Friday, February 13, 2015

Kennedy's On The Square

There are large, black and white posters of a young and vibrant J.F.K hanging everywhere, familiar images. Tufted, red leather banquettes, high-top walnut tables and a very well stocked, large bar fill in the comfy look and space reminiscent of a bygone era clinging to tradition, yet redone for Generation Z.  As we sit to dine at the invite of Kennedy's On The Square in Harvard Square it is early, snowy and cold outside.

Before long, a crowd of Harvard types will stream in, including a gaggle of Prepsters in button-down and tweed wrappings, with excellent haircuts, Andover Shop all the way, who look like they could easily be the sons of Senators or members of the Porcellian Club, just around the corner.  They slip into the exclusive vault room, once an actual bank vault, for a private dinner.

The most popular drink is also called The Vault:  Gin, St. Germain, ginger liquor, fresh lemon & lime juice with muddled mint.  Very nice.  We also tried the Moscow Mule, the first time we've ever seen it not served in a copper cup, forgoing tradition with little discernible effect on taste.

Meanwhile, we tuck into the P. E. I. Mussells, served sizzling on the cast iron platter and with hickory and sea salt, a sun-dried marinara and grilled sourdough to sop up the delicate juices. They've burst open, clean and fresh and perfect for a freezing night.

Smoky Meatballs arrive next, an aged ground beef, pork and veal combination with the same marinara and cast iron.  Covered in a grated Parmesan, the meat is soft and chewy, full of flavor.

The Seared Wild Salmon with Crab Parmesan Couscous, Roasted Corn Cream and Bitter Greens. Flaky and flavorful, the salmon falls in chunks onto my fork, thoroughly seared but not overdone inside and with one side of  the nutrient-rich skin still on, just the way I love it..  The larger beaded Israeli style couscous is packed with the cheesy flavor.  Instant hit.  Great dish.

The Dunster Street Classic is a house-ground burger blend of shortrib and sirloin, meaty and moist. The fries are very good.

The Bread Pudding dessert is underwhelming but the ice cream topper is good.  This is, after all, the former home of Herrell's legendary ice cream.

Overall, a nice spot, seemingly an Harvard enclave, with a good selection of beers and wines (the Coppola wines seemed to have grown beyond a hobby for the famed filmmaker) and solid gastropub food.  The desserts, always elusive in a setting such as this, need a helping hand.  And we loved the clubby, 617, old-school atmosphere.

Kennedy's On The Square
15 Dunster Street
Cambridge, MA  02138
Telephone:  617.497.0900

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