Friday, August 15, 2008

Gargoyles On The Square

Gargoyles On The Square

Restaurant Week is in full swing and our first stop was at Gargoyles On The Square. It's been a few years since we dined here but the food has always been great so we stopped in to see if things are up to par.

THANK YOU Gargoyles for bringing a little much needed green to Davis Square.

We started with the Green Pea and Green Chile soup. I was anxious to see how they'd carry this off as the flavors seemed incongruous at first. True to form, the flavor was amazing. The green chile was used, really, as just a spice. You knew it was there but was not at all overpowering, retaining the distinct pea flavor of the soup. The cube of brisket, also perfectly done, was salty with a barbecue sauce sweetness. The flavors just melded perfectly in this great twist on a real comfort food classic.

Green pea and green chile soup, barbecue brisket, mint-cumin crema and crispy tortillas.

Next up was the pork tenderloin. It's easy to ruin a dish like this. A few degrees one way or another and it's overcooked or too raw. Most home chefs overcook it. After all, it's pork and they fear under cooking, not leaving any pink at the center. This, however, was perfectly succulent, melting on the tongue and, again, perfectly spiced. Although I don't often choose pork tenderloin off the menu I have to say that this was literally the best I have ever had. The corn salad side was creamy, sweet and colorful. Again, just right.

Barbecued pork tenderloin with cotija corn salad, ancho mushroom sauce and frisee.

I have, on the other hand, had many a panna cotta, all over the world, and when it's done right it is fantastic. Northern Italian in origin the words translated mean "cooked cream." It's a very simple, yet tricky dish. This one was, unfortunately, not the best I've had. It was larger than any version I've had, didn't seem fresh and the consistency was more jello-like than creamy, too tough. Although it looked really quite good in presentation it was quite flavorless. I could not detect a trace of vanilla flavor. The berries, however, were very fresh and drizzled with a sweet espresso sauce, a nice balance to the tart fruit. The panna cotta, however, seemed like it was left over from yesterday. Maybe a new pastry chef could really do an overhaul and make the desserts more appealing. I have seen other similar comments on boards and talking with friends.

Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with espresso berries and white chocolate shavings.

Overall, I would have to say the meal was great. The service was attentive and professional, none of the rush some diners experience during the hectic Restaurant Week. The decor, ambiance and bar service draws in a trendy, attractive crowd for a relaxing yet upscale dinner out. Good ratings as a reliable bet for an inventive menu of classic dishes with new and refreshing twists. Highly recommended but please, oh please, fix the panna cotta.

Gargoyles On The Square
219 Elm St
Somerville, MA 02144
(617) 776-5300

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