Thursday, September 5, 2013
We've all heard of a pub crawl, where a group of friends move from bar to bar having one drink at each to experience the vibe. Well, last night we joined the people at Dishcrawl for their Harvard Square crawl. Dishcrawl brings together a group of people who experience 4 different dining venues, each within walking distance. There were about 25 of us of all ages and from all walks of life, which made for a fun night of meeting new friends as well as sampling new dishes. Most people seemed to be local.
We began rooftop at The Sinclair Kitchen. It was a beautiful night and a nice venue for outdoor dining. While all food is included in the $45.00 price, drinks are on a cash basis. At The Sinclair we were welcomed with 3 dishes. Chicken Gyoza consisted of Braised Chicken, Fermented Black Bean and Honey. I liked this sweet dumpling but thought that maybe a little heat would have made the dish more interesting. Next up was Polenta Cakes with Asparagus, Onsen Egg, Grated Scallop and Crispy Oats. The polenta was quite good and the egg was perfectly poached.
My favorite dish here, however, was the Duck Terrine with Smoked Ham, Thai Basil and Marrow Cornbread Crumble, flavorful and rich. Sinclair went the extra mile to suggest some very nice cocktail pairings and we can vouch that their drinks are inventive and the beverage program is great.
Our next stop was Wagamama, the chain restaurant which began overseas and spread to the USA a few years back. We've eaten here before (in fact we have eaten at all of these spots but the dishes were new to us everywhere). We started with fresh Spring Rolls (chicken and veggie options) in a great dipping sauce. Next up was Grilled Chicken Curry and Rice, a Thai curry flavoring the filling dish. My favorite here was the third taste, a Yasai (vegetable) Pad Thai. This was a fresh, very serviceable Pad Thai loaded with ground peanuts, just how I like it. Ever the chopstick challenged diner, I struggled to eat more without having to resort to using the provided fork. I have dined often at this Wagamama and enjoyed trying these new dishes.
Our third stop was Clover, which pioneered the food truck movement in Boston, and, frankly, this was a bit disappointing. We sampled French Fries, neither warm nor crispy, and lacking the promised herbs. The Fresh Corn On The Cob was good but the herbed butter arrived too late to enjoy. Our server couldn't tell us where the corn came from but assured us that it was local. Many in the group had never been to Clover. Their signature Chick Pea Fritters, which have never, ever disappointed (myself or friends) might have been a better choice and, I'm sure, much more of a hit with this group.
We ended our evening at Finale desserts with bite-sized pastries and a hearty suggestion to visit the bar, which many did. I had even forgotten that they had a bar there! Others opted for coffees and teas to end the night.
Dishcrawl also does South End, North End and Coolidge Corner tours. It seemed like an affordable way to sample several eateries for the food and ambiance and a great group or first date activity. This would be especially good for entertaining your out-of-town visitors. I have to say the attendees made the conversation interesting and fun for all. Our favorite stop: The Sinclair Kitchen, hands down.