Saturday, June 16, 2007

Z Square

Thursday night we dined at Z Square, a newer establishment in Harvard Square that occupies a spot that used to be the old Wursthaus Restaurant. It's a great two level place right in the heart of the Square. The top, street level is a casual cafe where I've eaten lunch several times and it was always great. The sandwiches, salads and soups are inventive and you can view the whole street scene outside the large picture windows at this legendary locale.

The dining room is on the lower floor, a much more quiet, cozy, intimate space with muted green walls and teak tables, a really nice look to it. There's also a couple of semi-secluded alcove booths that would be perfect for four or five friends enjoying drinks and a great meal out.

I ordered the grilled salmon (of course) which was perfectly cooked and seasoned with a sear of crumb topping. It had the salty, sweet flavor of great, fresh salmon done to perfection and not the least bit dry. It was cooked with the skin on, which is the proper way to do it. (Did you know that most of the omega 3 oils that you can't get enough of are in the skin?)

The salmon fillet was served over a bed of creamy, sweet potato risotto also perfectly turned out. It was cheesy but not congealed, substantial but not heavy and the nutty taste lingered on the tongue. The accompaniment of tomato and artichoke relish had a bite of acidity that played well off the flatter taste of the salmon and the mildly sweet risotto but may have been too vinegar laden if taken alone. Together, however, the mix of tastes was amazing.

The restaurant is casual but upscale and dinner with wine can easily be done in the thirty to forty dollar range. The cafe upstairs opens early for breakfast (which I've only heard raves about) and stays open late into the night. The service was impeccable, not rushed but attentive and although it's not an open kitchen the dining room is immaculately clean. All in all, it seems you really can't go wrong here.

Z Square
14 JFK Street
Harvard Square
Cambridge, MA 02138

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