Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Date Night in Central Square

Last weekend we ended up in Central Square for a night out with our friends Jessica and Bryan. I'll admit that Central is not one of my favorite areas. It doesn't have the quaint charm that some Boston-area neighborhoods do. It's a little rough around the edges, a little grimy and seedy, but man, are there some good places to eat and drink in the area.

We started at Brick and Mortar, a speakeasy-style craft cocktail bar. Through an unmarked glass door next to the entrance to Central Kitchen and up a wooden stairway you find the bar, complete with exposed brick walls and a gleaming copper-topped bar. We snagged a table, and I started with a "Last Word," a classic made with gin, Maraschino, Chartreuse, and lime juice. It's one of my favorites, and theirs was a good one (as was their "Sister Mary" with tequila, Aperol, St Germain, and grapefruit). The men-folk loved the "Duck You Sucka!" (rye whiskey, Averna, Maraschino, and bitters). The bartenders were even able to mix up great off-menu classics like a Martinez and a Hanky Panky.
After a couple drinks, we went downstairs for dinner at Central Kitchen. It was a windy, cold evening, so we loved being able to dart quickly from one door to the next.  In their cozy dining area, we started with another round of drinks and a couple appetizers to share. The cocktails were solid, we loved the mussels in a buttery broth and topped with fries, but I think our favorite starter was the Raclette. Melted hunks of cheese and fingerling potatoes alongside pickled vegetables? It was perfect for a cold night, and it disappeared quickly. 

For entrees, the star of the show was the Steak Frites ordered by both of the boys. We girls enjoyed our Cioppino (despite the red splatters on my outfit thanks to a botched attempt at cracking a crab claw doused in tomato broth), but I stole as many bites off my husband's plate as I could get away with. The house-aged steak, topped with a generous pat of herb butter, was perfectly tender. It was served alongside crisp hand-cut fries and a well-dressed watercress salad with just enough peppery bite.  Fantastic!

For dinner and drinks out on the town, Central Kitchen plus the upstairs Brick and Mortar are a great (and convenient) combination! I can't wait to go back to both! Who wants to come with us? :)

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