Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Bambara Restaurant

The Hotel Marlowe in Cambridge is one of those rock star hotels with a funky decor. It reminds me of the Hard Rock Hotel in Orlando which, although huge and touristic, is one of my favorites. The Marlowe is smaller but just as cool and the bottom line with both is that it's all about luxury and service.

The hotel restaurant is called Bambara and what a hidden little treasure of a place it is. It sits right next to the Galleria Mall and across the street from the Royal Sonesta.

The decor here is eclectic but plush, done in the very popular blue and brown colors hot with designers in recent seasons. There is bar, table, booth and banquette seating, the latter two with thickly padded very comfortable seats as well as throw pillows should you want some extra back support. That was just the first of many nice little touches that really does separate the mediocre from the gems. And Bambara is a jewel.

Bambara Restaurant

They have really hit upon a good thing with their power lunch concept, a prix fixe limited menu served quick, easy and fresh. Being short on time, as usual, we opted for this. The first course is soup or mixed baby greens. We went for the salad: tender baby spinach leaves, radicchio and cherry tomatoes dressed with a deliciously balanced balsamic vinaigrette and topped with fresh, home-made croutons, seasoned and toasted but not so dry and crunchy that you'd break a tooth.

The warm rolls are served with a plate of butter, soft so it is easy to spread, half of which is doused with crystals of alaea salt, a rustic, dark coarse salt native to Hawaii we'd never tried before. The beautiful pinkish brown crystals shimmered like jewels. Again, nice touch!

Next is a sandwich and we opted for the ground sirloin burger, cooked to medium perfection, layered with a melty, chewy Gruyere on a fresh bun. You can opt for blue cheese or cheddar also.

The shoestring fries were exemplary, the best we've had in ages and dusted with flecks of rosemary and thyme. Again, nice touch. Excellence really is in the details.

The blueberry lemonade we sipped was a guilty pleasure, just sweet enough, subtle of flavor and beautiful to look at. It would be worth coming back just for this on a warm Summer's day.

The service was excellent, prompt and efficient without being pushy. We never needed to ask for a thing and were in and out in less than an hour, perfect for the businessperson with a schedule to keep. The artsy place settings with curlicue flatware handles were cool. The wine list is lengthy and exceptional.

If all this wasn't enough they sent us packing with wrapped-up, fresh baked cookie, chocolate chip no less, for a mid afternoon snack. Another sign of top level service: giving you what you want before you even think to ask for it. We love you Bambara and look forward to coming back.

25 Edwin H. Land Blvd.
Cambridge, MA 02141

Tel: 617.868.4444
Fax: 617.868.4555

OK, you all know what's coming up: Restaurant Week! This is the time that Boston foodies everywhere live for. Don't forget to make those reservations early, check the menus and go for those really expensive places you normally can't afford. All dinners are $33.08! For three courses! If everything is booked up try again on the day you want to dine in case of cancellations and if that fails go for lunch. The three course lunches are only $20.08! For all my tips and tricks see the old post. Just search "restaurant week boston tips."

For more information check out this link: Restaurant Week Boston

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