch syrup. It was surprisingly good; the mousse was a thick, smooth and creamy, the tobacco was not strong, but gave the sauce an almost spicy kick and the scotch was sweet enough that it did not taste like sweaty gym socks (which is what I think all scotch tastes like). I ordered the vanilla panna cotta. It came in a wine glass with a layer of Darjeeling tea gelee on top and diced pineapple and kiwi on top of that. It was a truly lovely and refreshing dessert. The flavors all meld perfectly and the texture of the panna cotta was sublime. I love that at the bottom of the glass I found a little treasure trove of vanilla bean specks.

 

The service was slow (our meal took 2 hours on a Sunday night), but friendly. I can forgive slow service when there is excellent food. The bread was the ubiquitous Iggy’s Francese, I think. It came with nice butter sprinkled with sea salt. The one blemish of the meal? The milk with dessert was tepid.

I don't remember that last time I was inspired to give my compliments to the kitchen, but I did tonight. R and I will certainly be back.

 

http://twfoodrestaurant.com/

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