It was a coolish Friday evening when we recently strolled through Harvard Square on our way to Parsnip for dinner on the patio. It's been open a few years now and has gained a reputation for an elegant dining spot with extraordinary food overlooking Winthrop Square. This would be a more casual experience but no less than excellent when it came to the food.
Of course, we started with selected breads and a quality butter as we people-watched, hearing snippets of other languages as the international summer crowd passed by.
We continued with the house made chips and a glass of rosé. It IS, after all, summer. Early evening clouds provided us with the entire patio to ourselves to begin but it would not be long before a few couples joined us then a larger party of what seemed like family members including children. It's a much different feel sitting out here than it is inside.
Salmon Sliders With Caper Aioli. Our usual finding with salmon sliders is that they are dry but not in this version. Perfectly moist and with a hint of fennel. If you are a fan of salmon or have tried different versions of a salmon patty or slider you will love these. It's one of if not the best version of this we've ever had, really.
The Charcuterie Board serves up three selections of meats and house pickles at a reasonable $18.00. Easily shared and with a glass of wine it would be the perfect appetizer on a warm night.
Roasted Bone Marrow With Charred Baby Leek And Truffle Vinaigrette. So, this was somewhat of a showstopper for patio dining. I think we are in the majority when we say that most people who have ever even had it are likely to enjoy bone marrow as a special treat. It is served here with a traditional Tuscan bread for spreading the thick, rich marrow upon. It was perfectly flavored with the toppings. Fattening, yes, but also an extremely healthy food. We loved it.
A gorgeous Gazpacho With Fried Octopus. That octopus seemed to dance across the plate and provided the perfect contrast of briny and crunchy to the cool cucumber and grape tastes in a créme fraiche base. A highlight of the meal. Just beautiful.
We just had to sample the burger, done up here with caramelized balsamic onion, truffle pecorino cheese and crispy fries. A great burger, moist and meaty. Great fries, too and you will be surprised and delighted to be reminded what a house made ketchup tastes like, refreshing and sweet. Again, a gourmet burger and glass of wine for dining alfresco on a relaxing summer night is ideal.
As the sun began to fade we indulged in dessert. There is a selection of house made ice cream and gelatos. These were the Vanilla Malt and Earl Grey/Milk Chocolate versions and both were heaven. Great flavor combinations, both, I especially enjoyed that salty, unique flavor of the malt. It reminded me of a Brigham's Malted Frappe.
And to finish out our feast we were served these very Instagrammable Hibiscus Marshmallows. I didn't know what to expect here. I thought maybe a crunchy texture not unlike a macaron. But, no, it was the soft, pillowy marshmallow feeling, a memory of 'smores and summer campgrounds, only pink and with the slightest hint of hibiscus. Very nice, indeed.
So, if you're looking for a nice treat while the warm weather is here we'd highly suggest the patio dining at Parsnip. The food and service is impeccable and the summer ambiance is fleeting.
91 Winthrop Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
We dined as guests of Parsnip restaurant to experience their patio dining without promise of any editorial consideration or coverage.