Catalyst is another one of the restaurants exploding on to the Kendall Sq. scene. The Chef/Owner William Kovel was previously at Aujourd'hui, but Catalyst serves modern American fare, rather than French. It’s the first restaurant I can check off on my 2012 to go to list.
I had dinner with my college suitemate, Noriko and her husband Jesper, who were visiting from San Francisco. We started with the chicken liver mousse ($10), which was a generous slab of liver terrine, server with an herb salad and grilled bread. The mousse with silky and unctuous – I was quite impressed.
I enjoyed the roasted cod ($27) with potatoes, mussels, and bacon. My cod was perfectly cooked and so flavorful. I really enjoyed it. Noriko’s burger ($15) was more medium rare, than the medium she ordered, but she really should have her burger medium rare anyways so I can forgive that. Jesper had the duck special and he enjoyed it.
For dessert, we shared the chocolate fondant cake with caramel glaze and the pear-almond financier with crème fraiche ice cream. I thought the cake was moist and had good flavor. I thought the financier was dry, and the ice cream had a heavy mouth feel. Jesper enjoyed his cheese plate, but the selection was rather pedestrian for $15. The other desserts are $9 each.
Our service was flawed; they never brought Noriko’s potato puree, or the bread that I spied on the other tables. I liked the space; it was large and comfortable. I also like that they validate parking in the Tech Sq garage. I enjoyed our meal, but was not astounded by it.